Your company is on display when you launch a product. Will your organization look well organized, smart, and successful? Or, will the process leave your team constantly fighting fires and correcting problems? Meticulous upfront planning is key to a smooth and successful product launch.
A successful product launch should accomplish two primary objectives:
- Clearly show what your product stands for
- Reveal why customers should buy the product
If the product launch is mishandled, it is nearly impossible to pull a product back. The consequences of such a move are costly. For this reason, you need to plan every facet of the launch down to the smallest detail. Then make sure each detail is executed perfectly.
Two Types of Market
There are essentially two types of market for any product:
- An existing market that already has a number of competitors in the same space
- A new market – one that didn’t previously exist
Three Approaches to Product Launch
The most common approach to a product launch requires you to release your product into an existing market. To successfully do this, you must have a distinctive value proposition that sets you apart from your competitors. This is how you take as much market share from competitors as possible. Your approach must be single-minded in its dedication to acquiring new customers and developing demand for your product. Your company must take an “all-in” attitude toward the launch to be successful. This approach is typically quite expensive.
The second launch approach is oriented toward seeking out markets that don’t currently exist. Your goal is to ramp up awareness and ultimately compel customers to buy. It is a long-term focus. Your company needs to target early adopters to gain momentum and generate interest among an unengaged mass market. Education features prominently in this approach. It’s wise to take it slowly and not invest the high dollars required for a launch into an existing market.
The Third Approach: Into a Re-segmented Market
You create a re-segmented market by slicing off a piece of an existing market by offering a product priced lower than the competition. Or, you can achieve a re-segmented market by targeting those who will be especially attracted to certain product strengths.
The re-segmented approach requires you to redefine market conditions so you can peel off a winnable segment. You need to both educate your audience and capture customers. Decide if you are targeting people who will be ready to buy. If so, you’ll want to go “all in” as described in the existing market approach. However, if you don’t feel the segment is ready to buy, focus on attracting a few early adopters and work the launch like you would one into a new market.
In my next post I’ll explore the use and development of the launch product brief.