Critical Keys to a Successful Product Launch

Successful Product Launch

For many start-ups, a successful product launch can make all the difference between thriving for years to come and fading into obscurity.

A product launch is a risky endeavor filled with obstacles that need to be overcome and assumptions that need to be verified, and if mishandled, this endeavor could cost you millions.

Therefore, to maximize the likelihood of success, you need to perform ample research, to meticulously plan ahead, and to be diligent throughout the entire process.

So, here are six essential steps you can follow to make sure that your next product launch is a smashing hit:

1. Everything Starts with Market Research:

If you want to launch a new product, the first thing you need to make sure of is that there is a market for it and that there are potential customers who are eager to buy what you are selling; this is what is known as having a product-market fit.

To that end, you need to start by being clear on the problem your product attempts to solve and to make sure that you have a solid grasp of all facets of said problem.

This includes understanding your potential customers, their habits, their motivations, and the benefits that matter to them.

You should also take the time to segment different markets as different niches may have varying needs. In short, you need to gather as much pertinent data as you can.

2. You Need to Research Your Competition Too:

Even though competitor research is a big part of market research, it is such a big part that it deserves its own step.

After all, even if you have a product that people would be willing to doll out cash for, you may be pushed out of the market by competition that better satisfies your customers or just offers them a better price.

You also have to take into consideration the threat posed by substitutes, which are products that aren't competing directly with your product but could replace it in answering your customers' needs.

Ideally, you want your product to occupy a space that is left empty by other companies. What would be even better is the lack of substitutes to your product.

And, the best case scenario is one where there are significant barriers to entry that'll prevent other companies from encroaching on your turf.

3. Build a Prototype and Test it:

Armed with all the above research, you will be able to develop hypotheses about how you can best meet the needs of your customers, and the main objective of this step will be to confirm these hypotheses, something you can achieve with the help of a well-designed prototype.

When designing a prototype, the main thing you want to do is to focus on a minimum viable product, shortened as MVP, that tries to solve the main problem.

It is worth bearing in mind that your first MVP will probably fail to hit the mark, which is why you want to invest as little money as you can in any given iteration of the MVP.

This will help you reach a product-market fit while expending the least amount of money possible.

The obvious effect of this principle is that you should postpone putting all the bells and whistles on your product until you have a solid product that meets your customers' needs.

Build and Test your prototype

Great, so now you have your first prototype, your MVP, what happens next?

Simply put, you need to test it, and to do so, you need to be clear on both what it is exactly you're testing as well as how you plan to measure it.

This'll require you to know beforehand what success will look like and to measure whether your product achieves that vision.

As tempting as it may be to let your metrics be something straightforward such as the number of sales you achieve or the number of downloads you get, these metrics will be deceiving and won't give you the full picture. Instead, you will be better served by having specific metrics that give you a more detailed picture, such as the time spent using your product.

4. Let People Know about Your Product:

The moment you have developed your product and made sure that it caters to your target demographic, you need to start letting your customers know about your awesome product.

At this point, all the previous steps will come into play, from your market research to your prototyping and testing, and will direct your efforts, helping you be effective.

For example, your competitor research will prove instrumental when you try to position your product in the market.

Also, you need to think about the sort of message you'll be communicating with your audience, something that can change from niche to niche. Therefore, if you have segmented your market, this should be easier for you to accomplish.

Also, you want to think about building a stable, loyal customer base, which will require engaging your customers.

5. Train Your Team to Work with You:

Nowadays, a product's success rarely relies on the product alone; rather, there are a host of functions that need to be performed in conjunction so as to ensure a product's success, including customer service, sales, public relations, and marketing.

Ergo, if you want to ensure that everybody is singing the same tune and that there is no disharmony between the different units, you need to train them all and teach them how to interact with your customers.

6. Collect Feedback and Implement:

At the end of the day, your number one concern needs to be your customers' satisfaction, and in your endless pursuit to always exceed their expectations, you should listen to any feedback you get from them and consider how you can implement it.

After all, it's not enough to have a successful product launch; you want your product to stay successful for the foreseeable future, something that'll require a concerted effort on your part.

Is This All You Need to Guarantee a Successful Product Launch?

The sad truth is that there is no way to guarantee a successful product launch: It is a probabilistic event that is always liable to fail.

Follow the above steps to increase the odds of your success considerably, and that is the best any of us can hope for in the turbulent world of business.

Also, if you're looking for an extra kick, there are numerous tools you can check out that can help your growth.

Guest Author

Eric Gordon

Eric Gordon is an independent business development and marketing specialist for SMEs. He loves sharing his insights and experience to assist business owners in growing their revenues. You can find Eric on Twitter @ericdavidgordon