How to Launch a Product

Launching a new product in today’s vast market can be daunting if you’re not sure what you’re doing. With so many available options from competitors, your product must stand out and make a case for itself even before hitting the market.
While there’s no standard formula for how to launch a product, you can follow a few steps that make your chances of success pretty high. It all boils down to putting your effort in the right places and learning along the way.

10 Steps for a Successful Product Launch

Here are a few steps that work as a road map for any new product launch. Use them as a checklist to measure where you are in the process and what still needs to be done.
Market Research for Target Audience and Competition
This is a logical first step because you need to know who will want to purchase your product. It can be done by asking people in your circle who fit the demographic for the product or on a wide scale by conducting a survey. This step will help you create a buyer persona, i.e. the person you’re marketing the product to.
When you’re asking questions, try to gather as much info about your competitors as well. You’ll know more about trends in marketing this type of product and certain brand loyalties some customers have. This will help you piece together the positioning statement, which is the next step.
A Solid Product Positioning Statement
A well-drafted product positioning statement provides information on what the product is, who the target audience is, and the niche the product fills in the market or the purpose it serves.
The positioning statement should answer these questions:
Who are the prospective buyers?
What are the specs of the product?
What purpose does the product serve?
What sets the product apart from the competition?
This will help you put together enough information for the stakeholders’ meeting.
Stakeholders Meeting
Running the positioning statement by key stakeholders in your company is crucial before taking any other steps. The product and marketing teams have experience when it comes to ideas that work and ones that don’t. You’ll save yourself a lot of trouble if you listen to them.
For small-scale and single-person operations, this is the right time to ask for help from a trusted advisor or mentor. They’ll give you an honest, informed opinion on the product and hopefully offer input to improve the operation.
Initial Prototype and Testing
Putting together a prototype will help you gather information about the cost of production and any kinks that need to be straightened in the supply chain.
It will also let you know how the product works, its strength and weakness points, as well as marketable features.
Give the initial batch of the product to family and friends to use, then gather feedback on the product and whether there’s anything they’d like to change.
This will give you a good idea of what to keep and what to change in the subsequent iterations.
Number Crunching
Once you’ve established the initial cost of the product, it’s time to put together a detailed rundown of the numbers for a good profit margin.
You can get cues from other products your company has launched, if applicable. Put down the total number of products sold, total revenue generated, break-even sales volume, and net profit earned.
If this is your first launch and you’re working solo, you can get help from a professional to make a feasibility study for the product.
Marketing Strategy and Plan
Market growth strategies follow a funnel or a flywheel model. The funnel model is the traditional model, which relies on the company creating sales prospects that turn into paying customers.
The flywheel model relies on lateral growth via the customers through word of mouth, referrals, reviews, and social media marketing.
Either way, your plan can include various marketing tools, such as:
Influencer marketing
Content marketing (blogs, videos, podcasts…etc.)
Pay-per-click advertising on social media
Physical or virtual launch event.
Soft Launch and Pre-marketing
You can opt for either of these strategies when you’re putting out your product.
A soft launch has the benefit of giving you further feedback from users and letting you know whether there are things to tweak before the official launch.
On the other hand, pre-marketing creates buzz and anticipation around your product, which makes the official launch much more impactful.
You can use tools like a product landing page on your website, email promotions with a call to action (CTA) at the end, and/or social media marketing at this stage.
Supply Chain Check
Even best-case scenarios need preparation, and that’s the case if the demand is much higher than the supply.
If your soft launch or market predictions show a heightened interest in your product, keep in contact with your vendors and map out a plan in case you need to upscale your operation.
Best be prepared instead of having the product be out of stock right after launch, which will make it lose the initial momentum from referrals and word-of-mouth marketing.
Product Launch
This is zero hour for your new product, so it’s important to have your team prepared for the event. Closely monitor the public response and keep your target from the feasibility study on hand.
It’s also advised to have key performance points (KPIs) for different stages of the launch, so everyone knows what they’re doing.
If additional support is needed, hire more team members and make sure they know the ins and outs of the product to offer the best support for your customers.

After-Launch Feedback

If your launch was a smashing hit, congratulations. However, it’s not wise to rest on your laurels even at your peak.
Keep track of all the things you did right and what you’d do differently the next time. This will help you gain experience that will make the next launch go smoother.
In the case your product falls flat, don’t be discouraged. The fact of the matter is that 75% to 95% of all new products fail. The important thing is to gather enough information about what went wrong in the process so you can avoid it in the next product launch.