In our business, we are part of product launch teams all the time. Well planned launches tend to meet expectations while poorly planned launches struggle to gain traction.
In this post, we are not talking about the customer-facing activities that can make or break a launch. We are focusing on what goes on internally, behind the scenes, that can sabotage even the best launch.
There are so many things that can delay a launch or put it on a different path. Developing and launching a product is no simple task, it is much more complex than meets the eye. Here are seven red flags that can signal your launch will not meet expectations.
- Believing that a product launch is a singular event. A product launch is a 90-120 day process and it includes a variety of educational, marketing, support and sales tactics to make it successful.
- Not delaying a launch when the company is not ready. Sometime companies put a stake in the ground and commit to a product launch date. In some cases, it is prudent to push the launch date out particularly if you are not going to be able to deliver product within a 60-90 day time frame. If you announce too early, you can easily undermine your credibility if you don’t deliver on your promise as well as waste the momentum that you generated during the launch process.
- Inconsistent planning across functional areas. Some companies just don’t understand that a number of internal departments need to be involved in the planning and execution of a major product launch. Engineering needs to be in synch with purchasing and manufacturing, sales needs to be in synch with marketing and support. Everyone has to work together to have a successful launch.
- Lack of cross-functional communication. In many organizations, departments tend to operate in silos and do not have insight into the inter-dependencies and timelines of their peers in other departments. Product launches are full of inter-department inter-dependencies.
- There is no process. Many companies don’t have a process in place or they don’t have the experience to understand that a process needs to be put in place to ensure all the items and departments are ready for launch.
- The launch is under-resourced, both in personnel as well as funding. Team members may be focused on daily operational issues and do not have the capacity to think about the product launch. If there are no funds for new content development, then the marketing engine and sales team will have a hard time generating awareness.
- The company has not fully committed to the product. I am surprised at how often this happens. Sometimes a company will launch a “skunk works” project to see how it does. In many cases, it has a limited amount of feature or capabilities and as a result is not able to compete or gain traction.
There is no marketing silver bullet when it comes to product launches – just a series of sequenced events that help build momentum and awareness. Are you planning on launching a product in the near future? Get Red Javelin’s eBook titled "65 Steps to a Successful Product Launch" here or click on the image below.
Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net