In our recent “It’s Launch Time!” webinar, we outlined a proven framework to ensure you have everything covered for a successful product launch. We asked attendees a couple of questions to understand their biggest product launch challenges and what they believe is the most important element of a launch. In this blog, I’d like to look at the answers we got and share a few additional thoughts around them.
Question 1: What are your biggest launch challenges?
Those who attended our webinar will recall that Carolyn Raab, Chief Product Office at Corsa Security, joined us to describe how her company used our Zinc Marketing framework for their recent launches. (And if you missed it, you can watch the on-demand version here.)
Carolyn and the members of our audience who responded had similar answers to the “biggest launch challenges” question: 1) aligning the organization; and 2) securing the necessary budget and resources. Aligning the organization was actually the top concern, with 50% of respondents picking that as the biggest challenge.
It’s not surprising this is a big challenge, as there are always competing priorities at any company. Some may view the launch as paramount while others see it as just one small part of a bigger plan. To be successful, the importance of the launch must be well understood and agreed on across the organization.
Developing an overall strategy and product launch plan is vitally important here. Without a plan, it’s hard to get everyone on the same page since they need to know why the launch is being done, what is happening and when. Quite often the lack of alignment can be easily solved with better communication.
The product launch plan not only helps you solve the alignment challenge but also clarifies the resources and budget you need. It won’t magically find additional money for the launch, but it will help you focus on what really needs to be done. It is also an effective tool to approach senior management for additional investments, if needed.
At first, I was surprised no one picked doing the launch on time as the biggest challenge, because I’ve seen a lot of launches that slipped for a number of reasons. But I realized in most cases the underlying causes of missed deadlines are misalignment and insufficient resources, so our webinar participants were in touch with the root issues. And of course having a plan that brings all the pieces together helps solve deadline issues, too.
Question 2: What is the most important element of your launch?
We asked this question as we were wrapping up — after we presented our framework. I’ll admit I expected a particular answer, and here’s why: I believe marketing and product launches are most effective when you develop a strategy that leverages multiple tactics to reach your audience. You can’t rely on one content format because different buyers have different preferences. And you can’t rely on a single media platform because buyers get their information in many different places.
That’s why our second poll question may have been a bit of a trick question. “All of the above” was what I expected most people to pick — and indeed half the audience did. That said, a number of respondents ranked a few of the other options as key (probably because we asked them to choose the “most” important).
“Finding the right watering holes” ranked second. Building awareness is critical but getting the word out can be challenging — especially if this is the product’s first launch and you’re still trying to fully understand your audience. Again, the solution here is careful planning and a deep understanding of your buyers. Once you launch, you also need to measure and optimize your media program.
I was a little surprised no one chose positioning as the most important element, though certainly it is encompassed by “all of the above.”
In case you missed it…
At least for now, this will be the last post in our product launch series. I’ll be moving on to a new topic over the summer. If you missed them, feel free to check out my previous posts on the launch framework and our checklist for planning, and visit our product launch web page for more on how Zinc Marketing can help.
You can also still watch our “It’s Launch Time!” webinar on demand.
And finally, I’m always looking for your thoughts and feedback so I can make sure this content is valuable and covers relevant topics. Or, if you want to discuss your product launch challenges, please reach out by emailing me.