Getting a new product launch right

Many companies undermine their product launches by making it all about them, rather than the benefits to the customer. One of the biggest giveaways is simply the word ‘launch’. If the news is that the company is launching a product, it’s already taken the focus away from the product.

Whatever the significance of the new product, it’s important to remember what it’s all about. Often a product can be more important than the company launching it (especially with startups), and the launch will put the company on the map. But that’s even more reason to make it about the product. Nobody cares about a company they haven’t heard of.

Another common product launch error is in not considering the effect on existing offerings and existing customers. I’ve been caught before by a company replacing a product I bought regularly with a better-value but more expensive product which I couldn’t justify buying.

Then there’s the timing. Bringing everything together is a tough task, but product launches can be wasted if the availability slips. Look at how brilliantly Apple tends to manage its iPhone launches, with the actual devices actually in the shops a week after the launch, as announced. In the past, launches of many technical products were only aimed at the trade press, which probably had a week or even a month’s turnaround, so enquiries were unlikely to be flooding in as the curtain fell on the launch. Nowadays things are quite different.