Buyers’ preferences will inevitably change. Technologies will evolve. New markets will form and existing ones will disappear. Companies that don’t adapt by rolling out new products, or creating new services will, overtime, become less relevant or even fold. This reality is summed up by the mantra “innovate or die.”
Companies must keep rejuvenating themselves. Product introductions are a way to do so. They are important milestones for businesses. No matter the frequency at which new products or services are released, each introduction should deliver value to customers. Each one should have business objectives and success factors tied to it.
The last post examined the criteria that customers use to evaluate whether a company’s product release is a success. Now let’s flip the equation and consider the company’s perspective. How does a company judge whether its launch is successful?
I believe that there are eight factors that comprise a company’s criteria for a successful product launch. They are:
1. Satisfaction – Buyers love the product. They tell their friends and anyone who will listen about it.
2. Financial Success – The results meet or exceed the company’s goals. Whether success is measured by revenue, units sold, downloads, increased market share, stock price, or some other metric, it’s achieved.
3. Marketing Success – With so many marketing metrics to choose from, it may be a combination of brand awareness, website traffic, new leads, email opens, inquiries, clickthroughs, coverage, social media reach & influence and more that the company is after. The targets are nailed, no matter what they are.
4. Organizational Success – The launch is managed well. Cross-functional teams works in unison.
5. Training Success – Customer service, partners and salespeople are trained on the product and can knowledgeably answer users’ questions on day one.
6. Operational Success – The public is unaware of the complexities of the launch process. To them it all looks seamless and easy. Product development meets all the deadlines. The supply chain functions as expected. Engineering, manufacturing, QA, fulfillment and distribution all get it done.
7. Competitive Advantage – The competition has been beaten to market, or major strides have been made against them.
8. Accomplishment – Members of the launch team feel like they’ve achieved something significant, both personally and professionally. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it!
The combined customer and company criteria provide guidance for how to pull off a successful launch. If you are planning a launch, begin by tying metrics to each of the success factors. Then build and execute a launch plan that is designed to achieve each one. Do it well and your launch will be a sensation!