Effectively launching a new product is critical for most companies. The new product development process is complex and often involves several departments, including marketing, sales, engineering, operations, purchasing and management. After spending the time to define customer channels, research customer needs, design and develop a new product and put it through testing with customers, use a checklist to launch the new product to the marketplace.
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Early in the product development process, objectives for the new product should have been identified. Prior to launching a new product, take the time to review the objectives originally outlined. Determine if all the objectives are still valid and modify any objectives that need to be changed.
The budget is typically set early in the new product development process. Take time to review the dollars allocated for the product launch and dollars spent during development and make adjustments as necessary.
Establish Launch Date
Identify the anticipated launch date for the new product. Use this date to develop a timeline for all the required launch activities. Assign individuals to handle each of the activities identified.
Set pricing to meet company volume, margin and profit objectives for the new product. Be sure to take into consideration discount schedules for all customer channels. Determine if any sales promotions will be used as part of the initial product introduction into the marketplace.
Make sure all owners' manuals, installation and instruction guides are complete and ready for use. Allow time for translation of the documents. Obtain product photographs, illustrations, videos and graphics necessary for the literature produced for the new product. Presentations, marketing brochures and sales sheets need to be available and ready prior to the product launch for use in training. Make electronic versions of these documents available on the company website.
Packaging design and manufacturing needs to be completed prior to the product launch date. If the product will be sold in a retail setting, take time to make sure the packaging contains appropriate branding, product information and details to help customers choose your product over the competition. Make sure the package is designed to protect your product during shipping.
Put together a plan for advertising to best reach your target customer channel. Develop advertising design and copy that targets the market you want to reach. Determine if advertising will be done in print, online or broadcast. Use social media to spread the word about the new product.
Develop a press kit containing press releases, images, video clips and articles relevant to the new product. Plan the press release distribution date around the anticipated product launch date. If your new product launch budget allows, consider hosting a press event for local media professionals.
Take time to train sales, customer service and service staff on the features and benefits of the new product. Give all employees who will be in contact with customers the chance to use the product. Develop a training kit for sales, customer service and distribution partners to refer to when selling the new product. Schedule training for the distribution channels that will be selling the product. Make sure all service personnel are trained and ready to assist with spare parts and service calls.
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