From Concept to Market: A Step-by-Step Guide to a Seamless Product Launch
Successfully launching something new requires a lot of strategy with timing and market research. You have one chance for a smart product launch. Hopefully, you’ll make an excellent impression on your intended audience.
A product launch is a complicated process not for the weak of heart. Fortunately, you can follow several steps to ensure you don’t miss any crucial elements and give yourself the best chance for success.
Step #1: Brainstorm Ideas
Forbes reports about 95% of new product launches fail. Grocery items often have one of the highest failure rates since many new things don’t make it to the one-year mark. Taking steps to ensure you find success in a sea of disappointment requires strategy and smart moves. It starts with brainstorming what people need and determining how to meet their expectations.
Spend time with the team thinking through the most popular products you already produce. Startup owners can consider what they currently use as consumers. Consider what needs aren’t yet met or how to improve a design and make it more useful.
Once you have a list of ideas, start narrowing them down to a few favorites you think will be marketable and have mass appeal with the intended audience.
Step #2: Conduct Research
Conduct market research to ensure you can make a profit before committing to development meant to move you toward product launch. How much will it likely cost to create the item? How much manpower will the company need to deliver it to customers?
Consider the target market. Is there already a brand with something similar that has an advantage? Send out surveys and find out if there is real interest in what you’d like to offer.
You might even throw up a crowdsource at a site like Kickstarter to see how much interest the idea generates.
Step #3: Study Visual Merchandising Displays
Consider how you can package and present the product online. How does it compare to similar items? Can you make the design pop so it stands out in marketing?
Think about how you can optimize the visual display in a store. Do you need to add your own lighting or use pops of color to draw the eye? Decide whether the item will have a standalone display or be on store shelves amid a sea of other products.
Take note of everything from colors to the shape of product packaging. Think about how the item will stand up on the display without falling over. What happens when someone removes an item? Does the next package fall right into place or is there a sudden gap?
Step #4: Create a Prototype
Once you’ve decided to go forward with the product launch, you’ll want to start with a prototype. Work alongside your manufacturing facility or invest in a three-dimensional printer to create a sample that your team can hold, test and refine to make it the absolute best it can be.
You’ll go through multiple prototypes as you try different ideas to perfect your concept. You might start with one, realize the approach is incorrect and go back to brainstorming.
Before launch, it’s crucial to go back and forth between steps until the item is perfected and ready for the consumer. Your brand reputation may be at stake, especially if this is the first product you’re releasing.
Step #5: Focus on Marketing and Sales
It’s crucial to coordinate marketing and sales departments before release day. Sales must be aware of any ads marketing puts out that might bring an influx of calls or orders. Markets must work alongside representatives to ensure they have the correct information for their campaigns.
These two departments should work together seamlessly, trading information and sharing details. You may even want to hold joint meetings between the two and management to ensure everyone is on the same page and prevent miscommunication on launch day.
Customers should encounter zero problems when they purchase the item. Something may break, or they might have questions. Therefore, everyone they speak with must be on the same page and be able to quickly resolve issues if you hope to grow via word-of-mouth marketing.
Step #6: Test and Retest
Many products fail because they aren’t made very well. Shoddy quality, lack of testing and failure to use to the point of failure all result in something that doesn’t last for the consumer.
Not surprisingly, the result is often poor reviews that hurt future sales and cause a new product launch to flounder and never take off.
Test the product to failure. Gather control groups and have them try it and report on anything that is difficult to use or doesn’t work as intended. Any issues should be fixed before the item is sent to consumers.
Step #7: Engage New Customers
According to a white paper by IDC, 77% of companies feel customer experience (CX) gives them an edge over the competition. Making an amazing product is a given. Ensuring quality control is a matter of testing and being on top of the product’s manufacturing process. However, CX is a bit harder to define.
Excellent CX starts with putting the customer first. Put yourself in their shoes and consider what you’d want to gain by buying the item. Spend time creating personas and getting into the mindset of your typical customer before the product launch.
Ensure Your Product Launch Is Ready
Only you can answer if your product launch is good to go. Follow these steps and don’t try to rush things, ensuring everything works for the buyer. That way, you’ll have a much better chance of growing and succeeding than if you are less attentive to detail. Take your time to see your dream come to life and customers happily using your product.
Eleanor Hecks is the editor of Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.
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