How to Create a Winning Product Launch Strategy
Launching a product in today’s hyper-competitive market is like trying to single out a rain droplet in a thunderstorm.
With countless new products raining down on prospects daily, your product risks being lost in the wave.
To stand out and make a lasting impact, you must create excitement and anticipation that sets your product apart.
That’s what product launches are for!
In this blog, we’ll discuss product launch strategy and how to create one. Let’s dive in.
What Is A Product Launch Strategy?
A product launch strategy is a detailed plan a company develops to introduce a new product to the market. It involves how and when to reveal the product, the target audience, and how to create excitement and interest around the product.
Multiple teams, including sales, product, customer success, and product marketing teams, align and work together to launch a product. Each team has its goals and responsibilities but is geared towards the same overall objective - to generate interest and increase brand recognition.
A successful product launch generates leads and contributes heavily to the pipeline. (If you target the right audience, that is. We'll come to that later.)
That being said, let's dive into the important elements that make a good strategy.
What Are The 7 Key Elements You Should Include in Product Launch Strategies?
Preparing a product launch strategy can feel daunting if you don’t know where to start. What details to include? What should be done first? It could get overwhelming quickly.
Don’t worry, we’ve included the seven crucial elements needed in a product launch strategy.
- Vision: As team alignment is vital, ensure all members are aware of the goals of the launch and understand the need for the product.
- Customer and Market Research: Collecting customer feedback is an excellent way to know customers' wants. Researching competitors and the market gives insights into what's trending and refines your messaging. You can deliver a message that resonates when you launch your product.
- Product Development: You need a dedicated product team to improve your product based on customer feedback continually.
- Strategy: Once your product is ready, you need a plan to reveal it to your customers. Create a plan with the tasks and timelines to deliver the value of your product to the target audience. Moreover, this also motivates and keeps your team on track.
- Communication Plan: Map out a timeline to meet with cross-functional teams to measure the progress of the launch plan. Also, engage prospects and customers to know the direct impact as well.
- Product Launch Checklist: Little details can slip through the cracks with too many things on your plate. A list of the final pre-launch collaterals keeps you informed and ensures nothing is left behind.
- Performance Measurement System: To understand your launch's effect and optimize it accordingly, you must measure its performance. This depends entirely on your goals. For example, if your goal was to generate leads on your website, set up a system to measure conversions on your launch page.
How To Create A Product Launch Strategy?
Now that we’ve discussed the essentials for a product launch strategy let’s understand how they all come together. Here’s how you can create a winning product launch strategy.
Perform Customer Research
Firstly, you must ensure that your product is the need of the hour. Evaluate the market to see if your potential customers are willing to buy your product.
At this point, your focus should be to find out how to cater to different customer segments and determine the number of customers with unresolved needs that your product can address.
- Conduct a survey with various questions related to the pain point your product solves for your customers.
- Schedule 1-on-1 interviews with customers to dig deeper into the issue.
Define Your Ideal Customer
Now it's time to identify your target market - the people who are going to be purchasing your product.
The best way to determine your target audience is by creating buyer personas. Buyer personas are detailed, semi-fictional details of your ideal customers based on market research and real data about your existing customers.
The devil's in the details, really. Some information you may want to include are:
Here's a great persona template by HubSpot.
- Involve different stakeholders in the creation of your buyer persona.
- Develop a template, as shown above, that is easily accessible and shareable.
Identify Your Competition
Identifying your competitors and understanding their messaging allows you to outline the unique positioning you can take while promoting your product. When you look into what your competitors offer and how they promote their products, you can use their shortcomings to convince your customer base to choose you over them.
Here's what you need to look for while researching a competitor:
- How they've built their product
- Ease of use
- USP (Unique Selling Proposition)
- Previous product launches
- Marketing campaigns
- Their product positioning in the market and messaging
- Business model and pricing strategy
- Customer support
This way, you can identify their marketing strategy and product feature gaps - and fill them in.
Getting insights into how your competitors acquire leads also helps quite a lot while strategizing your product launch.
For example, If your competitor promotes their product on websites like Product Hunt, your prospects will likely engage with it actively. You can adopt this into your product launch strategy and elevate it by redirecting them to a product page with an interactive demo.
Since 67% of customers prefer self-service over speaking to a sales rep, interactive demos offer prospects a gateway into your product without actually being inside the product. Prospects experience your product more hands-on, making them active participants instead of passive listeners.
- Perform a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) for your product and your competitors to determine differentiators.
- Create a shared doc with all your learnings so other team members can access it.
Define Your Product Positioning
The next, most important step is to define your product positioning - how the market will view your product and what will make it different from others in the same space.
To develop an effective positioning statement, you must consider how your customer perceives your product, what problem they believe it solves, and how much they trust and recognize it.
As Jeff Walker, creator of Product Launch Formula, mentions on LinkedIn,
"Remember, whether your domain is business, art, or beyond, the ascent to excellence begins with strategic positioning."
Your positioning statement should briefly summarize your product, category, and differentiator. In this example, Gong positions their AI-powered Sales Engagement Platform as "The only sales engagement solution powered by complete customer interactions,” effectively differentiating themselves from the rest of the players in the market.
- Get all hands on deck to determine what could be the best positioning strategy for your product.
- Follow April Dunford's positioning exercise to find creative ways to effectively communicate your product's value and how you stand out in the market.
Define Your Goals
Since product launches are a collaborative effort from different teams, setting overall goals is crucial. These goals serve as a guiding light, aligning the entire team's efforts toward a common objective.
With well-defined goals, a product launch can become organized, and the team may retain sight of what they aim to accomplish, making it easier to track progress, make informed decisions, and adapt to changing circumstances.
Some examples of goals you can set are website traffic, leads generated, pipeline generated, signups, customers acquired, and follower count.
- Again, it's a team effort. So, get all stakeholders in the same room to decide on the target.
- Set up systems in place to measure the progress regularly.
Develop Your Marketing Plan
A marketing plan should include all the ways you will tell your audience that you’ve launched an amazing product and that they should check it out. You can do this via blogs, webinars, social media, email campaigns, and product hunt launches.
However, since marketing campaigns inundated these channels, the most thoughtful and creative launches stand out.
For example, Amplitude announced the redesign of their software through in-app messaging.
This strategy was excellent because Amplitude got its customers to experience the product firsthand during the launch. And to stand out in a crowded market, that’s exactly what you should do.
Interactive demos are a great way to achieve this. They offer the flexibility to showcase your product under different lights. Whether use cases, features, or workflows, your prospects get a better picture of what they're dealing with, and you can drive sales by reducing time-to-value.
- Discuss with your team and narrow down the channels you want to focus on.
Upland Software consistently sees approx 70% engagement rate of its interactive leave-behinds, with a 3x improvement in sales velocity. Read their story to find out how.
And that’s how you create a winning product launch strategy. Product launches are an excellent way to make a splash about your new product or feature. However, it can quickly get overwhelming if you don't prioritize your launches.
The Difference Between Product Launch Strategy and Plan
Product launch strategy and product launch plan may sound similar, but they serve two distinct purposes. While the former provides a detailed step-by-step guide to prepare for a successful launch, the latter is an overview of the launch and its objectives.
Product Launch Strategy
This includes details like:
- Product differentiation - how you're different from the competition
- Audience, demographics, geography - information on the target market
- Marketing strategy - channels and tactics used to promote said product
- Goal setting - defining clear objectives for the launch
- Performance measurement - setting systems in place to track the progress of the launch
- Customer journey optimization
Product Launch Plan
This includes details like:
- Stakeholders involved
- Pre-launch, post-launch, during-launch roadmap
- The short and long-term goals
That wraps up everything we know about creating a winning product launch strategy. It's all about understanding your customers, evaluating your competition, setting clear goals, and making a good plan to tell people about your product. A good strategy helps you get more people interested and buying your product. In a nutshell, a well-thought-out strategy is the secret to getting more people excited about your product and driving more revenue.
Q1. Top 3 reasons why product launches fail
The three main reasons product launches fail are poor product-market fit, insufficient planning and preparation, and poor team collaboration. If a product fails to solve your customer’s real-life problem, it’s likely to struggle in the market.
Q2. What are the five steps to launching a product?
The five steps to launch a product are understanding the market, defining your target audience, identifying your goals, developing and testing your product, and developing a marketing plan.
Q3. How do I create a product launch timeline?
The step-by-step process to create a product launch timeline is to plan in advance, gather feedback, form a team, design your launch strategy, prepare your content, perform product testing, finalize the launch checklist and content, and announce your launch.
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