When launching a new product, it’s easy to get carried away with ideas of a fancy launch event, advertising and promotions, but in reality all those things are meaningless if you haven’t ticked the most important three boxes.

 

1. Is your product ready?
It sounds obvious but making sure your product is ready for customer use is one of the most crucial aspects of a successful product launch.

It’s often a good idea to have a “soft launch” first where you supply the product to one or two existing customers as part of a pre-launch trial. Depending on how close to being ready the product is you might sell it at a discount or even for free in return for their feedback and to be involved in your case study for the product, depending on the market and the product.

2. Is your sales team ready?

Do they know how the product works and can they describe all its benefits?

Do they know the competition and how to answer customers’ objections?

Do they have all the sales tools they need to sell the product, such as brochures, sales presentations, pricing models, sales letters, factsheets, case studies and product samples or demonstration models?

 If the answer to any of these is ‘no’, then they aren’t ready and it’s worth spending a bit of extra time filling in the gaps to make sure your product gets the best start.

3. Is production set-up and are your distribution channels ready?

There’s nothing worse than investing in a huge product launch only for the new product to be on back-order for months afterwards.

If you’re going to spend your marketing budget generating a buzz about your fantastic new product, make sure that customers who respond to the hype will be able to get hold of one before the momentum is lost.  Unless you are Apple and know for certain that your customers will happily queue for days in the rain to get their hands on your latest product offering, you’ve got to make it as easy as possible for people to buy when they want to buy, otherwise they won’t bother.

All boxes ticked…then go!
If you are confident that this checklist has been met then launch!
 
Of course, the work doesn’t stop there…you need to measure how successful the launch was, assess the product’s uptake and see if you’re meeting your goals. However, that’s another blog post!
 

By Ros Conkie, a Marketing and PR Manager with KMS Marketing and also an experienced engineer.

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