You have a new innovative product or service that is different than competitors. Your product development team is jazzed about its customer-serving capabilities, and you are ready to introduce your new product to the market. Have you completed all the seven or more steps in your product development plan, that ends with “launch,” but unsure how to proceed next?
Implementing a new product into the market cannot solely rely on the well-development of the product. Careful launch planning is critical to make sure nothing falls through the cracks as you are on a tight product launch schedule. To be well prepared for a successful launch, you need to have a high understanding of your product’s characteristics and scaling limits to mitigate risks, monitor the market performance, adjust and develop marketing campaigns from customer feedback, and analyze product demand and production capacity. An essential element of success is how your customers perceive and experience your launched product and how you respond to the market reception.
Activate Risk Management
Launch planning includes generating potential outcomes to mitigate potential risks to spare your operations from unfortunate surprises. Having increased product awareness and understanding of its limitations will enable you to be prepared for more than a single course of events and build out mitigation strategies for potential risk scenarios. The product development team should dissect the components and functional stability of the product and measure it to the customer service objectives to evaluate any potential issues.
Risk management also includes mitigation strategies for predicted demand in the development stage. Accuracy of projected demand is more important for short-term resource planning as you have more time to adjust over the long-term. Preparing production for new products run the risk of not having enough capacity for demand or wasting money on idle resources. If resources have a high cost, or they are off-the-shelf solutions there may be scaling limitations to be aware of; if demand exceeds limitations, you should be prepared for product structure changes.
You also must decide where to prioritize risk management efforts by determining the most impactful risk scenarios over the less likely risks and the cost-effectiveness of resources. You should analyze all potential issues, but also determine which will require action and prepared resources. Heightened product knowledge and risk management will increase your capability to make quick adjustments as needed when your product is in the market.
Monitor Performance Metrics
Monitor established metrics to track post-launch progress against financial goals. Assess the percentage of sales, inventory turnover rate, the product adoption rate, conversion rates, and customer reviews. Make sure tracking mechanisms and analytics will support the understanding of your product performance and customer experience to help your organization make necessary adjustments. These metrics should be in place before the launch as well as target numbers, but it may be helpful to reassess your projected goals once you see what is happening in the market.
Monitoring how your product penetrates the market can shed light on market demand, inventory management, production cost in the balance sheet, and appropriate product pricing. Evaluating user experience can also help reveal how the product is being used and if any systematic issues that need to be addressed. It’s important to assess the product’s availability and service goals in the post-launch marketplace to determine adjustments going forward.
Additionally, utilizing customer feedback can indicate how they are reacting to marketing messages. Understanding customer engagement can help funnel back critical information to both product and marketing teams. You can gain customer feedback outside adoption rate through reviews and surveys; just ensure you have metrics to sufficiently measure whether the product is meeting its objectives and customer needs.
Build Up Marketing Assets
Once your product has launched, it is important to test and analyze feedback from your initial go-to-market campaign and continue developing creative marketing strategies to promote your new product. Your product is only as innovative as your marketing; remaining idle with your product release campaign post-launch is a recipe for fizzled out buzz that you worked so hard to generate during development.
To optimize marketing campaigns, focus on the audience, and use feedback to adjust messaging, channels, and strategies. Analyze your marketing KPI’s to see which channels delivered the highest engagement or messaging that resulted in the strongest clickthrough rate. You should begin A/B testing certain variables such as email subject lines to further understand your customer’s decision-making process and improve conversion rate.
Furthermore, the success of your marketing efforts is likely to shift from its initial new product campaign after it has cycled once through in the market. Your new product-driven messaging may appeal to the first, early-adopter customers, but promotional messaging may need to adjust to convince your late-adopting customers who may have less prior product knowledge to buy your product. With time in the market, you should also begin to build post-launch customer-driven marketing materials such as testimonials or case studies.
Lastly, you should ensure your marketing approach includes a customer retention strategy. If your product shows/reveals a low product adoption rate, it’s important to be prepared to kick in retention activities to win back your customers.
Analyze Demand and Capacity Requirements
Once a new product is launched, you must be responsive to its market reception and determine flexibility in operations management. Your team should use your performance metrics to determine market demand for your current capacity. If your product is successful, you should assess your current production cost to revenues and explore how you may be able to improve long-term margins. If you can take advantage of economies of scale, you might improve the production process by decreasing the cost and time resulting in higher inventory rates and increased capacity to meet demand. Then, depending on the nature of your product, you might also consider price adjustments by decreasing your market price and increasing your sale volume.
If demand is increasing above your capacity to obtain production resources and stock necessary supply, you can evaluate either the infrastructure of your product for changes or appraise working capital. Within working capital management from already existing operations, you may determine a business operations activity that can be optimized and squeezed for more cash flow. If your newly launched product is in demand and projects stable demand, you may want to invest in its growth with a business loan. If your capacity is outweighed by the market, you would want to increase production capabilities with financing before you compromise on quality or miss out on sales sending disappointed clients to your competitors.
As long as you monitor your new product as it hits the market, you will instantly gain feedback to traject into dynamically changing operations management. Product lunches are most successful if there is a post-launch plan containing risk management, performance metrics, customer-focused marketing campaigns, and flexible capacity. Implementing a successful new product is a critical step in the right direction of business change, growth, and profitability.