While a product launch may start with the best intentions and often a strong vision from company leaders, even some of the most thoughtfully executed launches still have room for growth and potentially missed opportunities that may go unnoticed or unrecognized until the product/service has already launched.
In preparing your product for market, or looking for ways to improve upon a past launch, there are four core strategies essential to any launch yet easy to overlook amidst the whirlwind of launch prep. In either case, take a look at these growth opportunities to help forge a path towards a more developed product or service offering, and establish best practices for future product/service launches.
#1 – Assess Team Involvement
One of the bigger oversights a company leader can make in executing a product launch is too narrowly focusing on just one department. An informed launch will involve multiple teams in order to produce a thoroughly vetted product. Coordination and alignment between your operations, sales, marketing and financial teams, as well as any other department that has a stake in your new product/service offering will help strengthen your launch and provide it with the support it needs.
A key consideration for internal collaboration is ensuring that your sales and marketing teams are aligned and operating with the same goals in mind. Both teams are integral in effectively outreaching and communicating with your target audience, which will significantly impact the reach and effectiveness of your launch. Make sure Sales and Marketing are operating from the same pre-determined strategy and brand guidelines. Consistent brand communication, such as messaging and tone, will impact how well your launch audiences remember or recognize your brand, even after the launch has passed.
#2 – Understand Your Competitive Landscape
Introducing a product or service offering into a market where a similar offering exists can hinder meeting the goals you set out for your product launch. Sufficient market and product research should be executed by your teams at the very beginning stages of product ideation to ensure you’re developing a product that has a unique quality that competitors are missing. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t launch a product that already exists in the market space, but you need to think critically about what stands out about your offering or what unique value you bring to the table. Going into an even slightly saturated market space without a standout quality can muffle the impact and reach of your launch from the start.
A B2B competitive assessment will be a helpful tool for your marketing team to conduct prior to building out your launch. A competitive analysis of not only your marketing efforts, but also that of your competitors, will help pinpoint the level of thoroughness your launch will require. Evaluating aspects such as SEO, backlinking, content creation and social influence will help your team understand the extent that they need to address those elements in their launch marketing strategy.
#3 – Connect with Other Business Leaders
While the intimate details of a product or service launch may be something leaders are hesitant to share, many leaders in your space have likely been in your shoes and can contribute their own valuable insight. Pre- or post-product launch are both great times to leverage internal expertise and knowledge, but it’s also an opportunity to reach outside your business and learn from other industry leaders. Even in a competitive market, fellow industry leaders can be a great resource for expertise or guidance when necessary.
You can also turn to general experts in your industry for a different perspective. When assessing the different pieces of your launch, evaluate if you need to look outside of your organization for more information on a particular area or external training. If you don’t have the ideal connections already established with other industry experts and leaders, resources such as LinkedIn or ExpertFile can help generate desirable contacts or leads.
#4 – Adopt a Long-Term View of Your Product Roadmap
Every new product you bring into your company should help contribute to your brand story. Creating a linear and consistent line of products will help your target audience recognize your commitment to your market space and expertise in that area. Your audience is far more likely to trust your product line if your team continues to create products that are committed to your mission as a company.
Your product launch should integrate a much larger view of your company’s goals. Creating a product that can be developed and turned into an expanded or additional line of products will not only be intriguing for your customers but will increase the scope of work and a trajectory in which your internal teams can become invested. If you haven’t considered the longer-term product road map, evaluate how well your product/service offering aligns with your other offerings, and take the opportunity to evaluate if your product considers the “big picture” vision of your company.
This is also why product launches shouldn’t be viewed as a year-long or several month project for your teams. Instead, your product launch roadmap should be ambitious and look beyond the timeline of your initial offering. Questions like, “if we develop and launch this product this year, what can we develop from it the following year?” can be key to creating a growth mindset within your company.
Product Launch Success from the Top Down
There are countless opportunities to make a splash in the B2B space, if you’re willing to recognize and take advantage of them. While your sales, marketing and product development teams will be the primary executors of your company’s product launches, setting launches up for success will be highly dependent on the leadership and guidance of company executives and C-suite members. When applied correctly, these four considerations will ensure you’re leading the charge with a collaborative, scalable mindset that sets your new product (and your company) up for a successful post-launch future.