Successful product launches don’t happen by accident. They’re built on processes and methods proven to communicate your value proposition. They’re designed to grow your business and, most significantly, they intentionally exceed the expectations of customers, channel partners, employees, industry analysts and “the Street”. Your product launch shapes those expectations. You get one chance to make that first impression. Successful product launches create the internal and external excitement that drives market adoption.
Scientific product development processes such as the Capability Maturity Model and product development life cycle may be understood by many in your organization, but many product and marketing organizations still approach product launches as art instead of science. As a result, many launches don’t achieve expectations for your product’s profitability.
In a world of shorter product life cycles, can you afford months and years to recover from a launch that falls short or misses the mark? For a highly successful and repeatable product launch, consider implementing the ‘four pillars’ for a successful product launch. We’ll cover the first pillar here and follow up with the next three in following posts.
FOUR PILLARS FOR A SUCCESSFUL PRODUCT LAUNCH
Pillar 1 – Building the Launch Team
Launch management isn’t a part-time job. It has to be your team’s day job for the duration of the launch. Successful companies dedicate teams exclusively to the challenges of building market momentum for a new product launch. Companies that excel at product launch strive for consistency. They use the same team from launch to launch, leveraging their experience and knowledge of shared processes and organizational decision-making.
Dedicated launch teams can include members from project management, public relations, product management, product marketing, engineering management, online marketing, social media marketing, customer support, and events management. You can create such teams with company resources or use a combination of on-site consultants to staff up and down as needed.
Recognize that launch roles can’t be defined on a one-off basis. Your launch plan will help you identify the right resources and when those resources are needed. This plan will drive your search for partners and team members with proven experience and demonstrated skill sets. You may need to augment your current staff to fill in needed skill set. In some cases you may need to hire or contract launch management leadership.
“The larger the launch and the organization, the more a program management skill set is a critical factor,” says Amdocs vice president of Product Marketing Eric Carrasquilla. “Finding people is not the problem. Breaking them free from their ‘day jobs’ is the problem. You can’t do a launch on the side,” he says, adding, “It’s got to be your day job.”
Next week we will cover Pillar #2, “Over-deliver and Exceed Expectations.” What is your experience with Launch Teams?