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Eight “Must Haves” When Planning a Product Launch

With all of the announcements that came out of the Customer Electronics Show, product launches have been getting a lot buzz in the tech world this month. And for foodies, this past weekend was very much about the new delectables that were tasted at the Fancy Food Show. Whatever the product is being launched, the public only sees the outcome. But as so many of us marketers know, pulling off a successful product launch is not an easy feat.

There are numerous pieces to the launch puzzle that all need to fall into place in time for the big announcement and first customer shipment. Much of a product launch’s fate is determined in the early planning stages. Rest assured, you can put your launch on solid footing by following eight “must haves” when planning a product launch.

1. Have a clear launch strategy, launch plan and budget. Metrics are mandatory. It all should be approved, and ultimately owned, by a senior executive.

2. Have a strong, capable and communicative cross-functional core team. The team should be comprised of people representing each department or functional area that has launch responsibilities. Meet regularly. Make each person accountable.

3. Have a comprehensive project management plan. Include tactics and deliverables, ownership of the deliverables and corresponding due dates. Track the status.

4. Have a messaging platform. The platform needs to be blessed by management. Make sure it is consistently incorporated into all customer-facing deliverables, such as the packaging, website, PR and ads, as well as all customer sales and support interactions.

5. Have a product that is delivered to market on time. If for some reason the product turns out not to be capable of doing all that the messaging says it can do, the messaging needs to be adjusted.

6. Have a “worst case scenario” backup plan. Mitigate risk.

7. Have an executive sponsor who is accountable for the launch. The buck needs to stop somewhere.

8. Have some fun. Driving to a major deadline is stressful. Fun eases the stress.

Launching a product is a complex undertaking and no two launch experiences are ever the same.  Follow these eight principles and your product launch will be off to a stellar start.

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