Launch or Kill?
The new year is almost here and businesses are making plans for growth in 2016. One of the opportunities your business may be considering is launching a new product. The undertaking of creating a new product or a spinoff of an existing line requires a plan and a checklist for deciding whether to launch or kill your project.
Here are the top five considerations that will help you to launch or kill your project.
1) Is there a market for your new line?
You may already have this answer through customer feedback. You heard their pain and now you have created something new to answer the call. If not, take time to step back and survey your ideal customer demographic to determine a need. A need demonstrates whether or not a market exists. Find out before you invest in the physical work of creating your product. This homework will save time and money. This is an easy tip for soliciting feedback:use your facebook friends, and ask them to share your idea. Set up a spreadsheet and track the feedback you receive and the demographic. The feedback is where you will find your answer to either launch or kill your new product. Industry specific trade associations are also a great place to find out about challenges and opportunities for your new endeavor.
2) Can you scale your new product?
Again, if you are in spinoff mode, you may already know your answer.
If it is a brand new product, does the math work in your favor for profit? Accountants can help you make this plan a reality or advise you against the effort. Clear these guys, and you know you are in a good position to launch.
3) What is your marketing plan for launching your new line?
Experience is very helpful in the realm of marketing products. If you have proven methods, but want to explore more options, now would be the time to haunt your competition, and find out how they are succeeding on every channel. Are they using television, radio, internet ads, and social media? If the answer is yes, you can bet they understand each medium well enough to invest in those channels. Are you a do-it yourselfer? While that may be courageous on many levels, marketing gets more complicated by the minute, and going it alone may be a your own peril. Safety in numbers, use your network inside, and outside of your industry to get a handle on which medium will give you the best platform to launch your product.
4) Is your new product properly positioned in the market?
This is why branding and brand identity can make or break your launch. One thing to consider when positioning your new product is whether or not it should stand next to your existing offerings. Being similar may help your sales because of brand recognition. On the other hand, your new product may just need its own identity, which may require more time to achieve brand awareness. In this case, it is worthwhile to adjust your timeline to fully explore the new brand identity your product needs to stand alone.
5) Can you manage the launch campaign?
The internet has brought on a whole new bag of tricks when it comes to launching a product. Word of mouth via social media is gaining traction, as well as email campaigns with your demographic target. Traditional media still reigns supreme on many fronts, but with a digital component, the fire spreads much more quickly. Choosing the right marketing mix depends entirely on the make up of your demographic. Your launch should have a timeline and metrics to measure in terms of success. Layering in your marketing strategies requires a lot of thought, and help from the outside. If you are managing this alone, give yourself enough runway to reach your goals. Without a jet (think cash) you will need a longer runway to clear the trees and gain altitude. Be sure to get advice from the most experienced resources about how to manage your marketing campaign. The more you know about how launches work, the better you will be prepared when the times comes to break into the market.
By doing the upfront homework of testing for market viability, measuring for scale, and running your numbers by your accountant, you are setting yourself up for a successful launch. Product launches succeed when there is an identified need and the product reaches the demographic target in need.