This is Judi Uttal signing back in for my next post for the Technology Marketing Center.
Over the years I have worked on hundreds of launches. Recently, I was asked what makes a launch successful. The answer is to do your homework, make sure that know the answer to some important questions that I call the "must knows" and then execute.
So for your enjoyment, here are what I consider the marketing’s “must-knows” for a successful launch.
- Identify who the customer is. What types of organizations and what roles do they play within that organization?
- Understand what problem you are trying to solve and how your product or service solves that problem.
- Define the “whole product” or additional services required by the customer for a fantastic product experience. (e.g. customer support, integration with other tools, training, documentation, etc.)
- Assess competitive solutions. How are they priced? Why should a customer purchase your product over a competitor? Why might a customer not buy your product over another? Can this gap be addressed?
- Establish a strategy for making prospects aware of your product, and guiding them through the purchase. What collateral is required? What should your website look like? Do you need to offer a free trial?
- Put together a plan on how you will educate your sales channel.
Once you know what you need to know, then you need to decide: what is the objective of this launch? Is it to stem the loss of market share? Is it to create a new category? Is it to attack a competitor and steal share? Is it to distract a competitor? And are the sales programs in place to really execute on the objectives of the air cover you provide with a successful launch?
To really put together a successful launch requires “doing your homework.” You must have some customer exposure to answer many of the above questions. You must really look at the competitive solutions out there. You must test your messaging to make sure that it resonates with the target customer. Finally, business is a team sport. Even if you, as marketing, identify all of the above, if your company does not deliver the “whole product” or you really don’t have a competitive solution, then chances are you will hit a wall.