Product Launch Strategy

5 min read
Feb 6, 2024 9:07:34 AM

Setting the Stage for a Product Launch Strategy

I love the excitement and possibilities inherent in launching a new product. Yet, as the reality of the challenge, investment required, and risks become apparent, that initial buzz can fade. Embracing a structured approach really helps. It’s a great way to navigate the natural ebb and flow that comes with managing a product launch.

More often than not, it’ll be a long journey. So, a thoughtful, pragmatic strategy will keep things positive and on track. It calls for a blend of intuition and insight, and a generous dose of grit. This needs to be underpinned with meticulous planning, deep consumer understanding, and a flair for engaging storytelling.

So where to start? Well, whilst the scale of a product launch may vary, the principles are pretty consistent. The product idea must offer a compelling consumer insight and realistic reasons why it’ll be purchased.

Whilst working entrepreneurially, I focused on getting to a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) which could then be launched and iterated over time. The need and story were neatly interwoven and used to engage trade buyers, and other key stakeholders, by combining category truths and a passion for the idea with a compelling rationale to secure support for launch.

Generating initial sales momentum was often the hardest part. Even with the best category features and distinctive branding, we had to graft to grab consumers’ attention, monitoring what worked and doing more of it, and switching things up if it failed to get the response we were looking for.

Perhaps the most important lesson to learn is that what seems like an overnight success, starting with a product launch, is often years in the making.

With that in mind, here’s a summary
of steps that can help:

1. Cater to unmet needs

Begin with zeroing in on those unmet consumer needs. This involves gathering as much information as possible to paint a full picture, spot where the real opportunities lie, and identify the specific gaps the product can uniquely address.

It’s crucial to bear in mind that whilst a product’s features are important, we’re really aiming to deeply connect with what consumers want and need. Finding a way to uniquely meet their expectations.

2. Develop with the need in mind

Turning insights into something tangible is the crux of product development. It’s a journey; taking the spark of inspiration and shaping it into a product that truly addresses the consumer problems or opportunities that have been identified.

But this process isn’t a straight line; it’s multifaceted, covering everything from initial development to rigorous testing and fine-tuning. Finding the sweet spot – the right level of MVP – is key. And that’s where consumer feedback is crucial. It provides a guide to reaching the optimal point where the product is viable. So listening to what consumers are saying helps to strike the perfect balance.

3. Craft the story

At the heart of every product lies its narrative, its ‘red thread’. This story should be expertly woven through every brand touchpoint, not only to highlight the product’s features but to vividly showcase its impact on the consumer’s life. The narrative is more than just text on a page, it needs to resonate deeply and be woven into everything the brand does. This helps craft an experience that’s both memorable and salient.

The ultimate aim? To achieve a level of fame where the brand isn’t just recognised but revered, influencing public opinion, and leaving a lasting imprint on culture. But that’s something for another day.

4. Engage stakeholders

Engaging the right people at the right moment is crucial. This includes colleagues, influencers, bloggers, journalists, and even retail staff.

Consider how to connect with them. Early on, use interviews and development sessions. Closer to launch offer exclusive previews, launch events, or specially crafted experiences to make them feel connected to the product’s narrative. Their involvement is pivotal in securing distribution channels and sparking interest in the product’s message.

By transforming them into active contributors to the product’s journey, you’re not just building momentum; you’re creating a network of advocates.

5. Optimise the marketing mix

Segment sensibly to identify a priority audience, ideally using data-driven insights. Then prioritise securing distribution to make the right products available in places where this audience shop, at a price point that reflects good value.

Support sales with a promotional plan to make the brand easy to think of in the buying moment.

This targeted approach helps ensure initial efforts are directed towards those who are most receptive. It builds awareness, credibility, and momentum at a scale that is realistic and manageable.

6. Launch with impact

Here’s where it all comes together. Whether it unfolds in a virtual or physical space, the launch is a critical moment for creating a memorable first impression. It’s an opportunity to vividly present the product’s story and its distinct value proposition.

Strive to offer an immersive experience that leaves a lasting impression on your audience. But remember; this is just the start point for growing a brand.

7. Sustain momentum

The real journey unfolds post-launch. From this point, continuous engagement is essential to sustain momentum and keep reaching more people. It may feel like an uphill battle, but maintaining consistency is crucial to making the product easy to think of and easy to buy.

Reflecting on the history of brand launches, a common pitfall for many is exiting the market prematurely due to underwhelming results or dwindling interest. The focus should be on nurturing the launch’s initial success, ensuring it grows and establishes a lasting presence in the market.

8. Track performance

Understanding the goal of launching a product is vital. Is it to rejuvenate the brand, attract a new audience, or enter a new category or segment? Knowing this helps avoid the trap of exiting the market too early because of unmet, unrealistic expectations.

It’s also important to establish post-launch metrics. They should encompass short-term performance, for example immediate sales and market share, as well as the longer-term impact on creating demand and brand equity. Use data effectively to gauge performance against your expectations and remain flexible to adapt based on tangible market feedback.

Having a balanced view of both immediate and long-term outcomes will guide more informed and sustainable decisions.


In summary

A product launch blends intuition and insight: from a well-researched strategy to crafting a captivating story and engaging key stakeholders, designing a dynamic marketing mix, and delivering a memorable launch. Crucially, the journey continues with sustained post-launch engagement and agile adaptations to feedback.

This blend brings to life products grounded in untapped market demand that consumers will connect with deeply, brought to market in a meaningful and consistent way, setting them up for lasting success.


About the author

Simon Green is a seasoned marketing strategist with over 20 years of experience in product development, brand management and commercial leadership. Simon has worked in leading CPG organisations and entrepreneurially to successfully bring products to market, blending consumer insights with compelling storytelling. His breadth of experience and relatable expertise supports clients develop and deliver brand growth.   


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