OK. It's Friday at 4:45 p.m., and your CEO or VP of Marketing says, “We need to release Product X next month (or even next week).”
Do you panic? Instead of pulling your hair out, implement the following tactics in your next product launch, and you will be successful.
1. Plan your work and work your plan
This is a cliché that definitely works and should be at the top of your list. Whoever is in charge of your launches, whether the Launch Manager or Product Marketing Manager, should be an integral part of your product team. That person needs to understand the product and objectives to be able to help develop effective messaging and positioning so that the product gets into the hands of the right target audience.
While you will have an overall product plan, you need to also have a formal, structured launch plan that includes the actual plan, product launch timeline and product launch checklist.
Deliverables from your launch plan will be in the marketing plan and will include all of the marketing materials and sales tools, marketing programs, PR, advertising and any other activities that you will use to promote your solution. Remember, you will have internal as well as external-based marketing programs. And, in line with this, you should have a budget for these promotional activities included in the launch plan.
It is very important that objectives, milestones, benchmarks and success measurements be realistic and time sensitive, and be set up front. In addition, a mechanism for monitoring and tracking launch progress and execution must also be in place.
The Product Launch Manager is in charge of assembling the cross-functional team and ensuring that the plan is executed within the expected budget and timeframe.