A product launch is an eventful time, with many steps and processes combing to ensure successful planning and execution. With all these moving parts, it can be a challenge to clearly outline every step of the way and make sure it is accessible to all people involved. So, how can you create a product launch timeline and what are the necessary things to include? We discuss what a product launch timeline is, why it’s beneficial to have one and what elements should be included to ensure progress and success.
What is a Product Launch Timeline?
Like any timeline, a product launch timeline is a plan that outlines what needs to be done and by when to guarantee that the project is completed at the goal time. It details tasks, deadlines, team members involved as well as any personalized elements that you would like to include. The timeline is focused on your goal, launching your product. An abundance of product launch details may be included, from sales efforts to marketing and even the engineering of the product
What Are the Benefits of a Product Launch Timeline?
Marketers with a plan and strategy are 313% more likely to report success. Plans with timelines serve as a foundation to achieving launch success and can be used to visualize every step of the way. As we discuss later on, visualization can help make your goals more realistic by illustrating exactly what needs to be done to reach a goal. Having a timeline can also align goals across teams or personnel. Some teams might be working on one activity that can impact the timing of when someone else works or advances that same activity.
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Parts of a Product Launch Timeline
There are an endless number of things that you can include in your product launch timeline. Here, we examine key components that help align your team members and drive your product to its launch.
The overall goal of your product launch timeline is the successful debut of the product itself. But achieving this requires successful execution of the many contributing tasks and activities that lead up to the launch. So, create goals for these activities. For example, let’s say you need to create an email marketing plan for the promotion of the launch. Set a deadline for when the plan is due and a date for when the first emails will be sent out. Give your sales personnel the same ideas. How much outreach will they complete by a certain date? How many times will your leadership share on social media promoting the new product? These can all be achieved by setting incremental, actionable goals throughout the timeline.
Dates and Deadlines
Setting dates and deadlines goes hand in hand with creating actionable goals. Team members must know when an activity that is being worked on is due, whether it’s their responsibility or someone else’s. Including these in your product launch timeline gives everyone involved one universal view. For example, sales team members need to know what marketing is working on in case they need to collaborate with them on something by a certain deadline. These deadlines ensure that the tasks leading up to the product launch are on time.
Visualization can be a great way to see everything that is going on. With deadlines across teams and constant activity and movement, it can add up over time. Regardless of what it is, your timeline should be in some sort of document. Whether it be an Excel spreadsheet, Word document, PDF or template, you need to have something that acts as the one source of truth for all activities that are ongoing or even completed. This way, team members can refer to and update it as they are working to keep on track and on time.
Many activities will often require review by another team member. The review process needs to take place promptly as any bottlenecks can skew the timing and flow of ongoing tasks. Nothing goes as perfectly as planned, so it’s normal for a deadline to be missed here and there, but as reviews are a crucial aspect of the process, these should try to be on time all the time. Including on the timeline when content or plans should be reviewed and how long is expected for reviews is essential.
Data and Metrics
To illustrate what success looks like, determine what metrics you will want to track before, during and after the launch. While there are a variety of options, defining which matter most to your organization helps those involved aim for them. For example, after your product is launched, you could aim to reach a certain number of demos requested after a certain number of days, achieve a target number of visits to a product page, or generate 1000 views of an introduction video.
The formation of a product launch timeline will prove beneficial for your organization and result in a higher probability of success. From outlining deadlines, assigning tasks, and setting goals, it can act as the go-to place for team members to refer to when working on activities. Don’t shortchange this needed step for executing a product launch that will exceed expectations.