What is a product launch? A guide from planning to execution

Whitney Vige headshotWhitney Vige
February 1st, 2024
7 min read
facebookx-twitterlinkedin
Banner image for an article on product launches. Features a woman in a business setting working on a product launch plan, as well as a chart and graphics detailing success.
View Templates

Summary

A product launch is the process of bringing a new or updated product to market. Uncover the key steps to planning, managing, and executing a successful product launch. 

A product launch is more than just unveiling your latest innovation—it’s about making a statement in a crowded marketplace. Whether you’re launching an entirely new product, rolling out new features, or expanding into a new market segment, you want your launch to make a splash—not a ripple. 

A well-executed product launch can make sure your product is a success. We’ll walk you through each critical step of the process, from initial market research to evaluating post-launch success. Read on to discover how to craft a product launch strategy that both reaches and resonates with your target audience, setting the stage for lasting success. 

What is a product launch? 

A product launch is the process of bringing a new or updated product to market. The product launch process involves a series of steps to introduce the product to potential customers and make it available for purchase by the launch date. A well-executed product launch can strategically position the product in the market and create demand, leading to greater brand recognition and product sales.

The ultimate guide to launching products with Asana

Learn how to simplify your product launch workflows, centralize your launch plans, and successfully bring new products to market.

Download the ebook

What are the steps to a typical product launch? 

The product launch process occurs after the product development phase and involves collaboration among various teams, including marketing and product marketing, sales, product development, and customer support. Here’s how it works. 

Step 1: Conduct audience and market research

The first step in the product launch process is conducting thorough audience and market research. Start by gathering insights through focus groups, buyer personas, and customer surveys to understand demographics and user experience needs. This will help you pinpoint who your potential customers are and the problems they need solutions for. You’ll also want to conduct competitor research to get a clear picture of the current market landscape and better understand how your product fits in. 

Understanding what’s currently available in the market and how it’s positioned—as well your target audience’s goals and pain points—will help you develop product positioning that stands out and resonates. 

Step 2: Develop product positioning and messaging

Next, let’s talk positioning. Product positioning is all about defining how your product, with its new features, solves specific problems or meets particular needs in a way products currently on the market don’t. The goal here is to craft clear, concise messaging that underlines the gap your product fills—so you can build a product launch strategy that highlights its benefit and value for customers.

To develop your product positioning statement, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What type of product is it? What does the product do?

  • What sets the product apart from similar products in the marketplace? What are the differentiating product features?

  • Who is the target customer for the product? What’s the target market?

  • What are the key features and benefits of the product?

  • How does the product enhance or improve on existing options? 

Step 3: Hold a launch brainstorming session

Once you have a firm understanding of your target audience, the market landscape, and what sets your product apart, your next move is to hold a brainstorming session. Bring together key stakeholders from your product team and marketing team to start shaping your launch strategy. The focus of this session is to build off the insights you gathered during the research phase and develop a creative—and effective—strategy for introducing the product. 

Step 4: Map out your go-to-market strategy

Your go-to-market strategy is your roadmap for launching and promoting your product. It should outline the marketing efforts needed to reach your target audience and convey your value proposition. To craft it, begin with a go-to-market strategy template. Then, think about the distribution channels you’re planning to target and the type of content that will best showcase your product. 

Your strategy should:

  • Define the specific segments of the market you want to reach 

  • Detail the marketing channels and content types you’ll use to reach your audience

  • Summarize the core product messaging you’ll use across your marketing collateral

  • Lay out a clear timeline of all launch activities, including pre-launch asset creation and day-of launch details

  • Outline post-launch customer support, such as how you’ll handle customer feedback and questions

  • Map out how you’ll track and analyze launch success

The ultimate guide to launching products with Asana

Learn how to simplify your product launch workflows, centralize your launch plans, and successfully bring new products to market.

Step 5: Define your launch goals and KPIs

Defining what a successful launch looks like is essential. This could be reaching a specific sales target, garnering substantial media coverage, attaining a defined level of customer engagement, or achieving a particular market share. No matter what your ultimate goal, your key performance indicators (KPIs)—i.e. the metrics you use to measure your performance—should be measurable and time-bound. 

Common KPIs for product launches include: 

  • Sales figures, such as revenue or product units sold

  • Website traffic

  • Customer feedback scores

  • Social media engagement rates

  • Conversion rates

  • Press coverage

  • Lead generation metrics, such as the number or quality of new leads

  • Customer acquisition cost

  • Market penetration rate 

Step 6: Create promotional launch materials

Once you’ve nailed down your product positioning, mapped out a detailed go-to-market strategy, and set your launch KPIs, it’s time to craft the promotional materials that will accompany your product to market. These materials should align with your overall launch goals and map to the specific needs, interests, and preferred channels of your target audience. 

Whether it’s eye-catching digital content, compelling ad copy, or informative brochures, every promotional material should showcase the value your product offers and align with your launch narrative. 

Potential promotional materials might include:

  • Blog posts

  • Social media posts

  • Press releases 

  • Print collateral, like mailers or brochures

  • A product landing page or microsite 

  • Paid web advertisements 

  • Email campaigns 

  • Television or radio commercials 

  • Product demos 

  • Webinars or live Q&A sessions 

  • Podcast sponsorships 

  • Influencer collaborations 

Step 7: Generate pre-launch buzz

Think of pre-launch buzz as setting the stage—you want your audience on the edge of their seat, waiting for the curtain to rise. This step is crucial to your marketing efforts and is all about crafting a narrative that makes your target audience eager to see what’s coming—so when you do launch, they’ll be primed to purchase. 

Build hype around your product launch by:

  • Teasing the product launch on social media

  • Releasing a product trailer 

  • Collaborating with influencers or experts to amplify the upcoming launch

  • Host pre-launch events or webinars  

  • Launching a countdown campaign on your website or social channels

  • Offering exclusive previews or early access to a select group of customers or influencers in exchange for reviews

  • Sending out email campaigns with sneak peek or behind-the-scenes content

  • Organize and promote giveaways or contests  

Step 8: Check off any remaining pre-launch to-dos

As your product launch approaches, there are several critical tasks to complete to ensure it runs smoothly. 

Before launching, make sure you’ve:

  • Conducted thorough quality assurance testing to iron out any bugs in the final product.

  • Finalized and scheduled all promotional materials to ensure they go live when scheduled on launch day.

  • Briefed your customer service team about how to handle product inquiries and provide support.

  • Double-checked the technical aspects of the launch, like website functionality and payment gateways. 

  • Organized a pre-launch team meeting or address any last-minute concerns.

  • Set up monitoring tools to track the launch performance in real-time.

  • Developed a system for triaging requests to quickly address any feedback or bugs that occur on launch day. 

The ultimate guide to launching products with Asana

Learn how to simplify your product launch workflows, centralize your launch plans, and successfully bring new products to market.

Step 9: Launch your product

Launch day is when all your planning, preparation, and hard work materialize. Depending on your launch strategy, it might involve hosting a launch event, engaging with your audience across different platforms, activating your online and offline marketing campaigns, or coordinating media appearances and interviews. To ensure your launch is successful, keep your team on standby to address immediate feedback or technical glitches. Remember, launch day is more than just showcasing your product; it’s also about creating a memorable experience for your audience. 

Step 10: Conduct a post-launch evaluation

A post-launch evaluation is key to understanding the impact and effectiveness of your launch. Look at customer feedback, sales data, web traffic, and other relevant metrics to see how well the launch performed against your initial objectives. Then, gather your team for a post-mortem meeting to reflect on what went well and what you could improve on. The goal of this step is to walk away with valuable insights and learnings that will refine your approach for future launches. 

Product launch checklist 

To ensure a smooth and successful product launch, it’s important to have a clear checklist for each launch phase to keep you on track. Let’s break it down. 

Pre-launch

Make sure these tasks are accomplished before launching your product. 

  • Define your audience 

  • Conduct competitive research

  • Finalize product positioning and messaging

  • Finalize your pricing and packaging models 

  • Complete creative brainstorming

  • Craft your go-to-market strategy

  • Develop an internal and external communications plan 

  • Set your launch goals and KPIs

  • Design and develop your promotional materials 

  • Finalize media and PR plans

  • Test your product and run it through quality assurance 

  • Train your customer support team on how to assist with common questions and issues

  • Communicate launch details to stakeholders and internal teams 

Launch

Carry out these tasks on launch day to ensure success.

  • Ensure all logistics are in place for launch events or promotions on the day of the launch

  • Coordinate with your sales team for immediate follow-up on leads

  • Activate your marketing campaigns

  • Engage with your audience

  • Monitor real-time feedback

  • Manage and update social channels actively throughout the day

  • Address any immediate technical or customer issues

  • Track initial immediate metrics, like sales units or website traffic 

Post-launch

Close out your launch with these steps to measure success and gather insights for future projects.  

  • Distribute post-launch surveys 

  • Hold a post-launch post-mortem meeting

  • Evaluate launch metrics against your KPIs

  • Gather feedback from all channels and analyze it

  • Conduct a market analysis to assess the impact of the launch

  • Review and respond to media coverage

  • Plan for ongoing efforts based on initial response

  • Celebrate the launch and recognize team efforts 

  • Document lessons learned and areas for future improvement 

The ultimate guide to launching products with Asana

Learn how to simplify your product launch workflows, centralize your launch plans, and successfully bring new products to market.

6 tips for managing a successful product launch

Launching a product successfully requires a deep understanding of your target audience, a well-thought-out launch strategy, and creative promotional content. Managing a launch successfully requires you to:  

  1. Use a product launch template: Start with a product launch template—a framework that’s pre-populated with all the steps of a typical product launch—to cut down on upfront work and streamline the process.   

  2. Create a launch roadmap: Map out your launch timeline, including start and end dates, major milestones, and task dependencies, so your team can clearly see how work is connected and what they’re responsible for. 

  3. Centralize your launch plan: Leverage a work management platform to outline every launch detail and deadline in one place, so your whole team has easy access to the information they need to be successful. 

  4. Standardize the launch process: Build automated, repeatable workflows so you can kick off work quickly and align team members around critical steps while reducing manual errors.  

  5. Leave feedback where work happens: Cut down on context switching with integrations that allow you to leave feedback directly on mockups, within shared documents, and on project tasks. 

  6. Share regular updates: Share progress updates with your entire team so everyone knows how the launch is tracking. Proactively flag at-risk tasks or upcoming blockers and pivot before they impact progress. 

Launch products faster with Asana 

A successful product launch requires seamless coordination between cross-functional teams, clear objectives, and accurate progress tracking. By leveraging a work management platform such as Asana, you can create consistent processes and centralize your work, aligning your teams, reducing inefficiencies, and enabling faster, more effective product launches.

The ultimate guide to launching products with Asana

Learn how to simplify your product launch workflows, centralize your launch plans, and successfully bring new products to market.