A product launch is a journey, and yes, it can be a long and tumultuous one. Unfortunately we don’t all have the cult-like following of Apple® as they introduce a new iPhone®. They have the ability to produce a frenzy, expand storefronts, and move users perhaps as well, if not better, than any consumer brand today. But nonetheless, your brand journey through the product life cycle is extremely important to you as a manufacturer and requires cooperation and collaboration with your retail partners to be successful.
Despite enthusiasm about the product or its power-packed features, nothing can compensate for moving logically through the labyrinth of steps necessary to ensure that your product has the best likelihood of success.
To increase your odds, here are five broad groupings to consider.
- Follow a methodology. Seat-of-the-pants strategies seldom work.
- Do your homework. This step is quite often overlooked or rushed.
- Test your assumptions. Remember, this is a journey, and factors change prior to and during your product development pathway.
- Prepare to execute. This requires alignment, coordination, budgeting, and project management.
- Plan for the future. Just because you’re launching a product today, you better know where you’re going tomorrow or you’ll surely end up someplace else. And that someplace else may not be too pleasant.
I am not for a moment suggesting that enthusiasm isn’t going to help the process. However, a disciplined, step-by-step methodology is an absolute requirement. There is no short-cutting this, or leapfrogging vital steps and then only hoping for success. We call that wishful thinking.
The key to successful product launches is to remain enthusiastic about the steps in the process and never lose sight of the goal.