April 15

Product Launch Strategy Series (Part 3): Looking for a Strong ROI? Launch Your Product the Right Way

By Philip Sorrells

and Becky Breining

In this Product Launch Strategy blog series, Forward Vision Marketing’s Philip Sorrells shares the secret to a successful product launch. Topics include How to Ace Your Product LaunchSteps to Avoid a Product Launch Flop, Launch Your Product the Right Way, The Secret Sauce in Every Successful Product LaunchMessaging Around the Buyer’s Journey, and Being the Hero in a Flawless Product Launch.

After decades of marketplace trial and error, highly innovative companies know there is a core set of best practices associated with conducting a successful product launch. Carefully crafted end-to-end strategies work best. Research from SiriusDecisions found companies that plan and execute end-to-end campaigns have a 19% faster revenue growth and 15% higher profitability than those who do not.

The drivers behind these financial results are straightforward.  

  • First to market earns you a higher market share, especially true if you strike a market full of early adopters.
  • First to market often means the opportunity to set prices and hold them higher once competition creeps in.  
  • Having a fully integrated product launch process that focuses on starting right helps you avoid costly mistakes, do-overs and re-starts required by design modifications  — all the things that cause big budget overruns.  

Start Here for Best Results

Companies that launch new products successfully have a mature and effective new product development process, which sometimes take the form of a Stage Gate process (also known as a waterfall process.) Stages are well-defined activities. Gates are decision points.

Development of the product is divided into logical, iterative processes. Each stage concludes with a defined set of deliverables and a disciplined process for making a “go” or a “no go” decision before proceeding. Thus, stakeholders and sponsors are able to review progress at each gate and decide whether to proceed or abandon it.

Research shows companies that plan and execute end-to-end product launch strategies have 19% faster revenue growth and 15% higher profitability than those that do not.

This approach works particularly well during early-stage development while engaging existing customers. The advantage is you get input straight from the end-user, identifying exactly what customers want. And it allows you to easily, often quickly, validate a new product’s requirements.

The new products that yield the highest reward are those with a team that is already deeply involved in the market. In fact, they are so deeply involved they are able to anticipate a problem before it occurs. They can identify an issue that prospects may not even be aware of. While some products may be radically new and higher risk, they have the potential to become the home runs that forever change your place in the competitive ecosystem. 

You also will need to consider manufacturing options and whether you want your new product to be sold, licensed, or crowdfunded. These kinds of decisions feed into a detailed, formal launch plan that includes sales objectives, sales channel strategy, promotional plan, contingency plans, and key milestones. A solid Product launch strategy is a prerequisite to organizational buy-in and complete executive sponsorship.

Through all of the steps, keep in mind the overriding need for a deep process for gathering and understanding the Voice of the Customer (VOC) and existing market conditions. Your VOC profile can change over time so it’s worth keeping it accurate and update-to-date. Notable failures have come from not fully understanding how a great, executable concept idea will be received by the market surrounding it. Remember, too, there are other players in the market who potentially can derail it.

There are many best practices that have proven themselves to be the “secret sauce” for product launch success, including establishing a requirements waterfall, identifying a value wedge, and ensuring product compatibility. If your company is planning to send its offspring (new product) off into the blazing world of competitive commerce, be sure you know two things: What to do and what not to do.

At Forward Vision, our experts use the “Start Right – Finish Well” launch management process as a proven methodology to give new products the lift they need.  Watch our webinar or download our eBook to learn more.

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