Most product launches fail.
According to the Harvard Business Review, only 3% of new consumer packaged goods exceed the benchmarks set for a successful launch. Lack of a successful launch strategy for a technology company can reduce your profitability by as much as 35%.
From an outbound or downstream marketing perspective, the biggest problem with a new product launch is education (sometimes referred to as enablement). Of course, I’m assuming you’ve already done the important inbound/upstream marketing:
- there’s a market for you product,
- you’ve built it correctly to meet those needs, and,
- you’ve created a hype-cycle within your niche of followers.
If you’re not sure that you nailed the inbound marketing, you should stop here because your product launch will only fail faster if you follow my steps with a bad product.
Unfortunately, even if you have a terrific product, your launch can easily get tangled up in a sea of confusing chatter. How many of you have suffered these symptoms of a tangled product launch?
- Sales reps who continue to sell older products
- Web sites that are not updated to reflect new functionality
- Journalists and analysts who continue to refer to your old product names
- Customer support reps who email the wrong information about your products
- Trade show booths that still reflect old products
- Product catalogs that were never updated
- Resellers who are confused about your new offerings and pricing
- Contracts that aren’t up to date
- Customers who recently upgraded but feel cheated out of the new product
Here is the final impact on the cohesiveness of your team:
- your R&D team starts blaming your sales team for not taking the time to understand the new product
- sales blames marketing for not producing enough training and marketing material for them
- marketing blames implementation for not screwing the product in properly and creating bad buzz in the user community
- implementation blames development for a buggy product that is hard to install, when in fact the product is perfectly designed
- your CEO blames everyone, and rightfully so
Be a Product Launch Hero
All of these pains can be avoided with the mastery of a systematic outbound launch process. And that is why I’m writing this series of blog articles. I want to teach you how to be the hero of your next launch by giving you insights into the 10 key areas of your education cycle during a new product launch. These 10 steps will include:
- Website elements that every successful launch requires
- Public relations tips and tricks
- Lead nurturing play books for product launches
- Branding considerations that can add velocity to your launch
- Email guidelines to coordinate your messaging across teams
- Event guidelines to inject product launches into other niches
- Mail coordination tips and tricks
- Reseller channel product launch needs
- Networking ideas for referrals and social proof
- Customer advocacy to turn your product launch into a loyalty builder instead of a loyalty killer
- Bonus: How to build a launch team
I hope you’ll join me for what I hope will be a fun and useful set of articles that help you with your next product launch. Please follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn to be notified each time a new article is posted in the series.