New Product or Service Pre-Launch Checklist

Prior to taking the product or service to market, a number of pre-launch steps should be maximize your upside potential while minimizing downside risk. Below, review a checklist of some of them (note: we are quite skilled at doing all of this kind of work at a very high level of quality, and/or helping you do all of this right. Doing it very right is key at making as much revenue & profit as possible):

  • The product or service should be fully fleshed out as a clear way to fill a predetermined market want or need. It should reflect buyer input (because you have formally listened to many prospective customers to help shape it) and competitive analysis (because you've thoroughly reviewed competitor offerings to incorporate anything that might woo buyers away from your offering). It should include a few unique innovations all your own built upon the foundations of objective learnings culled from deep customer & competitor analysis. In short, the product or service should be best-in-class wow... THE obvious choice for any buyer wanting something like it. Lastly, the product should be ready for delivery to customers, meaning packaging and any supporting elements should be in place as well. If it's still mostly just an idea in your head, you need to take steps to turn a dream into reality (and/or engage us to help you do that).
  • The product or service should be objectively tested with a small group of customers to be sure you got it right. Use this as a last chance to fix any outstanding issues prior to going to market in a big way. Massive global companies (the biggest names you know) with the resources to launch a big flop and not really feel much pain still rely on test marketing as a way to minimize downside risk. It's a simple, effective tool used by smart marketing teams. Along with the obvious benefit of mitigating expensive flops, this is a great way to solicit real testimonials to help sell the product or service and gather any objections or customer issues to proactively prepare your sales & service teams for similar interactions.
  • You should have a target market for the product or service clearly defined in writing including specific details (beyond just a few demographics) that help distinguish a likely buyer from everyone else. If a good job has been done here, you should have leveraged this definition to nail down the most cost-efficient sources of relevant prospects so that your marketing spend can be lean... but very effective. These will likely be your very first buyers so it is vitally important to get this right.
  • A website or an area of your business website should be fully developed to showcase the quality of the product in a highly polished way. This is where the investments made in the prior bullets are presented to the world… where you showcase the "best-of" and "on-target" benefits of your product so that it stands out from the crowd. In many cases this is the generic focal point where you might ask for the sale. Be sure your Ecommerce functionality is fully refined and ready to sell your product in intuitive ways. If a prospect doesn't decide to buy today you should also have other embedded hooks in this content to try to capture their contact information, transforming each visitor from unknown prospect into another hot (known) lead (that you can efficiently promote in the future to try to bring them around).
  • All customer touch-points should be thoroughly briefed on the product. Sales teams should be fully equipped with everything they need to motivate interested prospects to buy now. Service teams should be fully equipped with everything they need to make new customers happy with the purchase. Etc.
  • A written launch marketing plan should lay out exactly how the product or service will go to market, the exact costs involved, tactics to be used, etc. This is the written guide you approve and back to pursue all initial sales. Again, it should lean on the above to balance the drive for maximum revenues with always-constrained budgetary limitations. The best marketing plan is the one that delivers big with cost-efficient spend. It's a simple formula for maximizing marketing ROI.
  • All of the supporting marketing & sales creative should be complete, polished and approved for use. The marketing plan uses this creative to proactively showcase the product to the target market(s). This creative is generally asking strangers to open their wallets. It needs to be GREAT! Rushed, cheap or poorly conceived creative can undermine even the finest product or service launch. Get it right. Do it well. It is the "sizzle" and not the steak.
  • Etc. (there are a number of others)

Big Innovations experts can help you narrowly target the market(s) for your new product or service- a major key to a successful launchEvery one of these should reflect dazzling design and attention to detail. For example, if you put next to nothing into your website promotional content or your launch marketing creative, you waste an opportunity to obviously demonstrate that you- as seller- see great value in the product or service. If you show a prospect that you don't care enough to showcase your product or service in impressive ways, why should the buyer perceive it has much value? Perceived value is a major contributing catalyst for maximizing revenues. Each buyers needs to believe that YOU believe.

A great product launch is rarely a "build a better mousetrap" proposition. The world is not likely to beat a path to your door. You have to proactively seek out a (narrowly) targeted market and impress them into choosing your product or service over competitive offerings. Does the quality of the mousetrap matter? Absolutely, but much more so in keeping the sale. The point is that the entrepreneur wanting to take his or her baby to market should not short-change any part of the process. Every part matters. Done well, great revenues & profits can result. Short-changing generally yields the opposite.

A good product or service launch plan is a blend of art & science. The "art" of marketing is made up of a mixture of instinct, guts, creativity, intuition and luck. The "science" is fact-based, quantitative, almost always results/metrics-driven, with concepts strongly supported by thorough customer & competitive analysis. Neither in isolation is THE way to go. A great blend of both gets products launched as effectively as possible which is how you maximize your cash ROIs from the product launch. When seeking some expertise to help you take your product to market, beware of going with any source that doesn't exhibit a solid blend of both.

Marketing Artists Lean Heavily on Emotion, Pizazz, Design, Etc.

Some marketers rely almost solely on the art side which allows for quick turnaround and maximum agility. However, the impact of the art-centric marketer is often heavily dependent on luck. It tends to yield expensive flops with only occasional hits because the artist doesn't put much into the grunt work of the marketing scientist. Since the science has not been done the explanation of why tactics did not work are also gut-based opinions. Usually, the marketing artist will simply lean on an early hit (if they get one) to mask what is likely to be many other project failures. The whole marketing effort is shrouded in smoke because objective measures answering why do not exist. To work with this kind of marketing partner requires extraordinary trust & faith by the client or employer. And unfortunately, that employer must simply keep trusting that the marketer knows best throughout the relationship (because everything is unquantifiable opinion).

The marketing artist typically wins clients on glitz- portfolios of impressive promotional art for former clients. They usually encourage big splash approaches. Often they can NOT quantify how the examples in the portfolio actually performed for their clients because their focus is about how great their work looks NOT what it actually accomplished. We believe that this kind of marketer is either lazy or they give in to pressure of short-term thinking or the drive for shortest-term results. They believe that they can sacrifice proven risk-reducing approaches to get something out there and then simply hope for the best. Pressure motivates this kind of marketer to take short-cuts which will occasionally work out but more often lead to disappointments.

Nevertheless, the artists play a crucial role in a successful product launch. You have to capitalize on the positive variables of what they can contribute. All great launches require an impressive presentation of marketing creative, website creative and so on. For example, many buyers of a new car are often grabbed by how the metal skin is shaped and the color of the paint job- both of which probably account for less than 8% of the total cost. Some artist came up with the shape & color and that won the dealer enough prospect interest to motivate a chance to sell customers the whole car.

BI has wow artist talent in our network offering impressive services to be tapped when we need to dazzle prospective buyers of your product or service. We can connect you directly to them or manage them on your behalf.

Marketing Scientists Lean Heavily on Quantifiable Research, Hard Evidence, Etc.

Marketing scientists are more quantitatively driven in their approach. The science proves the validity of marketing ideas. Science-oriented marketers strive to support everything with quantitative facts & metrics. They reduce the artists "have faith" requirement for their clients by backing up the ideas with hard evidence that supports new concepts. This obviously requires more work and thus takes more time but it helps the client gain greater peace of mind in each new thrust and facilitates an objective way to measure the effectiveness of every marketing effort. In short, the marketing scientist recommends the discipline to do the research to uncover the way forward, then tests small before rolling out on a larger scale to mitigate any lingering doubts.

The downside to the science approach for small companies is that it takes time. The small company tends to operate in a time frame of now- today- or sometimes a few days into the future. The work involved in the science approach involves time frames measured in weeks and months. Some of the science is ongoing for years. For example, competitive analysis should never stop; keeping up with the competition is an ongoing discipline at all the truly great companies.

An impatient small company making demands for speed over the science will tend to drive themselves away from what they really want: big ROI's from the least possible use of cash, human & time resources. The science must be there to truly deliver cost-efficient thrusts that yield results. If you want to do something new but are concerned about the cash & time risk, you need the science to mitigate that risk. Impatience and risk minimization is not a good pairing.

BI has a number of marketing science-focused talent & companies in our network of specialists. We can tap into this talent to bring as much quant-driven support to your objectives as needed.

Blending Marketing Art & Science is the Smartest Way to Take Your Product to Market

The ideal is to carefully blend the best of both so that we strike a balance of the artist's WOW with the confidence and risk-reducing benefits the scientists deliver. Engaging BI to help you take your new product to market is the easy way to apply that blend. We'll tap into deeply-experienced resources in both camps to help you monetize your product in well-proven ways. Contact us for a free consultation.

Copyright © 2004-2018 Big Innovations, LLC. The Big Innovations logo and company name are service marks of Big Innovations, LLC. All rights reserved.