By Angus Robertson, Ahmet Abaci and Beth Somplatsky-Martori
Ready for ignition? If you’ve stuck with us for this entire blog series, it’s all come to this moment: Butterflies be damned and dreams and hopes aside – it’s time to launch our new product into the public consciousness.
We’ve been on quite a journey through our previous blogs. At the outset, we started off with a discussion about fostering a culture of innovation within a company. And then we introduced what we called our “Stage Gate Lite” approach to fostering and accelerating new product and service ideas, leading you through the four gates in the process: Concept development, the business case, product development, and testing methodology.
Now, we stand at the precipice of the most exciting gate of all – the culmination of our new product development efforts. This moment is when you have the opportunity to collect the fruits of your labor – but, if mishandled, it could also deliver the equivalent of brown bananas and rotten apples.
Excelling at this phase is the surefire way to earn the return on your investment – but, if you are a CEO or head of marketing or innovation, there’s a way to look past the rose-colored glasses and spot the onset of trouble so you can snuff it out before it becomes a five-alarm fire.
First, let’s talk about what does NOT constitute a launch: If you’ve put your product in a paper catalog, or stuck it on a Shopify website, you’ve failed to launch. If you had a big sales meeting to discuss the new product – a rollicking good time – with no further discussion, you’ve failed to launch. Even if you’ve started manufacturing product and building inventory – if you haven’t built the structure to gain and maintain a market for the product, you’ve failed to launch.
Even if you’re getting the product TO the place, you may not have launched. For example, if you sell your product on Amazon, but it’s fragile and a lot of consumers are returning damaged goods, Amazon can remove your listing (grounding your rocket ship). Or maybe your sales team moved big hunks of initial inventory – but then, months down the road, you’re hearing crickets instead of repeat orders. Even internally, disagreement over the rules of engagement for your launch – including whether it was a success or failure – could sink your new product.
We’ve seen these mistakes time and again – particularly in manufacturing-driven organizations. As marketers, it’s up to us to educate the organization on what it takes to make a successful product launch.
For us, we feel there are certain absolutes that can define the difference between success and failure. Here are just a few of those factors:
Good luck with your new product journey, and please reach out if we can be of any assistance.
Check out our LinkedIn Live video on innovation:
Full series on innovation: