3…2…1… ready to launch your new product?

With these 4 essential stages to product launch marketing, you’ll minimise the risk of failure.

Launch marketing is all about clarity and planning

Whether my clients are global brands introducing a new product or solo consultants rolling out new services – the process of preparing for a great launch boils down to the same 4 key planning stages.

Businesses and individuals often surge forward with their goals, driven by a need for sales, without putting these basic building blocks in place.

Stay on top of each of my 4 pillars and you’ll make informed decisions as you optimise your plans and ensure that your product gets the considered launch it deserves.

Stage 1: Clear goals

When I begin a new engagement with a client, one of the first things we do is my Deep Dive workshop. The aim of the workshop is to get all the information out on the table so that we can collaborate on their product launch.

In advance of the workshop, I set you homework. Using my supplied workbooks, I invite you to answer a number of questions. In the workshop session we discuss the answers, and cover the “4 Ps” of product marketing: gathering information around product, place, promotion, and price. They will inform any marketing plan we subsequently assemble.

Example questions from my workbook include: why have you decided to launch this product; what is special about the product; why do you believe there is demand for your product; when are you planning to launch; what will happen if you don’t launch; who are your competitors and how does their offer compare to yours; if everything goes to plan with your launch – what is your desired outcome.

Product or service validation is key. Are you able to provide me with evidence that shows there is demand for your new product? You would be amazed at how often I run this workshop and this part of the research has not been addressed.

Never risk launching a product without conducting market research to confirm that there is demand for your product in the geographical area that you are targeting. Too often big companies and individuals just assume that people will want their product or service – but have not done the necessary research to establish whether there will actually be any demand.

Finally, we need to ensure that you have stakeholder buy-in and alignment with the product launch – you may be surprised at how often this is not the case – until we tackle it in the workshop. And by stakeholder, we mean all the associated parties that will be involved in making this product, bringing it to market or selling it.

After all, if there’s no shared belief in the excellence of the product or service that you are selling, or indeed your plans to launch the product – then sadly, it is most likely that you have a non-starter of a campaign. If this is the case, you need to circle back and attend to these points before you move forward with your plans.

Stage 2: Precision targeting

As part of the workshop we also discuss 2 further workbooks that I share with my clients as homework.

Up first, customer personas: digging into exctly who you aim to sell to. I encourage my clients to have a minimum of 3 archetypes – typically based on real people they know.

You’ll need to map out loads of detail – age, sex, interests, job role. We’ll establish internal and external drivers that will make your target clients want your product. We’ll clearly map out the benefits your product will bring.

Most importantly – we’ll identify any barriers to buying your product – like price or problems with previous iterations or rival products. With all these problems identified up front, we can build out exceptional initiatives that address the positives (and even the potential perceived negatives) of your products.

The second of the homework exercises is all about emotions. In my supplied work book I ask my clients to make a list of the key or best features of their new product or service. Then I ask my clients to explore how these features will make their customers feel.

The workbook has three columns: one for the feature, and then one labelled ‘maximise’ and finally one labelled ‘minimise’. A good and effective product is typically a solution to a problem.

As such your product will solve a problem or help your customer to achieve things (maximising their desire for feeling ‘x’ emtion as a result of this achievement). Alternatively, your product will be ensuring that they are unaffected by a problem or challenge (minimising their desire for feeling ‘y’).

With these emotional takeouts mapped out we are then ready to consider the third stage.

Stage 3: Omni-channel marketing review

The most straight-forward part of your launch plan is an omni-channel review of your marketing options. When I review with my clients, we cover the essentials, and group them together as ‘essential’, the ‘should haves’, the ‘could haves’ and identify what isn’t realistic (financially or by time constraints) or relevant. Clearly a website and a Customer Relationship Management system capable of segmenting your database for optimised email marketing are pivotal.

We also explore the value of ‘on brand design’ and elegant user journeys. We’ll consider film, social media, pay-per-click advertising, wokring with advertising agencies, webinars, events and impactful charitable initiatives that bring your business purpose to the fore – among a raft of inspirational and practical options.

Above all – we will consider your industry positioning – as in: how you are perceived by your customers, suppliers and your competitors – and what we can do to leverage that.

We’ll also consider how to optimise every point of contact anyone has with your business – so that the only experience anyone ever has of you and your product is always excellent.

Stage 4: Time and resource management

All that is left to do is to establish realistic delivery dates on the launch initiatives that have been agreed and to build in at least a 20% contingency into your time and budget.

You’ll need to consider what ‘in house’ resource you have and what you may need to outsource. Often businesses think they can save money, using super-budget suppliers or mates with favourable rates. My advice here is that great work by industry professionals often costs a bit more, but typically pays dividends as you are giving your project to experts in their field – and not chancers “having a go”, or team members who may feel out of their comfort zone now suddenly tasked with shooting a film, or delivering all the copy for your sales emails.

In summary:

With each of my 4 stages addressed, the resulting marketing plan can easily be assembled, and follow the four pillars in structure. I offer my clients launch planning templates to work from and this concludes your launch marketing plan – ready to work from directly or present to your superiors, team or suppliers.

Giving each stage its due consideration will empower you to deliver a better launch, one that is backed by your team and stakeholders with clearly identified goals; a launch that addresses the needs of your precisely targeted customers; one that has considered all possible marketing options and then built a timeline to the launch date that allows for small delays and keeps everything on budget.

Good luck.

I am on a mission to de-mystify product launch excellence. I am in the process of assembling a suite of workbooks and and online video course on how to optimise your product launch – coming very soon.

If you are considering your own product launch in the next few months, or you are looking to upskill in product launch expertise – then head over to my shop.

It’s great to hear when people find my articles helpful and if you have feedback please leave comments below. Of course if you would like a 30 minute non-commital chat to explain your launch plans and goals, and to see how I may be able to help then please get in touch. tim@shoot4themoon.co.uk