When coming up with a new product idea, most organizations spend vast amounts of time and money on research and development, with the hopes their new product will be embraced by the market. But R&D is only half the battle.
The truth is, an effective product launch event will drastically increase the likelihood that your new product or service will succeed. Product launches are, without question, one of the most critical corporate events a company can plan.
But get this…
95% of product launches fail. 95%! That’s a startling statistic.
Product Launch Events: 5 Mistakes to Avoid
How do you make sure you can be in the 5% of product launches that actually succeed? By avoiding the following 5 product launch mistakes:
Mistake #1: Not Understanding Your Audience
Customer development is not just a catchphrase – or at least, it shouldn’t be. All successful product launches start with a deep understanding of who it is exactly you’re trying to get in front of.
Fix: You’ll need to spend a bit of time conducting some research and talking to your current customers. But the key is to focus on real pain points your customers share with you. Many will request specific features they wish your product or service had. But that’s not what you’re after – you want to understand exactly what problem you are solving for them.
Also, customer development will not require you to speak with hundreds of customers. Typically, interviewing a small sampling of roughly 15-20 customers will reveal the pain points you’d hear from a larger sample size.
Mistake #2: Not Developing a Positioning Statement for Your Product Launch Event
Product launches are successful when the event planners and C-level execs can answer three questions: Who is your product for? What exactly does your product do? Why is your product different than what’s already in the market?
Fix: Work with your internal teams to get your statement together. Again, don’t focus on product features, instead, think about the kind of superpowers your product offers users.
Mistake #3: Not Getting Buy-In from Employees
One of the biggest reasons product launches fail is because there is a lack of internal communication. When employees are not fully briefed on the benefits of the new product, and there is no real training of staff about new product features… and when no effort has been put into creating a buzz around the product, how can the launch possibly be a success?
Fix: If you’re going to spend thousands of dollars on R&D, you also need to spend a bit of time and money on training staff and ensuring everyone is on the same page. But don’t make the common mistake of sending out a lengthy email to your sales and support staff. Your employees are busy, and no one has the time to read a long email listing product features.
Instead, spend time building up a few key internal product advocates. These advocates can then work within their own teams to build buzz and excitement.
Mistake #4: Not Having a Robust Launch Day Plan
Many event planners go about developing their product launch plans all wrong. They focus on impressing customers and prospects with product features. They go for bling instead of substance.
Fix: When developing your launch plan, focus instead on a specific goal. What is the goal of your product launch? Is it to gain 500 new customers? Cross-sell a new product to 300 main accounts?
Whatever goal you choose, work backwards from there. So if you want to attract 500 new customers, what specifically do you have to do to get there? If you want to cross-sell your new product to 300 of your main accounts, how many of them will you need to reach out to?
Once you’ve decided on your goal, spend some time with your team to brainstorm different ways you can hit this goal, then take a vote on the top three ways everyone thinks will be most effective at reaching the goal.
Mistake #5: Not Seeding the Market First
It’s important to create buzz with your internal teams, and it’s equally important to create buzz within the market itself. Product launches often fail because no one took the time to seed the market first and get everyone talking about the launch.
Fix: Get out there and talk to people about what it is you’re getting ready to launch. People should be thinking about your product before launch day. If you don’t want to share specifics, you can take a thought leadership approach and talk about things like best practices and trends related to your product.
Final Thoughts on Product Launch Events
As we mentioned earlier, product launches are, by far, one of the most important events an organization will plan. They are also one of the events that are most likely to fail. But the good news is, if you avoid the 5 mistakes we’ve just outlined, you stand an excellent chance of having your product launch be a raving success.
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