A Guide to Maximizing Product Launch

A Guide to Maximizing Product Launch:
Tasked with launching a new product and want it to really deliver results? You’re not alone. Recessionary economic times have forced companies to rethink major policy decisions, including those affecting product launches. With reduced launch budgets and fewer products in the launch pipeline, each product launch seems to be critically important for companies. As a result, product launches today are subject to more intense scrutiny, leaving marketers with wafer-thin launch error margins.
At CEB Marketing, we spoke with our members to identify top challenges they associate with launching new products. Among the responses we got, we could identify the consistent theme that most product launches fail because of inadequate marketing launch processes, not the product itself. This begs the question – how can marketers make their product launch processes more effective?
That is precisely the question CEB Marketing’s Product Launch Execution Support Center answers. We have put together guidelines, templates, frameworks, and project management tools to help marketers improve their end-to-end product launch approach. However, even before filling out any of these tools marketers must familiarize themselves with the 4 key ingredients of Product Launch Success:

  1. Focus Marketing Efforts Upfront: Given the high stakes involved in each product launch, marketers may be tempted to begin tactical execution immediately. While this approach is likely to improve go-to-market times, it results in a diffused marketing effort. Instead marketers must first clearly define product launch objectives and focus downstream marketing efforts toward effectively achieving those. Upfront clarity on business objectives, launch target segments and product positioning are useful in helping marketers define tightly defined product launch objectives.
  2. Orchestrate Tight Marcomm Planning and Execution: Marketers are often guilty of creating launch campaigns aiming to achieve multiple objective, resulting in confused messaging and a lower impact. CEB Marketing has observed that successful product launch campaigns are the ones that focus on accomplishing a single task, often tied closely to the launch business objective. The single-task focus minimizes the risk of campaigns not meeting business objectives, as well as results in more efficient marketing execution.
  3. Ensure Sales and Channel Partner Alignment: Sales and Channel Partners most commonly control the last-mile interaction with customers. Marketing must align these functions closely to the launch objectives to ensure on-target market performance. To facilitate this alignment, marketing should enable these functions with training and communication materials that guide their effort towards achieving the product launch objective.
  4. Activate a Performance Improvement Loop: Each product launch is an opportunity to learn and improve for the next one. While most marketers track launch performance, few create a ‘lessons learnt’ report. Companies that report success in product launches often attribute it to 2-3 years of process refinement, based on learnings from previous launches. Progressive companies collate detailed customer feedback about each product launch, and dedicate efforts toward developing a repeatable framework for product launch success.
CEB Marketing Members: Interested in learning more? Visit the Product Launch Execution Support Center on our website or contact our member services center for a run-through of our product launch support tools.

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