5 Steps to Launch a Product

Bringing a product to market can be a challenge. It’s a process in which different elements and stakeholders converge together: product, sales, and customers. This process does not have to be esoteric.

In launching products, the cardinal word is clarity. Clarity cannot be overstated in defining goals, the precise customer to reach, and the individual launch components—and their stakeholders—that support a broader, consistent message.

It’s imperative that you’re clear in defining:

  • The target market
  • Your product’s unique value proposition
  • Metrics to evaluate launch performance

This clarity will serve as an underpinning for every aspect of a launch: pre-launch, launch, and post-launch.

1. Listen | Understand your customers. Use data.

Generating coverage has never been easier: more channels, more viewers, and more effective economics. Getting attention from the right audience, however, is a challenge.

Understanding the market, your product, and the customer will help your message—and product—reach a more targeted segment, and ultimately lead to the conversion of more paying users.

Data helps. Data can help determine the most effective channels, identify if and to what extent the product solves a customer pain point, and examine a specific segment of a market in depth. Use surveys, speak with prospects and customers, whiteboard with product managers and engineers. If possible, see and use your product. PRDs are treasure troves of product knowledge, but experiencing the visceral feeling of materially using the product does help.

Taking a step back and listening to prospects and key stakeholders contributes to the process of answering fundamental questions, ultimately being conducive to greater product-market fit:

  • What’s the larger narrative in the market?
  • How do users already feel about the product?
  • What are the relevant channels and heuristics?
  • What elements of the product are differentiators?
  • What personas are likely to purchase?
  • What’s the total addressable market (TAM)?
  • What is the appropriate price point?
  • What’s the real problem customers are facing?

2. Define | Define positioning and messaging.

Armed with knowledge and data about the right audience and differentiated aspects of your product, you can build out messaging. Messaging is, in essence, the foundation on which much of the launch is built upon. It’s essential but it doesn’t mean it needs to be complex.

Effective messaging is simple, targets a specific persona, and crisply communicates a differentiated solution for a unique problem. There are other elements that can help shape a message: the competitive landscape as well as specific technical product details and limitations. These elements are important but do not have to dilute the core essence of this step’s purpose. It’s simple: define a unique solution to a specific persona’s unmet needs, while being cognizant of your overall brand messaging.

3. Share | Share positioning with your team.

Validate the messaging document with feedback from a gamut of individuals. Listen, absorb, and capture feedback, without the need to justify your message. It’s easy to provide justifications and supporting commentary to a single objector. It’s impossible to do this at scale. Your messaging will have to speak for itself at launch time. Observing unfiltered reactions to your messaging will help in the iterative process of refining your messaging document.

Great messaging doesn’t have to be a secret. Share your positioning and messaging with your broader team, making sure to create internal awareness, understanding, and excitement. This step cannot be overstated—a launch is a team effort. Awareness and understanding of the sub-bullets of a launch strategy will help your peers understand the purpose of a launch, execute on their deliverables on an agreed timeline, and charter new goals and metrics to track.

4. Execute | Support a consistent message with a plan.

In creating and carrying out a plan, two words should underlie this step: clarity and priority.

  • Clarity. Be unequivocally clear in the objectives of this launch: quantitative results that define success post-launch. With the help of your team, define concrete goals and what is needed to achieve them. With a goal in mind, list out every channel, collateral, and respective content stakeholder that can be leveraged to succeed.
  • Priority. Quantifying the importance of a particular channel or collateral helps in driving ROI and enables purpose-driven launches. Priority can serve a dualistic purpose in its relationship with clarity and curtail the extent and number of content items and channels.

    Before creating the various assets needed for a launch—FAQs, sales training materials, web copy—be sure to make every item trackable, measurable, and accountable, with prioritization driving this process. Regardless of the methodology used to rank collateral in order of importance, prioritizing what elements to focus on will allow you to have the greatest impact.

5. Launch | With your team’s support, launch.

Once again, the importance of internal communication is understated. Before launching, ensure your peers and the company is on the same page. With stakeholders ready, content locked, and content delivery mechanisms scheduled, it’s time to launch.

Launch day can feel as a singular, definitive apex of this process. After all, weeks have led up to this day. However, to maintain momentum in coverage, amplify awareness, and adjust dynamically, it makes sense to release media content in waves.

At this point, coverage can lead to observable—measurable—results. By remaining cognizant of feedback and metrics, you can have the tools to benchmark this launch against pre-established goals and define what success looks like for tomorrow.

6 replies on “ 5 Steps to Launch a Product ”
  1. Great article. I think you framed this perfectly by starting and ending the process with listening. I would even go a bit further and say you have to empathize with your customers or listen at both a surface and underlying message level. Too many companies start with the customer, end up missing the mark and don’t adjust their approach based on the feedback they are getting.

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