Product Launch Plan

I am gearing up for two product launches- one for my job and one for a business I'm starting!  I thought it would be fun to share some resources that I've found, and give some advice on the process.

Product managers need to work with all of the business stakeholders to make sure the product launch is successful.  Marketing needs to buy-in to the plan you're making, sales needs to know the specifications of the product, customer care needs to know how to support the product, tech has to be aware of any bugs or customer impact there might be and finance needs to know how to charge for the product.  There could be some departments I'm leaving out here, but for now let's start with those.  Influence without authority is key here, but that's a topic for another post!

There are three phases of product launch, and I think different events need to happen during those times.  Here's my outline:
  • PreLaunch
    • Complete product and training guides for reference (internal and external versions if necessary)
    • Train the sales/customer care team
    • Identify major bugs and workarounds (if necessary)
    • Decide if you're going to release beta (I strongly recommend this)
    • Identify any launch materials for Marketing - get the word out
    • Notify large customers if they're going to see an impact (you may want to use them for testing)
    • Plan your product launch event, if this is something you should even do (launch at a big conference if the time is right!)
    • Notify customers of the timeline for product launch, if necessary
    • Work with marketing on any collateral that needs to be created
    • Identify your metrics for success
  • Launch
    • Notify customers (yes, again)
    • Inform any media outlets associated with your product - bloggers, press release, etc. (marketing should drive this)
    • Carefully monitor the release to ensure there aren't any large issues (be prepared to roll back if necessary)

  • PostLaunch
    • The feedback loop doesn't stop after launch!  Continue to monitor feedback
Now, I know this doesn't encompass all of the things you need for a product launch - but it's a start.  What are some of the things that you'd add?  I'd be interested to get your feedback!  It seems my list is heavy on the pre-launch activity, mainly because that's where I'm focused right now.  Any additions!?


A few helpful resources:

4 comments:

  1. Other hints:
    Create a gantt chart. Start at the desired launch date and work backwards.
    Don't train sales more than 3 weeks prior to launch.
    Pending on the industry, get a PR out and to the relevant trade rags.
    Re-train sales at launch + 3 weeks. Trust me on this.

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    1. Great suggestion! I think I'm going to do a post about gantt charts - would be really useful.

      I agree - retraining sales post launch is key, need to find out what they missed.

      As always, thanks for posting!

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  2. You can always extend the launch list but you may end up with a list so long you can never be ready to launch. You need to focus on what's important and that should come from the launch goals. Not sure if you have them on the list.

    How many units do you plan to sell in 3, 6, 12 months?
    How many units will you sell through existing and new customers?
    What's your strategy? Take share of wallet of existing customers or take market share from competitors?

    Goals will also enable you to measure success and adapt if necessary.

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    1. Hi Marko - Thanks for posing!
      I agree that making a long list might make it seem like you'll never be ready to launch.
      I like you're suggestion about adding the metrics for success - and defining the overall strategy for the release. Goals are extremely important!

      I feel another post coming on...

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