Thinking about how to best launch a product or feature to market can easily become an afterthought. I’ve certainly made the mistake of being so immersed in the execution of an idea that I forgot to think about how to best take a product to market. It doesn’t matter whether your product or feature is consumer facing or aimed at internal customers, I recommend considering the following as part of your go-to-market checklist:
- Positioning statement — Write a positioning statement which explains succinctly who the product is for, what the product does and why it’s different from other products out there.
- Internal announcement — Do an internal announcement of some sorts — e.g. at a staff meeting or via email — to let people know that a new product or feature is coming. This helps to build momentum and excitement as well as get valuable internal feedback in the run-up to launch.
- Success criteria — Agree on the measures of success for your product, both quantitative and qualitative. What does ‘good’ look like post-launch and why? What kind of customer feedback are you hoping to receive once your product is live, which metrics are you expecting to be impacted positively? How do you manage ‘bad’ customer feedback? Upfront alignment on success or failure will also mean that you’ll be able to iterate quickly on your product or messaging if things aren’t heading in the right direction.
- Training and demos — When launching a new product or feature, it’s important that people across the business have seen the product in action and have been trained on how to use it. Think for example about the people in customer support who might get inundated with customer questions once the product has been launched.
- Launch date — Set a date and time for the launch and communicate to both people within and outside of your company. Your colleagues and a select group of customers can both provide you with valuable feedback prior to launch and spread the word. Also, make sure that your launch date doesn’t coincide with national holidays, other planned launches — by your company or a competitor — etc. as you don’t want the announcement of your new product to snow under.
- Promotional content and FAQs — This covers all content and materials that will help explain the product, its benefits, who / what it’s for, and help (target) customers of the product. Drafting FAQs and sharing them internally and a select group of potential customers first, is a great way to make sure you’ve pre-empted any questions or concerns your target audience might have.
- Media planning — As Pawel Lubiarz explains, launching a product without a media plan in place is a considerable risk. You’re only going to launch your product once, so you need to make the most of that occasion. Which digital and print media would you like to help message the launch of your product? Which journalists are likely to report on your product?
- Press release — Draft a press release that captures the key aspects and benefits of your product and share with journalists and media outlets that you’ve identified (see my previous point).
- Test. Test. Test — I know it sounds obvious but even if you think have tested your new product or feature, please make sure you test again in the run-up to a big launch. get people who aren’t as close to your product as you and your team to use the product, and look out for any glitches and gotchas.
- Social media strategy — Create the launch announcement and content to be posted on relevant social channels, and think about appropriate content formats and frequency for the different channels that are relevant to your brand. The content you share on TikTok is likely to differ widely to what you put out via TechCrunch, for example.
- Launch evaluation — How did your product launch go? What did we learn? How we can iterate on our product and marketing our product, based on the initial numbers and customer feedback.
- Reach out to customers — Customer learning doesn’t stop once the product or feature has been launched. Reach out to customers who have bought or used the product, people that left feedback or raised support questions. Consider creating new content to share now that the product is out in the market.
Main learning point: I’m sure that there’s a lot more items that could be added to my go-to-market checklist so please feel free to leave a comment or reach out with any suggestions of things to include!
Related links for further learning: