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Did you know that 80%-85% of the new product launches in the consumer packaged goods industry fail?
Astonishing as it is, this fact is true, and not just for one industry. Regardless of the industry, a good share of product launches fail every year.
I know these statistics are scary, 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.
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.
To manage so many tasks and resources, it is best to map out the whole process and 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.
Image Source: Aha!
You can keep track of the progress on multiple tasks under a single dashboard.
Image Source: Aha!
You can leverage these tools, take whatever help you need, and design an effective product launch plan that actually works.
2. Picking an Unrealistic Launch Date
Setting unrealistic expectations is one of the biggest mistakes that you can make in your product launch plan.
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 lower quality product. While announcing an early launch date and not delivering on it might hamper your credibility among your target consumers.
For example, Sony 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.
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.
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.
It is also not enough to create quality products and expect people to buy them, without explaining the features and benefits of your products.
That’s where marketing comes into the picture. To get that message across to customers and let them know that you have launched a product that can solve their problem or benefit them.
So, for the launch of a new product, always focus your marketing on highlighting the product's features and benefits.
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.
This will not only help you to improve your product but will 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.
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.
The Note 7 phones had battery quality issues, because of which the 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.
If you have any other brilliant ideas on how to develop a successful product launch plan, please share them with us in the comments below.