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Product Launch I Detailed planning, internal communications and execution across a diversified team

Product Launch
 "People are in such a hurry to launch their product or business that they seldom look at marketing from a bird's eye view and they don't create a systematic plan." --David Ramsey

Product Launch is a process to build sale momentum.  One could consider a project launch as similar to a Broadway play, with the theme as the story and the launch being the actors, stage and script.

A successful product launch requires detailed planning, internal communications and execution across a team comprised of people from broad disciplines and personnalities.  The product launch has an understandable theme/story and a detailed plan/script to insure success.   Here, we address the planning, launch and follow-up.    

• Initial Planning
• Prelaunch Activities
• Sales Channel Readiness
• Launch
• Post Launch Follow-Up

Initial Planning
Initial planning should begin during the development process, or at least 3-6 months prior to product launch and address product launch objectives, metrics used to measure success in achieving objectives and the theme of the positioning statement for communicating.  Product launch team building and buy-in is paramount.

• Prelaunch Activities
Prelaunch activities are conducted to build excitement and create demand for your product before it is generally available and should start 3-4 months prior to launch.  Prelaunch activities include:

 * Develop a marketing calendar/roadmap
 * Define/update the Style Guide
 * Final price & delivery
* Inform creative & content personnel of calendar/schedule
* Develop sales training material and product collateral

Product Brochure
Product Data Sheets
Application Notes
Operating Manual
Engineering white paper
PowerPoint presentation (sales tool)
Demo units

* Update launch team on events, activities, timing and responsibilities
* Define "Buzz" strategies and initial material.  An element of secrecy and rumor perhaps?

* Involve key customers
Get the sales team onboard early
* Involve Industry Analysts/Editors

•  Sales Channel Readiness
The sales channel personnel are the face your customers see on a regular basis.  Your success depends on them.  Yes, train them and give them the material they will need to sell the product, but get them enthusiastic and motivated.  Sales readiness should be 1 month before launch, activities include:

* Communicate a plan for providing ongoing Sales support
* Train sales team and provide product collateral
* Make demo units available

Product launch is the stage of the process where all your planning, preparation and hard work comes together, similar to the opening performance of a Broadway play.  Enjoy the initial excitement of the curtain, often at an industry trade show.  Now step back, observe the total presentation, content and timing.  Is everything going as planned?  If not, make the necessary adjustments.  Like a Broadway play, this is just the opening and the ultimate critics are your customers.

Post Launch Follow-Up
Post launch is a critical review of performance versus expectations and the reason you established metrics and objectives in initial planning. Follow-up should be held 3-6 months after launch.
     * Compare the actual metrics to those initially planned.
     * Talk to your customers and sales people and get their feedback.
     * Ask yourself what would you do differently.

Meyers-Associates defines, plans, organizes and manages various complexities of project launches.   We have successfully launched dozens of products and are recognized as an industry leader in product launch programs.