Do you have a new product to introduce to the market? Yes? Do you have a product launch plan created? No? Well, you should. Ideally, as soon as the product is defined and goes into development, your marketing team should also go into development of a plan to roll out this new product to the market. At the very minimum, you should have three months to get ready to roll it out…six months or even twelve is better. Why twelve? You may want to plan your whole launch around a tradeshow that is several months out.
So what kind of things go into a product launch? Here are a few suggestions:
- Pick a launch date and back up all your other plans to be ready to go on that date. This can be tricky since development sometimes slips. If it’s a really big launch with lots of moving parts and/or if the roll-out is timed around a tradeshow or other event, development may just need to understand they are going to have to work overtime to bring the product in ON TIME. PERIOD.
- Create a product launch budget. How much do you have spend to bring this product to market? Does management understand how important the launch is and are they behind you and providing proper funding?
- Are you going to announce the product at a tradeshow? If so, make all the regular arrangements for being at a show with a few pluses. You may want to host a press conference there if it’s a really big announcement and invite the press. Or you could host a breakfast, a fancy dinner, or a yacht event and invite customers, prospects, press, and analysts. You’ll want to make a big splash in your booth and do a giveaway or something to get people to your booth and capture their information. Other ideas? Perhaps rent a suite where you can give private demos to prospects, be an invited speaker if possible, and of course issue a press release about the new product.You can also choose to create your own event to announce the product.
- Perhaps this is a low-key announcement and you don’t have a big event. You can still hold a webinar and tell your current customers and prospects about the new product. And of course you’ll want to issue a press release.
- It is imperative that you have new marketing collateral ready to go when the product is announced. This can include a datasheet, presentation (or at least new slides to include in an existing presentation), white paper, case studies, FAQs, and brochure. If you can, create a software demo or video of the product.
- Update your website and social media pages to include information about the new product and post the press release announcing it. Then upload all the marketing collateral so it’s live the date of the announcement. You may also want to feature the new product on your website for a while.
- Provide training to your sales force on the new product. Of course, the product manager will also be making sure that shipping, finance, documentation, tech support, etc. are notified and ready to go when the product ships.
- Notify your press and analyst contacts in advance of when the product is being released. Ideally, analysts will be interested enough to want to see the product and can then (if they like it) serve as influencers and say good things about it that will get picked up by the press. If it is a really major product, you may want to have a press and analyst roadshow and go meet and show them the product.
- Notify your current customers and prospects via email and newsletter about the new product.
There are many more things that can be done to launch a new product, but at least this gives you some ideas. All this is a lot of work; that’s why you have to start EARLY. Need some help? Give me a call!