Did you know that 80%-85% of the new product launches in the consumer packaged goods industry fail?
Think I’m exaggerating?
No, this fact is true, and not just for one industry. Regardless of the industry, a good share of product launches fail every year. This is bound to make you wonder about the path to a successful product launch.
I know these statistics may seem overwhelming, but don’t worry, we have got you covered.
In this post, we will discuss the various mistakes that marketers make with product launches and how you can avoid them.
Ready to learn from others’ mistakes?
What Product Launch Mistakes Should You Avoid?
Here are the five key mistakes that you should avoid to develop a successful product launch plan and prevent product launch failures:
1. Improper Planning and Task Management
Making and executing a product launch plan is a complicated process and requires thorough research and planning.
A successful product launch plan includes numerous aspects, from product development and testing to pricing and marketing strategy. You need to get each of these right to ensure that your product launch is successful.
How can you manage all of this?
Map out the whole process. Define the various steps involved, and set their respective timelines, in advance.
You can use a framework or planning tools to ensure that your product launch plan is on point. Tools like ProductPlan and Aha! are really effective in designing product road maps for your product launch plan.
You can plan your strategy, identify strategic initiatives and goals, and plan the entire process using these tools.
Image Source: Aha!
They also help you keep track of the progress on multiple tasks under a single dashboard so that you can manage it all with ease. Remember, without proper planning and management, it’s extremely difficult to achieve a successful product launch.
Image Source: Aha!
You can leverage these tools, take whatever help you need, and design an effective plan that can help you get a successful product launch.
2. Picking an Unrealistic Launch Date
Setting unrealistic expectations is one of the biggest mistakes that you can make in your product launch plan. You need enough time to plan and execute all the aspects of your plan for a successful product launch.
This applies to both the internal completion date for the product development process and announcing the launch date for the new product.
Not giving enough time to your product development team might result in a lower quality product. On the other hand, announcing an early launch date and not delivering on it might hamper your credibility among your target consumers.
And you know what?
This can affect your brand reputation negatively. Instead, it’s better to give yourself enough time before coming up with a launch date. This can help improve the chances of it becoming a successful product launch.
For example, Polyphony Digital announced the launch of their video game “Gran Turismo Sport” for PS4 too early and then failed to deliver on it.
The game was supposed to be launched for PS4 in 2016 but was delayed till 2017. The reason for the delay was that the product development process itself was not completed as they picked an early launch date.
3. Lack of a Plan to Scale-Up
A lot of brands design a brilliant product, get a lot of demand, and yet, eventually, fail simply because they were not prepared for that kind of success.
Sounds ironic, right?
Getting so much unanticipated success that your product launch plan fails.
This is because while making their product launch plan, brands often forget to incorporate the best-case scenario. What if the product or service is a grand success and goes viral? The company needs to be able to scale-up quickly and meet the market demand.
This is where a lot of companies fail because they did not consider this in their product launch plan. If you want to have a successful product launch, you should consider all the possibilities.
You must be prepared for the worst and should also expect the best possible response to your product. Without taking all cases into account, you may run into trouble.
Take the example of movie subscription card provider, MoviePass. In 2017, the company announced a $10 monthly-subscription plan for their card. The plan was a huge hit and the company’s number of subscribers skyrocketed from 20K to more than 600K in a span of three months.
The company was not prepared for such a drastic increase in subscribers and their plan and customer service was an epic fail. The company was not even able to deliver the cards that people had purchased and there were delays of a month and sometimes even longer.
In spite of a successful product launch, your brand reputation can take a beating if you aren’t prepared to scale up like MoviePass. This is why you must prepare yourself for the best case scenario to ensure that you can ride the booming sales wave.
Image Source: MoviePass
4. Ineffective Marketing
A marketing strategy for a new product should be developed alongside the product itself.
You can’t just wait for the product launch to start planning your marketing strategy. You need to plan ahead, not just till the product launch, but the marketing strategy for a few months after the launch as well.
Essentially, your pre-launch, launch, and post-launch marketing plans should be a part of your product launch plan, right from the beginning. If you think that your product can gain traction if you market it just before the launch date, you’ll lose out on a large chunk of audience.
It’s not enough to create quality products and expect people to buy them, without explaining the features and benefits of your products.
How can you get people to buy your products?
Effective marketing strategies can help you reach your target consumers and update them about your new products. You can tell people how your product can solve their problem or benefit them. You can’t have a successful product launch without an effective marketing strategy.
Try to focus your marketing on highlighting the product’s features and benefits to ensure that it catches people’s interest.
5. Improper Product and User Testing
No matter how brilliant a product you think you have, you can never know for sure without testing it properly and asking users for feedback.
As a rule of thumb, a product launch should never be the first time when users get to test your product.
You should thoroughly test your product by letting a sample of your intended target customers try your product and provide feedback.
Why do you need consumers’ feedback?
It will not only help you improve your product but also help you identify any glaring problems that you didn’t even think of. Seeing the product from a user’s perspective can provide valuable insights into your product development process.
If these problems are left unnoticed, it may result in a failed product launch. Or worse, a successful product launch followed by a massive negative backlash.
Also, testing the product quality and that of all of the parts used is also paramount. A product should never get to the market without being thoroughly tested at every stage of the development process.
Not testing the product for any quality issues or flaws is probably the biggest mistake that you can make while launching a new product.
Samsung made the same mistake with its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones and added their name to one of the worst product launch disasters of all time.
Want to know the story?
The Note 7 phones had battery quality issues, because of which some of the phones’ batteries exploded if overcharged. The company had to recall a lot of phones from the market and suffered huge monetary and reputational losses.
Image Source: BBC
Launching a product is a daunting task, which requires a lot of planning and effort. Refrain from making these mistakes while developing your product launch plan and avoid product launch failures.
Plan for your product launch in advance and pick a realistic launch date. It’s better to launch late rather than delaying the launch to a later date due to being unprepared.
You must also have a plan to scale up quickly in case of an increased demand. And you should also plan out all of your marketing in advance. Lastly, you must test your product well before launching to ensure that it will meet your target customer’s expectations.
Do you have any other brilliant ideas on how to develop a successful product launch plan?