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9 Ways to Improve Product Launch Success


1. Define Clear Launch Objectives and Don't Deviate From Them

A successful launch requires a definition of launch success. Launch objectives are the measure used to define success.


Defining clear launch objectives creates a center of gravity for the decisions you make throughout launch planning.


When defining launch objectives consider what is achievable with the resources available, and don't try to please everyone.



2. Define Your Ideal Customer

Without customers, there is no business. They are the essence of why we launch products.


Everyone doesn't need or want the product you are launching. Focus on defining ideal customer profiles of the people who have a high motivation to solve the problem you solve.


Document the attributes and behaviors that make an ideal customer ideal. If you have difficulty defining the ideal, list the attributes that define a bad customer and work backward. Rule out the profiles of those you don't want as a customer.


An ideal customer profile drives the identification of market segments, positioning, key messages, marketing collateral, sales tools, and sales team readiness.



3. Document How Customers Buy and What They Value

If you want a successful product launch learn how your customers make a buying decision.


Focus on three things: the Buying Center (who participates in a buying decision), Buying Motivations (why they buy), and Buying Criteria (what they want). These three elements are documented in a Buyer Journey.


A well-documented buyer journey identifies which buyers get involved, in which buying steps, and the information they need to move to the next step in their buying decision.


This insight drives the development of content, sales tools, sales enablement, and marketing campaigns.



4. Identify Market Segments that are Underserved

Some market segments are more competitive than others. Market segments are either over-served, adequately served, or underserved.


An over-served market segment is one where customers have an abundance of options. It's a highly competitive environment.


An adequately served market segment is one where customers have an adequate number of options. It's less competitive than an over-served market segment but still competitive.


An underserved markets segment is one where customers have few options (sometimes no options). This is what you're looking for.


Focus on market segments that are underserved, have the customers you want, and have a high motivation to act.


5. Know Your Competitors Before You Encounter Them

A competitor is an individual or organization that is perceived by customers in a market segment to solve the same problems your product/company solves.


Compare your company and product to those of your competitors, but do it through the lens of what your customers want. Just because a competitor has more features in their product doesn't make them a superior alternative.


Customers choose one product over another for a variety of reasons. Features are one part of that decision calculus, but not the only thing. Sometimes features a minor part in a buying decision.



6. Identify Your Winning Zone

Know how you will compete and win.


The intersection of what you do, what your competitor doesn't do, and what your ideal customers want is the winning zone.


Too many product professionals focus on what their product does relative to a competitor with similar features. What's more important to understand is which of these features matter to customers. Otherwise, you're battling in the losing zone competing feature for feature on things that customers don't value.



7. Define Your Unique Value Proposition (UVP)

Value is defined as relative worth, merit, or importance. And value is perceived.


A value proposition is a promise.


To propose a unique value proposition, you need to first understand value from a potential customer’s point of view.


It’s only of value to your potential customers if they believe it has value. It’s not valuable just because you say so in your marketing materials.


It's also not a unique value proposition if your competitors can make the same promise.



8. Identify Launch Readiness Gaps and Close Them

Launch readiness is the state when a company is prepared to promote, sell, deliver, and support a product.


Identify readiness gaps relative to your launch objectives. Then eradicate any readiness gap that could get in the way.



9. Monitor Launch Performance and Let the Data Guide You

Launch performance metrics provide insight into how well your launch is tracking toward achieving your launch objectives.


There is an infinite number of metrics you could monitor, but you only need a handful of metrics to track launch performance. Tracking too many performance metrics could send you down an unproductive path measuring things that don't matter.


Make adjustments to your launch strategy and tactics when the data is trending in the wrong direction. Don't make adjustments on outliers, guesses, or opinions.




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