Sales & Marketing Tech

How To Launch a Product in 7 Steps

By | 12 min read | Published

Follow this guide to welcome your new product into the world with a bang.

You’ve come up with a million dollar idea for a successful product, your teams are hard at work bringing it to reality, and now you’re ready to launch and rake in the sales, right? Well, maybe.

Launching a new product to the market is a serious proposition, and mapping it out well ahead of time will not only lead to more success—it’s just necessary—especially as a small business with limited resources. For a larger organization, this new offering may just be the next in a long line, but for you it could be a make or break proposition.

Concerned? It’s good to be wary, but don’t worry. To avoid pitfalls like going over budget, including the wrong stakeholders in the planning process, or even missing your launch date, lean on the essential steps below and you’re sure to be successful. You may even discover some opportunities along the way that you hadn’t considered before.

If you’re releasing a new product and have a few question marks on the path to a successful launch, we’re here to help pave the way. Today we’ll cover the components of a successful launch, walk through seven steps to help get you there, and share some tips to consider as you plan.

Already have a solid grasp on the components of a successful product launch? Skip below to check out the 7-step guide.

Components of a successful product launch

Aside from a winning idea, there are a few things to think about as you devise your launch plan. For starters, you’ll want to know as much about your target audience as possible, think critically to position your product competitively within the existing market, and create as much fanfare as you can around your launch activities.

Merely putting these things on paper is one thing, but thinking about them strategically is where you’ll see an outsized impact. Before we dive into the step-by-step process, let’s outline the product launch strategy components you’ll want to consider ahead of time.

1. Knowing your customer

The most important aspect to consider aside from the actual product itself is who you’ll be selling it to. This is key because a well-defined audience means more thoughtful marketing. The more thoughtful and personalized your marketing is, the better chance you have of reaching your initial sales goals.

2. Positioning your product

When positioning your product in the market, it’s equally important to consider the existing features you hope to emulate and the ways in which you’ll innovate to differentiate yourself. If you can do things people already expect well while also offering new features, you’ll be able to stand out from the competition and have a better chance at winning new customers.

3. Going to market strategically

This means planning details like the launch date, what type of digital marketing campaigns you’ll run, on what platforms, and how long they will last. It can also include things like planning your budget or outlining potential supply chain challenges. It’s also crucial to have your marketing team, sales team, and product team all in lockstep regarding your launch goals and strategy.

4. Promoting your new product

If you’ve done all the work up front to create a successful launch plan, you need to make sure to see it through with proper promotion. This includes email marketing, content marketing, social promotion, and any other type of organic or paid messaging you may want around your launch. After all, people need to know your product exists and learn about its benefits in order to buy it.

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7 Steps to conduct a successful product launch of your own

Now that you’re aware of the main aspects to consider before you launch a product, let’s walk through the process step by step. If you follow this procedure, you’ll already be set up for success well ahead of the release date.

1. Determine who you’re marketing to

There’s something special about seeing a product or service and thinking, “Wow this sounds like just what I need.” By conducting market research to understand buyer behavior and personalize your marketing to closely align with your target audience, you stand a much better chance of evoking that feeling.

Action item

Develop a clear buyer persona and have it in mind when you develop your product and (later) create your promotional materials. An easy way to start with this is interviewing existing customers. Even just five to 10 people can give you a good idea of what your target market is looking for.

Focus on questions around what they’d like a product like yours to do, where their pain points are for existing options, and especially perk up when they say phrases like, “I wish…” or “Why can’t [product] do X?”

These customer-driven pearls of wisdom are invaluable because they come straight from the source. There are few better ways to position your product for success than directly addressing the needs of your target customer.

As a bonus tip, leveraging customer journey mapping tools can help you gain advanced insights on your audience with features like heatmaps to show website engagement and funnel mapping tools to analyze your customers’ path on the journey from awareness of your brand to conversion.

2. Position your product

Speaking of positioning your product, the next step is to determine where your new idea fits within the existing landscape. This includes finding ways to differentiate yourself and identifying key features to replicate or improve upon.

You likely already have an idea of what your competitors are doing, but if not, take the time to search the internet to identify anyone offering a product like yours to see what they are advertising around it, what features they promote heavily, and any gaps you can identify in their functionality. This will help you determine where to focus your marketing efforts.

For example, if you’re launching a new phone case and the main issue you saw in reviews for competitor options was ergonomics, you may want to consider focusing your messaging on the sleekness and pocketability of your design.

Action item

Identify all the major competition in your market and make a list of the things they do well and the things they struggle with. Use this list to guide your product development and marketing processes, but also strive to be realistic in your expectations. You may not be able to go back to the drawing board to redesign your product, but you can focus your marketing efforts on highlighting areas where you shine and others fall short.

3. Devise a go-to-market strategy

Now that you’re familiar with who you’re trying to reach and the niche your product will fill in the market, it’s time to get strategic about the execution of your actual launch activities. Work to create a product roadmap that includes things like where the product will be sold, the price point, where and how you’ll be promoting the launch, and how much budget you have to work with to accomplish it all.

Action item

Ask yourself questions like:

  • Where will we sell our product? A website, in-store, or both?
  • How will the product be distributed? Teams within our organization or a third party?
  • Where can our audience be found online and what digital marketing channels do we want to activate on?
  • How much budget do we have for the launch window? Should we focus primarily on organic efforts? Where is the budget we do have best spent?
  • What type of content do we need to produce for a successful launch? Static assets, video, social graphics?

Thinking critically about the above will better prepare you to take advantage of opportunities and avoid pitfalls throughout the launch process. You may be able to discover gaps in your plan ahead of time or identify roadblocks that can be addressed before they become a problem. Once you have some ideas, it’s time to gather key stakeholders to solidify your proposed marketing strategy into a finalized plan of action.

4. Get feedback from key stakeholders

After you’ve spent some time getting to know your audience, discovered where your product fits in the market, and planned your launch activities strategically, you’re ready to seek buy-in from the key stakeholders in your organization. This can include everyone from the product and marketing team to your sales team, social, public relations, and leadership.

The goal here is to get everyone on the same page about what you’re trying to accomplish for a new product launch and how you’re going about it. After all, you don’t want any surprises when you’re ready to kick off the launch, especially in areas like your marketing budget or executive expectations around the overall scope.

Action item

Schedule a product launch planning meeting that begins a series of core team meetings leading up to launch. A core team meeting is a periodic meeting where everyone involved in the project gets together to discuss key touchpoints and action items for launch. Ensure you have someone managing this product launch checklist to move things along and keep these action items straight in a data management system or with project planning software.

5. Set SMART goals ahead of launch

Another essential thing to consider during the planning process and your core team meetings are your goals for the product launch. Make sure whatever you choose is SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Being as specific as possible will not only help you plan your launch activities more strategically, it will also aid you in tracking the success of them.

Action item

Develop a list of SMART goals for your product launch using the descriptions above as guidance. Example goals include:

  • X number of units sold within Y months
  • X number of email click-throughs to your product page from launch content
  • X number of click-throughs to your product page from social media content
  • X number of customer reviews gained from initial sales within Y months

6. Create necessary promotional materials

Having SMART goals laid out along with a clear strategy of where you’ll deploy launch content leads us to our second to last step: creating that content! By now you should have a good idea of what digital marketing platforms you’ll focus on for your launch’s marketing efforts, so take the time to ensure you’re executing on the creation of these on time and getting them to the right teams for deployment. During the core team meetings you’ve been conducting, marketing and creative teams will feature heavily for this step.

Action item

Along with your marketing and creative teammates, brainstorm and decide on the types of assets—static social media ads, website banner ads, videos, etc.—that you’ll deploy, and track the progress of their ideation and creation. You can do this in either a data management system or with project management software. Don’t feel the need to go overboard, but do strive for variety in what you’re creating so your launch content doesn’t get stale too quickly.

7. Prepare to launch! (and track the results)

The time is nigh. Planning has concluded, your product is ready to ship, and you have your launch promotions at the ready. The final step in the process is to enact everything you’ve been working on to observe the results and track your progress against the goals you set up. For this step, the most important thing is making sure the appropriate teams and/or personnel have everything they need to be successful on launch day.

Action item

Ensure that visual assets, public-facing messaging, and the timing of your launch activities are well understood by the relevant teams within your organization to avoid hiccups. Consider creating a living document with your schedule of launch activities and contact info for key stakeholders. Having a point of contact readily available will help solve potential issues as they arise.

The planning process is complete, but the journey has only just begun

Congratulations on what’s now sure to be a home run of a product launch! Having completed the above steps, you’re poised to achieve outstanding results for this launch and many more to come.

Thinking strategically from the outset to accomplish things like properly planning your budget, including the right stakeholders, and hitting crucial milestones like your ideal launch date is a surefire way to increase your chances of success.

If you’re eager to learn more about marketing trends in 2022, visit the Sales & Marketing Tech section of the Capterra blog to discover a wealth of articles like the ones below that will help take your small business to the next level.


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About the Author

Gary Froniewski

Gary Froniewski

Content Writer at Capterra, sharing insights about digital marketing trends and best practices for small businesses. B.S. in Communication Studies from The University of Texas. Austin transplant by way of Fort Worth, Texas who loves food experiences, playing tennis, and seeing new places.

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