Launching a new product is exciting for a company. Companies with a thorough launch plan that execute the checklist at the right time produce only half of the success. For companies to deliver phenomenal results, they must focus on two critical activities. One such critical activity is delivering quality products to customers. The other is managing customer reactions through the launch process. To further sustain a product's position in the market, companies also have to invest into pre-launch marketing efforts and after-launch promotions.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Public relations and marketing personnel
- Project manager
- Media campaign manager
- Quality assurance engineers
- Sales training guide
- Sales team
- Distribution and retail contracts
- Logistic partnership
- Customer support personnel
- Research and development technical team
- Independent reviewers
Appoint a product manager who will form a cross-function team of members from different departments of the company. The product manager is the key contact person to streamline communications and decision making. He sets short-term milestones and execution methods in various stages of the launch.
Solicit a marketing team to launch public relation efforts two to three months before the actual launch. This aims at bringing awareness to the new product. Informal campaigns will trigger consumers' curiosity and lead to anticipation of the new product. Formal media campaigns will later strengthen the impacts from the earlier campaigns.
Review result of quality assurance tests on the product. Before the product is ready for the general public, it must meet all testing standards and receive quality approvals. If product standards apply, manufacture to specifications above the minimum product standard to exceed public safety expectations. If budget permits, launch alpha and beta phases of the product to test market response and follow up with modifications from customer feedback sessions.
Prepare sales training guide that details target consumer, market position, disadvantages of competitor products and selling points of the new product. Train sales team to become familiar with product niche, history, position and specifications. Schedule sales team to perform mock presentation so their presentation is delivered naturally and complete with product statistics.
Set up distribution channel and shipping logistics. Communicate with distributors and retailers that the product is ready for display in the stores. If online shopping is available, test the hosting site to prevent malfunctions. Develop emergency plans to manage product shortage and overstock products. The bottom line is implement procedural guidelines to manage the product flow so that products are ready to be delivered to the customers on the first day of the launch.
Schedule official product website to go live on the day of the launch. Stock ample supply of the products for store shoppers. Dedicate phone centre to stand by for orders. Post a press release on company website and distribute copies to the media. Print advertisements in newspaper, magazine and mail circulars. Schedule commercials for broadcast during prime time.
Provide assistance from support team to answer customer inquiries and troubleshoot any issues customers may encounter. Collaborate efforts between the support team and research and development to develop long-term solutions for issues uncovered during the launch period. The solution may be a quick product modification or a new generation of products.
Arrange independent review team to evaluate results of the launch and performance of the relevant managers. Determine if the market position is on target. Review financial data to measure profit level. Review customer reactions on the product. Based on customer satisfaction level, make a decision as to whether production should continue.
Tips and warnings
- Be flexible with the entire launch plan. Attempt to adhere to the milestones and deadlines for the product launch but expect last minutes delays and unexpected changes due to new information or customer preferences.
- Review the launch plan frequently to ensure effective steps are taken daily towards completion of the plan. For products that take many years of research to develop, file a patent to protect the company from infringement.
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