Despite being a cliche, it’s rather true that the “first impression is the last impression”. At least, if not the last, it’s certainly the strongest impression that brand can make on its audience — that is, on potential customers.
That said, a successful launch plays a critical role in the growth of the product. Developing software is a long and arduous task, but in order for the product to be successful, one needs a strong marketing strategy. Although of utmost importance, it’s not simply enough to have great quality, as well as functionalities. Providing excellent software services is just as essential as the software itself. Moreover, it’s also about “making the mark” with the launch, especially in a highly competitive ecosystem wherein a competitive edge is a determining factor for businesses’ success.
What is product launch?
An organization’s coordinated efforts to make their new product/service available to users is formally known as ‘product launch’.
The whole docket, however, accounts for more than just the ‘launch’ itself because everything before and after matters and contributes to a good reception.
From building anticipation for the product to gathering valuable feedback from the initial response, product launches can create the necessary momentum for an organization.
Poorly executed product launches often result in the customers not being aware of what your product does — or worse, not knowing that a solution exists in the market.
It is generally recommended to start as early as possible, say 6 months before the actual ‘launch’ to get things in motion.
How to create a Product Launch Plan?
Failing to plan is planning to fail.
This is true for everything, especially product launches. Just having your product out there on an app store will not guarantee traffic.
Neither will a haphazard attempt to create awareness by buying out a few online ads.
Every aspect of your product launch needs to be prepared beforehand.
As the picture shows, it is advisable to start planning and formulating your product launch activities at least before six months.
A product plan generally has the following:
- Product Description
- Target Audience
- Critical Success Factors
- Marketing material
- Executive Summary
As the visionary behind the product, you surely know a lot more about it then everyone else involved.
This means that you would have to spend time aligning people who work on it so that they understand your vision.
Set the context for the upcoming launch and also make your life easier by coming up with a product description.
It does not need to be complicated at all. Just brief points about what it is supposed to and how it achieves functionality should be enough.
Here, Chanty clearly tells you how it intends to solve the problem of messaging: by making everything seamless and without a learning curve.
This is the cornerstone for every product that wants to achieve success or Product-Market fit.
Without having a detailed analysis of who your target audience is and what they like, you cannot really build something that truly matches their needs.
From market research to user personas, you need to have everything.
Critical Success Factors
What success looks like changes from product to product, making it very necessary for you to define it.
And, they need to be measurable. These factors can be anything, from specific revenue targets to the number of daily users on your platform.
This would help you understand if your product launch has truly worked out.
Before you jump into researching KPIs to generate your success factors, think about the most important aspect of your product.
For AirBnB, it is the number of successful bookings. For WhatsApp, it is the number of messages sent on a given day.
These types of make-it-or-break-it metrics are called the north star metric.
The north star metric is the bridge between the success you want to achieve and the value that users expect from you.
After the launch, an uptick on this metric would be your clear indicator that you have done it right.
Users do not come to know about a product on their own. Without proper marketing, your product is as good as dead.
Way before your actual launch, you need to keep your marketing material ready to be published and circulated on a regular basis.
Physical marketing collateral like brochures need the right place to be circulated and social media posts need to be published way early into the journey of your product launch.
Executive summary of your product launch plan
Now, take your product description and add the insights from your target audience’s research, along with the critical success factors.
How you achieve those success factors is obvious: using your developmental cycle, product launch roadmap, and marketing strategies.
This executive summary will help you frame your roadmap in a proper, linear manner while also allowing you to account for later changes/trends when you actually launch your product.
Product Launch Checklist
The product launch checklist is everything that you would work upon, iterate through, and review before clicking the final button that sends your product into the market.
A checklist is the most insisted upon thing when it comes to significant situations — in aviation, pilots and the crew are famous for their ritualistic adherence to going through the checklist before taking off.
They must have done the same thing hundreds of times before, but they use the checklist regardless.
At such high stakes, even a small negligence can cost lives.
For your product launch, that is not the case.
But it would surely cost you your first impression and the initial momentum.
Here are the must-haves for every product launch checklist.
For the product itself
- Feature definition: Make sure that engineering teams have all the necessary prioritization, planning, and documentation to begin development.
- UX/UI Design: Deliver designers with the UX analysis, wireframes, and specifications required to start designing.
- QA and Operations: Test and deploy the new functionality in production.
- Launch date: Set a launch date and time and collaborate with stakeholders.
- Packaging: Implement the pricing for the latest product experience. Plan and agree on how the bundles will be packaged, including upgrades.
- Positioning: Work on creating a product positioning plan.
- Infrastructure: Make required improvements to the product administration and control systems.
- Billing: Updating existing billing options and features to suit the new experience of the product.
- Finance: Update key systems to track new product related financial metrics, or improvements that produce add-on revenue.
- Documentation: Update key systems to track new product related financial metrics, or improvements that produce add-on revenue.
- Sales and support: Complete and authorize all documentation for the product, including release notes, guides for support and troubleshooting, FAQs and technical data sheets.
- Customer success: Train the latest product features of customer experience to service teams and provide them with the requisite technical support materials.
The launch plan focuses on two important aspects,
- Making your product refined and ready
- Strategize to communicate your product to the market.
The latter is as important as the former. It’s not just the product that should be ready. Your market and users should be ready too. They need to be in the state of mind to welcome your product. Users need to recognize and embrace it. That’s what any launch plan aims at after all. And it solely depends on the launch strategy you have.
A narrative that’s so effective, a promise to users, and a product that fulfills the promise— these are your launch essentials. If you have a dream for your product, you should probably be mindful of your launch plan. Your launch plan decides if your product soars up the sky or falls on the earth.
All you have to do is, ‘Ensure it flies!’