The product launch is the most critical and vulnerable point of the product development process. But too many companies treat it as an afterthought. B2B companies aren't always great at promoting themselves - and this is especially true when it comes to their new products and services. B2B companies often spend millions developing a new product, only to ignore or skip a well planned product launch.
The product launch has far reaching effects. A poor product launch will leave customers confused or totally uninformed, which results in low sales and ROI. On the other hand, a successful product launch will produce new and happy customers, more sales and a better bottom line.
What makes a successful product launch? Here are six steps to ensure your next new product or service on the market is a huge success.
1. Know your Market Opportunity
The first step to a successful new product or service is to confirm that there is a real market opportunity for what you're creating. Don't be an inventor who finds out after years of hard work and expense that no one really wants or needs what you've created. Consider these elements during your product development process:
- Audience – What needs do your target customers have? Is your product solving a real and present problem that they have?
- Competition – Consider any competition that is currently in the same market space that you plan to enter. An established company with a mature product will make the market harder to enter.
- Finances – make sure you understand the financial landscape of your product from development to distribution and make sure that you do not price yourself out of the market.
In order to know how the market will respond to your product or how successful it can be, make sure to do some testing. You can do this by using a customer advisory board, a testing group or focus groups. Tests will give you insight and data to help you make product improvements - before the product hits the market.
Effective timing of a product launch is critical to attracting customers and optimizing revenue and product. Launch your product during a window of time with most opportunity. This means that your product should launch when there is the most need for its features in the market. As well, time your product launch according to your competitors. Decide whether or not you want to be the first-mover to beat, or next-to-market in order to improve upon what's already on the market.
4. Set Clear Launch Goals
Clear goals for your product launch will ensure that you determine the purpose of your product launch and guide you when evaluating launch tactics. Once you have determined your goals, establish how these goals will be measured and which tools you'll use to do the measuring.
5. Clear Positioning and Messaging
The right positioning when launching a product will shape the way customers evaluate your product against that of your competitors. Customers tend to use the products that are most relevant to their needs, the right message at the right time is key for market adoption.
Here's how to develop a compelling marketing message.
Even though you've tested your product prior to launch, it's equally important to collect customer feedback after launch. This will allow you to make improvements in the second wave of production, which will result in better customer retention and improve sales and revenue.
By adding these elements to your next product or service development process, you'll be on the way to successfully bringing your product or service to market.
For more help, use Hubspot's 18 step guide to creating a successful product launch.
Feel free to contact us to talk through your product launch strategy.
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