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I’ve executed a bunch of launches – 5 at startups, and a couple where I was launching an offering inside a big company – and I’ve seen a load of things that worked and a load of things that didn’t work. The other big lesson I have learned is that a “launch” can be almost anything you want it to be and you can launch more than once.
Pre-Release: This phase encompasses things marketing can do before an offering is available on the market. Release: This is the set of things that happen in the few weeks around when the offering is first introduced in the market including media and influencer interviews, product content including blog posts, videos, infographics and ebooks. Post-Release: This is the set of things that you can start to do once you have a certain amount of momentum in the market including referenceable customers, positive reviews and press mentions or some data that you can share that would be interesting to prospects.
April Dunford has been the head of marketing at several startups and is currently the co-founder and Managing Director of RocketScope a boutique consulting firm focused on helping early and growth-stage startups build a better revenue engine through great marketing. Nu Skin is launching a new weight loss product in October of 2013 that will work on the fat cells reversing them to the way it was when you were young. This will be the biggest product launch not only in the history of Nuskin, not only in the weight loss industry but in the network marketing history! You see lines of people with credit cards in hands waiting at the cashiers with loads of products in hand!! In a successful product lunch marketing plan, LTO creates a huge opportunity because they focus on 1 product coming at a certain time. It creates a unique opportunity for attracting people that want to be part of something new – not an existing product.
If asked about the new product launch details, develop a story based around the history of  previous product launches and how you were able to help many people along the way get a healthier lifestyle.
You need to know what it is and what differentiates it from anything else in the market place.
Map out your area and the surrounding cities from weight loss centers to fitness trainers to health clubs…etc.
I’ll walk you through a step by step marketing strategy on how to make this the BEST product launch marketing experience ever!
Hi Niveen – these products have always intrigued me because I wonder whats the science behind them – do you have any literature you could share? Hi Gordon, ageLOC is an amazing genetic science that stops the aging process from the source (the genes) rather than the outside symptoms only.
By scheduling a launch date for your product, you can develop a time line for everything on your product launch checklist. You could establish more traditional focus groups, or simply set up a conversation with members of your target audience. Only after you’ve completely finished testing should your product and its marketing materials be finalized.
According to AcuPoll, a Cincinnati based research agency, as many as 95% of new products introduced each year fail. PR needs to be used in conjunction with advertising and marketing in your new product launch. Reporters, bloggers, journalists and other media professionals are more apt to cover your new product if you provide them with as much information as possible. Ads, press releases, samples, mailings or other items that promote your new product need to be released just before the product launches.
If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Typically each section of a plan, depending upon the complexity of the product or program, would consist of 20-40 slides in a PowerPoint presentation. Unfortunately, we’re all overloaded in our personal and professional lives, and conveying your ideas in a precise yet compelling manner is essential. In this case, I’ve taken the essential elements of a simple business plan and captured them in a 3 page format.
Please note…All information provided at Practical Hacks is for informational purposes only. 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. You have access to invisible leverage that could improve product launch success, but few tap into this valuable resource. In the flurry of getting the deliverables ready and activities completed for launch, I’d like for you to stop for a moment.
When the timing is appropriate we could brief the customer support team on the new offering. Finance is often overlooked as an ally in launching products, but there are times when leveraging the Finance team makes a lot of sense.
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.
This is the final of four posts providing an overview of the Repeatable Product Launch Process which is delivered in the Product Launch Essentials seminar. To recap, the Organize Phase is focused on getting agreement on what the product launch goals were and which of seven product launch strategies would be the most effective at achieving the launch goals. The Evaluate Phase is about identifying the speed bumps that would get in the way of achieving the launch goals. By the time you’ve reached the Build step of the Execute Phase you will have established the launch goals, launch strategies, have a clear understanding of the barriers to success, and developed plans to mitigate the highest risk items.
The Product Launch Essentials seminar includes a product launch toolkit that has a product launch plan template.
One area that often gets ignored after the excitement of the launch date is how the product launch is progressing toward the launch goals. I advocate monthly launch status reports for the management team to show progress against the launch goals. If you have questions or comments about the Repeatable Product Launch Process, send me an email or add a comment. By completing the Organize phase, you will have established the goals for the product launch and then used the goals as a backdrop to establish the launch strategies for achieving them. At this phase of the Repeatable Product Launch Process it’s critical to know the launch readiness state that exists now (get a baseline).
A Launch Readiness Assessment is the tool we deliver in the Product Launch Essentials seminar that gives you this important insight.
On completion of the Evaluate phase you will have a realistic view of the launch goals, which may now need to be adjusted in light of your constraint findings. In the next installment I’ll introduce you to the Prepare phase, where you’ll learn about organizing your Launch Team and talk about Filling the Gaps you’ve identified in the Evaluate Phase. One of the things we talk about in our Effective Product Marketing seminar is how to roll out a new message.
Internal communications programs that get employees on board when it comes to spotting new business opportunities can also result in bumps in top-line sales gains, too – although of all the employee-directed campaigns, this appears to be the most difficult to implement. I’m delivering a webinar on Friday, October 16 at 10am Pacific time titled “Product Launch Readiness: Planning for Sales Velocity”.
In the seminar we advocate the role of Launch Owner, the person tasked with the responsibility for achieving your product launch goals. The most likely reason your organization would consider introducing a PMO is because of a lack of launch readiness to market, sell and support your product, and this was occurring with a frequency at a level that management finds unacceptable.

Second, it’s because the person responsible for launch (perhaps you) doesn’t have enough time and needs the extra resource to get things done. They free up time for us to focus on more strategic issues and help us achieve the best possible product launch outcome. In organizations where there a PMO exists it’s important to establish clear lines of authority and responsibility between the Launch Owner and the Project Manager. Problems arise when too much control is transferred from the Launch Owner to the Project Manager – or maybe there isn’t a Launch Owner at all. 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.
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For some, launch is a one-day event that is centered on the set of things you do on the day that your offering is first available for people to buy. The biggest lesson I have learned is that a launch is a best executed as a multi-phase event and there are different tactics that you can execute at different phases. I’ve done product launches, I’ve launched and then re-launched a company, I’ve done a launch around a new pricing model and a new partnership program and I’ve done separate launches of the same offering in different countries.
The phases are drawn as concentric circles because at each phase you will often still be doing the activity from the previous phase. This includes things that will help you build up a following in preparation for release including blogging and other content creation that focuses on engaging prospects around the idea of the problem you will solve, building up an email mailing list, and fostering relationships with reporters, bloggers and influencers.
Your lead generation programs will start in this phase, and you will also need to make sure your sales support materials are ready to go. This way you can start allocating resources to your launch and identifying members of your staff to take care of key responsibilities. You’ll only have one opportunity to make a positive impression on them, and you need to capitalize on it.
With all of the resources required to get it into the hands of the consumers, it could be disaster to rush your launch without proper testing. By creating a unique package design, you make your product stand out in the retail space and differentiate it from the competition.
Today, consumers get information from multiple sources, requiring multiple marketing channels to ensure the success of a product launch. They get copies of press releases all the time, but a press kit takes this idea one step further. You want to gain the interest of the buying public and also make sure that any changes in launch date are clearly communicated. The point of a launch event is not to simply get exposure and have as many people as possible find out about your product, it’s to reach the specific audience that will turn into someone willing to pay for your product. A final section, again should you need it, would be an Appendix with detailed financials and other data as you see fit.
For smaller programs and products, however, this is a great way to force yourself to distill the your case down to the most concise of presentations. Also, this website may be compensated by companies mentioned through product reviews, affiliate programs, or by other means. 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. They’re ‘invisible’ because we often overlook them yet they can have an important positive impact.
You don’t want to do this too early but at the same time if you wait too long you lose the leverage. What if your new offering includes important changes to the way your product is licensed, which may impact what customers pay? Build a list of internal and external resources that have routine interaction with your target markets.
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. The realization of success or failure is determined many months after the fact when the details are erased from everyone’s memory. This is the opportunity to assess what has been accomplished, what was learned and what could be improved in future launches. That alone sets a entire value chain of activities in motion to assure a successful product launch. Product launch is a process.”, I shared with you the Repeatable Product Launch Process and the first phase of the process, the Organize phase. In the Evaluate phase we now look inward to the organization to identify the constraints (speed bumps) that can get in the way of achieving the launch goals.
The brutal reality is that for most mid-to-large size companies the number of things you want to fix will exceed the time and resources you have available to fix them. It provides a simple yet objective way to evaluate the launch readiness of a functional area.
Some organizations utilize a project management office (PMO) to facilitate product launch activities and I wanted to explore that with you in more detail. They’re responsible for cross functional readiness but time demands in other areas prevent them for dedicating the time needed for a successful launch.
The Launch Owner must have a big picture view of the go-to-market strategy and often makes ad-hoc trade-offs to ensure the best possible launch outcome. 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. For others a launch is a longer-term event that includes a group of activities before, during and after the day the product is generally available.

Engineers, artists, marketing, public relations, advertising, or anyone from outside your organization all need to be informed of your launch date and be on the same page with your plan. Work with your development team to be sure that your product can be ready for its launch not just physically complete, but of the highest quality and functionality.
By establishing your PR campaign prior to the launch of your new product, you’re building trust in the minds of your prospects.
They can be a valuable public relations tool and should contain not only your press release, but also other useful info like product fact sheets, company bios, quote sheets, product images and video, promotional literature, media contact information and possibly a sample of the product itself.
Keep up the momentum and share testimonials or news about the product’s success to get your company in the paper, trade publications, or even in the ears of your target audience.
You’ve established a time line for your launch based on this plan, so any changes are going to compromise it and delay your launch. Much of what would be necessary is dependent upon your organization and its management & culture. 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.
So if your launch goal includes getting your customer base to upgrade to a new version or to consider a new offering, the customer support team could be a great avenue to generate some excitement. As the time approaches to launch we could cultivate a handful of evangelists within the sales engineering team to be internal resources. 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.
In this post I’m going to share with you the Execute Phase which is about building the product launch plan and measuring the effectiveness of the product launch. Fortunately, it’s far easier to know what to report when the launch goals are determined up front. The Repeatable Product Launch Process helps you focus on the things that are most critical to the success of your next product launch. The process is about getting the organization ready to market, sell, support, deliver and book revenue. While it’s often imperative to have stretch goals to get your organization to reach new heights, it’s equally imperative to identify and mitigate the people, time, and money constraints that could prevent it from happening. The smart approach is to determine which things are the most critical to the success of the product launch and fix those. To make it an effective communication tool to your management team, the Launch Readiness Assessment rolls up individual functional area assessments into a scorecard. Later, in the Execute phase you’ll use the Launch Readiness Assessment as you’re building your product launch plan. Most of you know how big a problem it is to get launch team members to participate and to be accountable for their deliverables. For some of you the PMO is working just fine, but for many of you it can be a frustrating process that doesn’t seem to be in sync with what you’re trying to accomplish with your product launch. First, the person generally recognized as being responsible for launch lacks important project management skills. The Project Manager on the other hand may not have a big picture perspective, focusing (rightly) on getting things done according to a schedule of deliverables (product launch checklist). 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.
These plans must be committed to by all members of your staff – which means everyone involved in the project must be aware of their responsibilities.
The more work you do in the planning stages, the more knowledge you’ll have about how your objectives and product will rank in the market. If they doubt your ability to come through in this area, they’ll doubt you can come through anywhere else. You could also use online market testing, or survey people in locations where your target audience might gather, like sporting events, malls or trade shows.
Don’t stop there; you should always have a few more releases of information to share over the next year that will remind everyone about your product. Monitor any modifications that you might have to make to the plan and try to anticipate things that might derail your progress. Using this simplified format may very well be much more compelling than a 20, 40 or 80+ slide presentation. You may have a specialized newsletter that is managed by customer support, there may be a special list for high-priority communication, or they may offer regular educational webinars. We could also leverage this group of evangelists to organize and deliver technically-oriented education about the new offering to the customer base. It may be beneficial to equip Finance with frequently asked questions (with responses) and ways to have a conversation with customers so they will better understand the implication of the change from a financial point of view. After building the list go back through it and consider how each of these resources could be leveraged to improve launch effectiveness. If you need help in figuring out what to launch, start with the Pragmatic Marketing Framework and then the Practical Product Management seminar. She may be stellar in other areas but not very good with coordinating schedules and getting things done.
The Project Manager role acts as the chief-of-staff to the Launch Owner, driving completion of deliverables and activities, advising the Launch Owner of issues, proposing alternative actions and providing project status. As attendees of my Product Launch Essentials seminar learn, a completed checklist doesn’t guarantee launch success, especially if it’s not anchored in a launch strategy. By committing to a fixed date, you’re forcing yourself to launch the product no matter what. Depending on what your item is and the budget that you’ve allocated to market testing, you have a few options. Another thought would be to consider giving your product to a specific group of current product users so that they can test it. If you run into a block and can’t figure out how they could possible help, reach out to them and get their insights.
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. These 10 areas represent what you should follow when developing a successful product launch plan. 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. Just because you’re good at identifying unsolved market problems or shepherding product design and development through engineering doesn’t automatically mean you’re good at driving the launch readiness of your organization across many functional boundaries.

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