I haven’t posted a new article for a while as I’ve been super busy launching my first video game app Cavity Dragons, designed to motivate kids to brush their teeth. I co-founded my business Gooseling, Inc. with my sister and fellow Mompreneur Vicky Keston to teach children social and life skills through video games with the on-the-go convenience of iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch. So I thought what better topic to share here then tips based on my experiences launching new products and services.
When you’re getting ready to launch a major new product or service whether through a start up or established business, making sure you have thought carefully through the various aspects will prepare you for the busy whirlwind to come – and most importantly for success.
Here is a checklist of the key issues to make sure you have covered before you officially launch:
Your unique message and brand. How will you differentiate your product from the competition? What is the branding and feeling you want to evoke? What need does it fill? How does this messaging fit with your organization’s overall brand and messaging? Plan and articulate the messaging and make sure everyone has it to ensure cohesive, strong communications.
Your potential customer’s needs and wants. How you will reach them and why should they buy/use your product?
Review the resources, people, and skills needed to ensure a smooth launch.
Your publicity, marketing, and social media tactics which flow from your overall business and marketing strategy. What are the communication outlets (including the social media sites/communities) and tactics you have decided will have the best impact to meet your goals? How will you use content marketing – providing truly useful information – to help solve your customers’ problems and answer their potential questions that will help build your brand and business? For example, my sister and I started a parenting blog at gooseling.com/blog to provide useful information and advice on a wide variety of parenting issues in an effort to help parents, teachers, and practitioners while also building trust and our community.
Predict potential problems or issues that might arise and how you will handle them. We want to think everything will run smoothly, but in our imperfect world it is most likely that you’ll encounter some glitches. Watching for possible pain points and thinking about how and who might handle them will help you respond quickly if something does go wrong in the busy midst of launch. What are likely questions or issues might customers might have? Envision each step of the process from attracting their interest through serving their needs throughout the sales and service process.
Customer service, fulfillment and operations processes. Make sure all processes of who will do what are clearly articulated. You might think it should be obvious but in my experience surprises can arise when we assume everyone knows what their role is and it hasn’t been talked through. Visually mapping out the processes from when a customer inquires through completion of an order or delivery of a service labeled with the names of individuals or teams who will handle each step can help avoid last minute glitches.
How will you measure success? Sales and revenue are obvious , but are there other measures that will be important to show whether you are reaching your goals? For example, if you are a small start up with no name recognition building that reputation can take some time, so having some measures around audience engagement could be pivotal. If you are a larger, well established company you might have other related goals for your product launch such as how it helps sales in an ancillary product line or in addressing a concern customers have expressed in the past that you will want to measure response to.
Be flexible and prepared to change your marketing plan or other key strategies based on market response and the results you see.
Keep some work balance among key players to avoid burnout during the busy long days of launch. It’s an exciting but stressful time that usually involves crazy long hours, some time for rest and staying healthy is important.
Make sure you have a solid business plan, marketing plan, contracts, legal (including copyright/trademark issues), and other business aspects nailed down.
Plan how you’ll share the key documents like the marketing plan and task list and keep each other posted on progress and the sales and audience response.
What have you found most important in launching your new products or services?