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The first question to ask is “Which market segment(s) provide the shortest path to accomplishing our launch goals?”. Below is one way to evaluate a market segment based on a Kiviat diagram (Spider Chart in MS Excel).
Use this technique to find the most ideal market segment in a set of market segments your organization is considering targeting. Review the launch readiness plans for their articulation of the gaps identified and the recommended actions to close the gaps.
To start to nail your product launch goals you have to backtrack to what the business is trying to accomplish.
What we have to do is get a clear understanding of the expectation of the product launch and then translate that into metrics that can be used to track product launch progress. To avoid wasting product launch budget, you might consider keeping the initial product launch activities relatively low key until the early adopters become references.
For those of my friends in technology companies you know exactly what would happen to us if we were responsible for the planning and execution of the ACA 1.0 launch. Let’s put politics aside and look at the launch purely from an execution point of view; completely non-partisan.
We are understandably sympathetic to those who try their best and work hard, but when the stakes are as high as ACA 1.0 an ability to deliver results matters the most, especially with a critical market segment that can make or break the entire program. The scope, scale, and complexity out-of-the-gate for the online application is way beyond the teams assembled.
Companies like Google, Apple, Yahoo, Netflix, and Amazon have the experience to deliver large-scale applications and learned over many years by trial and error how to get it right. Many consumers are technology savvy and demand that apps work right the first time, especially the most critical market segment: younger, healthier consumers. With over 4 years to educate the public of the various options and benefits of ACA 1.0 there is absolutely no excuse that can be presented that the market did not know about it or or unfamiliar with its benefits. If you have a high-risk product launch scenario with something your team has never had experience delivering, you would implement steps to mitigate that risk, especially when your most important measurement of success is getting younger consumers to purchase health insurance on the health insurance exchanges.
Given the complexity of a national healthcare exchange and the risk of failure, the last thing we’d want to do is roll it out to all 50 states at once.
Perhaps over a couple of years we would have expanded ACA 1.0 to cover all 50 States (or faster as experience is gained). Marketers are often criticized for over-hyping their products in the hopes of getting attention for subpar products.
They have not created a compelling reason for younger, healthier consumers to camp outside on the sidewalk for days waiting for the health insurance exchanges to open.
So if Health and Human Services were a technology company, what would the market be saying about them the day after the launch? Often the fastest way to achieve product launch goals is to target your customer base: the folks who love you and your products. Particularly with technical products, customers often seek opinions from customer support representatives. Consider your customer support team as an important resource in your next product launch and provide them with a way to engage customers about new products and services in a way that is relevant, timely, and genuine.
Each week I have the priviledge of teaching our Product Launch Essentials class and the topic of establishing a launch date for the product launch plan always comes up.
Why, you are probably wondering should the product launch date be at the beginning of the quarter?
If you have a launch date at the end of the quarter in your product launch plan and you have a development delay your product launch is now pushed into the next quarter.
As it relates to your sales channel and channel partner readiness, there are two things to consider when developing your own product launch time line.
Get your sales channel and channel partners ready for product launch is often the most critical and time consuming part of product launch. The size of the sales channel and channel partners has a direct relationship to the amount of time it takes to prepare it for launch. When the sales channel is limited to 6 direct salespeople in one office, you can get them together over lunch. Let’s say that Acme Software has a direct sales channel of 300 salespeople in North America, EMEA, and Asia Pacific.
In the case of Acme Software you may need to start the product launch planning process of sales enablement training 6 months in advance of the target launch date just to coordinate training dates. The complexity of the sales cycle can introduce another dimension into your product launch planning. Complex sales cycles require much more training about the problems addressed, who is impacted within the buyer’s organization, and what will they need to know in order to make a recommendation to buy. We’re presented not only with a new product to launch but a change in the way our sales channel will sell. While I’m a strong advocate of a sales culture what sells what we have, I’m also a realist when it comes to long, complex sales cycles. In the first webinar – 10 Ways to identify an Impending Product Launch Disaster – I had one slide that provided upcoming locations and dates for Product Launch Essentials and a URL to the launch landing page on the Pragmatic Marketing web site. At this point I was wondering if I was doing my audience and Product Launch Essentials a disservice by not discussing it in more detail. This idea was set in motion perhaps by you (or the CEO, or development, or…), and you were a hero until your sales guys realized that the product a) was much harder to sell, b) took much longer to sell, c) wasn’t as interesting to buyers as they were led to believe.
Your salespeople stopped selling the old product and focused their energy on selling the products in the portfolio that would help them make quota. You might be thinking that since everything is dialed in the next launch, you can get the CEO to force the sales team to sell the product. By enabling your salespeople with the knowledge they need to move a buyer through the buying process, they’re more likely to listen and embrace what you’re sharing with them. I just got word that the product launch seminar series I have been working on has been scheduled. There are 10 easily identifiable signs that can help forecast a product launch may be in trouble. Best Website Design Top Web Design Company Affordable Professional SEO Web2.0 Designing Company.
Triad Concepts offers a complete package of affordable website design and commerce web development. In this piece, we’ll explain how product documentation can help you meet launch goals and empower your customer-facing teams and end users. According to Julie Hall and Joan Schneider, both Partners at Schneider Public Relations, a lack of communication and planning can be linked to the top reasons products fail. Luckily, a carefully created product launch plan can help address all of these issues by aligning departments with both strategy and execution. Serial entrepreneur and Forbes author, Matt Clark reiterates that every successful product launch starts with a launch plan and calendar. This detailed document can also be interpreted as a Go-To-Market strategy, which is the overall battle plan for your product. It’s important that your Go-To-Market strategy thinks about all marketing channels with a focus on customer segmentation.
Therefore, your product launch document should explain your launch goals, identify the most valuable segments, and lay out a plan of execution. Sales Goals  — These are probably the easiest to define since you already have sales expectations. Prospect Goals — Defining the number of prospects is especially helpful if you have a long sales cycle. Customer Upsell Goals — Companies with existing products can use this to gauge relevance of new products to existing customers.
Product Defect Goals: Communicate clearly with development and QA so customer satisfaction (and therefore revenue) isn’t damaged.
To best achieve your launch goals, focus your launch messaging on the MVS (minimum viable segment) who have the same problems you seek to solve. As you can see above, the right MVS will give your new product the best chance at being adopted by the right people. For example, Google doesn’t just release updates — it’s changing the way the world finds information.


Payment device startup, Coin, is the poster child for targeting an MVS with the right messaging. For more information on how early-stage products should focus on the MVS, check out our Guide to Minimum Viable Products.
Make sure your product launch plan includes a section naming the DRI — directly responsible individual.
According to Chris Guillebeau, New York Times bestselling author of “The $100 Startup,” a checklist helps make sure nothing slips through the cracks.
Janine Popick, Founder of VerticalResponse, ensures her company’s launch checklist covers all department responsibilities down to the day. If you want to play it safe, you could do a soft launch near the end of the week and not announce until Monday (allowing yourself the weekend to resolve issues).
Once you finish your product checklist, you’ll have clearer visibility to keeping your Go-To-Market strategy on track. Product launch communications should be a two-way street — you need to inform your customers just as much as your internal teams. It helps if the content you create for product launches serves the dual purpose of informing customers and sales teams.
Below, we’ll show how a launch FAQs, demo videos, and case studies help fulfill this dual purpose. Compared to the traditional method of heavy manuals, a launch FAQ portal can be a much more scalable and user-friendly solution. To assist with promotions, you can also create a subsection specifically for bloggers and media to answer questions such as “What’s the big picture?” “How are we different?” and “What’s the business model?” The Hulu portal example above is an excellent method to structure different questions for different audiences. Neil Patel, cofounder of KISSMetrics, emphasizes that  the most important part of a demo video is the script rather than video quality. There are few things more compelling for a potential customer than seeing someone reputable already using your product.
Through the third week you have developed a general approach to achieving your product launch goals. Once you have that list of market segments, the next question to ask is “Which of those market segment(s) should we focus on?”.
In the example, six dimensions are evaluated: Strategy, Size, Access, Need, Fit, and Competition. A more completely filled diagram indicates a more desirable market segment (completely filled would be ideal).
Maybe not all of them are completed but there should be important progress in that direction.
New insights into organizational strengths and weaknesses may lead to a resetting launch goals. Always let the launch goals be your guide to focus on doing the right things or the right reasons.
Your feedback improves the Product Launch 30 Day Plan which helps everyone have a more successful product launch.
The executive team is expecting $3.2 million in incremental revenue plus establish credibility in the market segment.
That is, are we driving interest in our new product to a level that gets participants in the market segment to engage and consider it as an answer to their problems. We’re talking about an application that could be simultaneously used by tens of millions of people.
This includes the technical infrastructure to ensure it runs smoothly and securely, as well as a user interface that is friendly and intuitive. Plus it’s impossible to deliver a consistent message when you have a Congress and Executive branch full of stakeholders, so I’m highly empathetic to those who are charged with the go-to-market strategy (assuming there is one). All indications are that at best a “let’s throw it on the wall and see what sticks” GTM strategy is being followed. When customers buy these products and find out they don’t meet the expectation that has been set, they get angry and take action by returning the products and demanding refunds.
You may be overlooking an important product launch resource available to you that could have a big impact on your next product launch.
Of course you’ll want to be sure the customer support team is ready to support the product being launched, but they can also be a very effective evangelical channel to get information to customers about new products and services.
For many product launches establishing a launch date in the product launch plan involves a lot of discussion, negotiation, and gnashing of teeth. Through the years I’ve learned great techniques from others and there is one thing I had to learn the hard way, that I want to share with you. I’ve done just about everything in a software company except accounting and legal stuff. There are two important reasons to have a product launch date at the beginning of the quarter.
While that may not seem like such a big deal on the surface, the sales momentum that was hoped to be generated can be significantly impaired. That said, enterprise software companies with complex and long sales cycles have long discovered that preselling can be very effective in building sales momentum.
You can deliver the best promotional programs on the planet but if the sales channel and your channel partners aren’t ready (or haven’t embraced the new offering) your success in the market could be severely impacted.
But when the sale channel is a combination of direct salespeople and channel partners scattered across three continents you have to plan ahead. If you have the added constraint of not being able to get everyone together in one place at one time, consider traveling to them or conducting sales enablement training online. Products that are relatively simple to understand and sell, lend themselves to a much easier sales enablement training regiment and therefore a shorter planning horizon. Assume Acme is launching a new solution and for the first time will introduce to the channel a product with a complex sales cycle. If we wait until the product is announced we’re starting from scratch to build a pipeline.
Included in the launch activities were 3 webinars I conducted to help generate awareness, and to encourage viewers to download my new ebook. There is a delicate balance between engaging the audience while not giving away content that we typically sell. They got hyped up because they believed the product was going to be the fast path to reaching quota.
By this time they’re behind and they are pissed off (sorry, Mom) they were led down this garden path that wasted their time. If they were required to sell X dollars of the product as part of their compensation they would see what a great product it is, and sell even more of it. Continue down this path and you’ll regain trust and be viewed as a partner in helping them achieve quota, not a supplier of stuff when they want it.
Unfortunately for many companies it’s merely an afterthought; a checklist of deliverables created at the end of product development. When a launch is arguably the most important initiative your company will do this year, who do you have in charge of the launch? What you need is a Product Launch Owner. From the initial process of taking inputs from clients, planning on the basis of such inputs to final implementation and testing – all are done using latest web designing techniques and skills.
Specific reasons included poor timing, lack of planning for post-launch, and confusing product messaging. For a lean launch plan with helpful pointers, check out Demand Metric’s product launch plan. To stay realistic, Clark recommends that your product plan can work backwards from the launch date to detail every step along the way.
Identify all buyer personas and understand who will play (Actors) what part in what stage (Scene) of the sales cycle.
Example: We expect 12000 site visits and 15 news sites to pick up our press release within 90 days of launch. Make sure you work closely with marketing to define prospects so the sales team gets better quality leads. The “minimum” refers to a niche small enough for you to completely dominate while the “viable” denotes that they want a product you can deliver. Usually, members of the MVS are tightly knit and communicate via community forums or online groups.


Don’t just release features, make sure you communicate how you’re improving the customer’s life. Its device’s November 2013 debut on crowdfunding site Kickstarter earned $50,000 in 47 minutes. Apply the same elegant thinking towards your overall Go-To-Market strategy and you’ll trim more fat while selling more products to people who will spread the word.
Demand Metric has a user-friendly launch checklist that also automatically populates a Gantt chart to keep everyone on track. As you approach launch, he advises signing up for all marketing and sales email notifications and buying the product multiple times to ensure smoothness.
If you want to make a big splash, consider going live with everything on a Monday or Tuesday. Pragmatic Marketing found that customers are increasingly self-sufficient as 95 percent of buyers purchased from companies who provided ample content, yet customers could only find relevant content 42 percent of the time. Launch content can be a great selling tool since reps learn about what appeals to customers and can repurpose the material for lead nurturing.
You can create the content from top issues found during beta testing and update the content based on customer feedback loops. Demo videos are inherently multi-purpose since they easily inform the press, potential customers, and sales reps alike. Just like the FAQ portal, you can base your script on beta feedback to answer recurring frustrations and objections. Analysis of other explainer videos from companies like DropBox can be found in greater detail in the Guide to MVPs. Case studies are complex and requires trusted beta testers, but can catapult your launch to a whole new level. If you don’t have the resources (or the market segment expertise) it isn’t a wise decision to go after every market segment. The discussion surrounding this market segment would be around Access – how to get better access at a reasonable cost. But you would also try to focus your energy on finding buyers that are representative of the new market segment that could also be good candidates for becoming customer references, which drive additional revenue in a risk-averse market segment AND provides evidence of a beachhead.
Remember they’ve had over four (4) years to plan, evaluate contingencies, and consider alternatives. State and federal government teams, while well meaning, lack the commercial design, build, delivery, and customer support experience of the aforementioned tech giants. From a market dynamics perspective it’s important to keep in mind that purchasing on the ACA 1.0 exchange is mandatory for many consumers, which means there should be great sensitivity to getting it right the first time. It’s an easy assumption that people who need health insurance will participate, so energy should be focused on reaching that critical market segment that is commonly referred to as ‘Invincibles’; many who believe they don’t need health insurance.
We would start with a beta program with a handful of willing States that represents a good mix of consumers. If ACA 1.0 were launched by a private company within the United States there would be wall-to-wall law suits. Why would you hype up a bunch of students who are likely on their parent’s health insurance policy?
And even if they did camp out for days, the frustration of poor response time, inadequate customer support, and general lack of operational readiness would have turned them off immediately. Every day your customer support team is engaged with assisting customers with a variety of requests which translates into opportunities to talk with them about new stuff. Sometimes the launch date appears to be arbitrary while at other times is carefully planned to coincide with an important market event, like an industry tradeshow. And that is, before you recommend a product launch date, consider where it is within the fiscal quarter.
When your product launch plan launches at the beginning of the quarter, you still have the flexibility of launching in the current quarter.
If the launch date is at the end of the quarter and there is a slip in the launch date, deals in the pipeline that were ready to close are now pushed out into the future. On the other hand complex products take longer to understand and require much more involvement from buyers before a purchase decision can be made require a longer planning horizon. Management is anticipating a 9 to 12 month sales cycle with no fewer than 8 to 10 people from the customer’s organization to be involved in making a decision to buy.
In order to minimize risk we may have to consider sales enablement training a year in advance by focusing on the problem, the market, buyers, and how they buy.
If we have a sales culture that sells futures, we start building a pipeline for the new product but run the risk of reducing the size of the pipeline for current products. In the second webinar – Tips for Product Launch Marketing Success – I followed the same pattern. I set my fear of offending my audience aside and added content that provided more context about Product Launch Essentials and even a little sample from the seminar content itself. So crazy you’re at the point of believing the launch goals are in jeopardy, and you should.
And when they found out it’s because the team was selling a product that buyers weren’t buying, they were told to stop selling it immediately. When the level of effort applied to the creation of the product dwarfs that of the product launch, it’s no wonder launches fail to achieve the sales velocity anticipated. Finally you launch, and as you watch it disappearing through the clouds, it finally hits you that it’s completely out of your hands. Whether you’re part of a large launch team or a solo entrepreneur, a documented launch process can save you time, sanity, and even your product. For more detail, Growth Technical Marketing has a launch plan that walks you through every step.
You need the clearest picture of success since your goals frame the purpose of your product. The team developed crisp messaging to go after a segment ignored by big payment processors — millennials tired of carrying multiple credit cards — and targeted them online where they spend the most time.
You could easily add weighting factors to each of the dimensions as a more advanced evaluation technique.
No doubt the technology staff designing and building the healthcare exchanges understood the complexity at the conceptual level but in day-to-day practice they lacked the requisite expertise.
The most important market segment is the younger, healthier consumers and that should have been the thrust of the promotional strategy; reach these consumers where they hang out, get news, tweet, YouTube, watch TV, attend sporting events, and listen to music (South by Southwest anyone?). By focusing on the sales channel and channel partners you address what is typically the most time consuming and riskiest part of a successful product launch. You could also add or remove variables to suit your organization’s market segment evaluation needs. We would learn from that experience, make adjustments, then expand with an early adopter program adding a few more States. You can leverage this relationship to deliver information about new and improved products in a way that doesn’t make customers feel like they are being sold to.
When we start sales enablement training we may run the risk that salespeople start talking about the new product immediately and inadvertently stop the deals they are working on today. Err on the side of getting the sales channel and channel partners prepared to sell and leave the problem of selling futures to the VP of Sales and the CEO to resolve. I was so afraid of offending my audience that I glossed over the whole point of the webinar series – to sell the audience on attending Product Launch Essentials. We could incorporate citizen advisory panels to get feedback to make improvements and solicit testimonials. When your product launch plan launches at the beginning of the quarter, you still have time to recover lost momentum and regain mind share with the sales team. Are there partners (or potential partners, or investors) that could provide trusted introductions?



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