As a product manager, you want your product to be a success. You do your best to understand what your customers will want, you work with your developers to create the right product development definition, and you train your sales teams to go sell it. However, there’s one more thing that you need to be doing. That’s launching your product. You don’t want to just launch it, you want to stage a grand product launch. Now just exactly how are we going to go about doing that?
Promote Your Launch Extensively And Creatively
A product launch that nobody knows about is not going to do you any good. What this means for you is that you are going to have to create a calendar that you can use in order to make sure that you are reaching out to the right people at the right time. Knowing how to do this correctly is something that can go on your product manager resume.
Your first contacts need to be with the journalists who cover your market segment. Additionally, most publications have a person who is their “calendar editor” who is in charge of what goes into each issue. You’re going to want to reach out to both of these groups about a month before your launch happens.
>Now that we live in the 21st Century, there is a new type of journalist that can help to make your product launch a grand one: bloggers. Because this type of writer works on a more flexible schedule, you can reach out to them a bit later in the process.
Introduce Intrigue Into Your Launch
Everyone likes a mystery. What this means for you is that you are going to want to use your product launch to tease people’s curiosity. This means that when you are talking about your product launch, you are going to want to use words like “free” and “mystery” in order to get their attention.
In order to generate some buzz about your product launch, you are going to want to consider offering some sort of free gift to a limited number of your first customers. Alternatively, you could schedule a mystery guest to attend a product launch celebration. Everyone likes to meet and hang out with someone who is famous even if they are only famous in your product’s niche.
When you are doing a product launch, you’ll create product collateral. Don’t make boring collateral! Instead, take the time and hire the talent that you’ll need in order to make your product’s collateral as intriguing and distinctive as possible.
Hold A Soft Launch
Having done all of the work that a product launch requires, when the big day approaches often times we can only step back and keep our fingers crossed. However, it turns out that there is one more thing that we can do that will boost our chances of having a successful product launch: hold a soft launch.
When you are holding a soft launch for your product, you invite friends, partners, members of the press, and even family members to a run-through that happens a night or two before the big event. This is a great opportunity to practice everything that will need to be done during the real product launch.
At the soft launch, the company’s employees who are helping you with the launch will get a chance to get on-the-job training regarding what they are supposed to be doing (and not doing!). Any glitches in your plans or things that you’ve overlooked will quickly become apparent.
What All Of This Means For You
More often than not, a product manager’s career is determined by how successful our product is. The more success that a product has, the farther in the organization we can go. Since a successful product starts with a successful product launch, we’d better get good at staging a grand product launch. Doing this well should be a part of every product manager job description.
In order to do a product launch the right way, we first need to start things off by promoting the launch. This can involve working with people who are willing to write about our launch at least a month before the launch. Next we need to find ways to introduce some intrigue into the launch so that we can get people interested in what we are doing. Finally, since the launch is so important, we need to hold a soft launch in order to work all of the bugs out.
The good news about launching a product is that it can be easy to do this correctly. However, in order to make sure that we get the biggest bang for our buck, we need to make sure that we know what we are doing. Follow these three tips and your next product launch will be a grand event indeed.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™
Question For You: Do you think that your sales team should be involve in your product’s launch?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
Guess what: we don’t buy music any more. Nope, gone are the days that we’d go out to the store and pay US$15 for the latest album from our favorite artist. iTunes and downloadable music pretty much killed this market. However, it turns out that something brand new has shown up that is killing iTunes and the downloadable music market: Spotify.