What to consider during your first product launch

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

By Lexie Lu

The launch of a new product is one of the most critical moments in a product’s lifecycle. Early buzz and reviews can make or break a new offering. Without the right marketing and distribution efforts, even the best item can fall a little flat.

Every product is different, which means that no one product will launch the same as another. However, there are some key events that you’ll see in every product launch timeline. You can use these as a framework to develop a more product-specific plan.

-Deciding who the product is for

Every product starts with an idea. Every successful product starts with an idea that resonates with a business’s customer base. At the beginning of a product’s development, you and your marketing team should begin surveying customers and researching the market to find if the business’s latest design aligns with consumer needs.

During this phase, you may also test your product for functionality, comfort and design.

By the end of this phase, you should have a clear idea of what the product is, the target audience for the product and its unique selling point — why this product over the competition?

-Planning the big marketing picture

Once you’ve identified the what and why of your product, you can start planning the big picture of your launch campaign. You’ll be able to take this chance to determine the best marketing channels based on planned features and target audience.

For businesses with larger marketing teams, this is the best time to develop style guides and other material that will help the entire department and outside marketing contacts stay on message. These guides may include elements like the tone you want to hit in marketing materials, as well as the target audience and key product features.

Develop awareness of product launch first within the company. Then, start discussing it with company partners, like influencers and retailers that will carry your product. A virtual event might be a good platform for getting information to these early audiences; companies such as We & Goliath specialize in helping companies develop compelling virtual events.

Now is the time to start talking with retailers if you want your products to be sold in stores on launch. You’ll need to decide how to create product packaging and displays that will stand out from the competition. Ideally, you want to give your partners a decent amount of lead time, especially if you’re delegating some of the creative processes to their employees.

While you must have a firm idea of why consumers want to buy the product, you shouldn’t get too attached to your messaging. As you gather data on your campaigns and speak with test audiences and marketing affiliates, your product messaging may shift. Allow a little room for your marketing plan to adjust as you learn more.

-Developing marketing content

Once you have the framework for your marketing campaign ready, you can start creating ad content in earnest. Based on your team’s chosen marketing channels, they should begin working on email blasts, press releases, social media copy and anything else that will help build product awareness in your target audience.

Now is also an excellent time to run early content by test audiences and reach out to influencers and publications.

At the end of this phase, you’ll probably be able to establish a target launch date and know how much time you have to advertise the product. If you’re confident about launch day, it may be useful to begin promoting that date and planning launch events.

-Analyzing and adjusting campaigns

After your pre-launch marketing campaigns have gone live, you can start monitoring them. Following the buzz on social media, or tracking the response to your ads via metrics like engagements or click-throughs, will help you know how effective your ads are at reaching and convincing your target audience.

Not every campaign works right away. Your messaging may need some tweaks and adjustments over the next few weeks before launch. These changes are normal, and all part of the process — just make sure you don’t swing tone or content too wildly in a new direction. Consistency is still essential, as you’re trying to build product awareness and brand recognition.

During the lead-up to launch, make a few last check-ins with business partners. Ensure that everyone in the business and working on marketing the product is on the same page.

If you plan on selling your product on an online storefront, now is the time to prepare and test the product page for launch.

-Launching the product and following through

For a few weeks before your launch, build up your marketing. It’s possible to make an event out of your product launch and create significant amounts of buzz that can help drive product awareness.

Once the launch is over, your work isn’t done yet. For the first few weeks, you can follow the discussion around your product, gathering valuable testimonials and scanning reviews for information that will help you fine-tune your post-launch marketing or even improve the product.

Also — even though you’re not off the clock yet — take a little time to celebrate. Launching a product is a big deal! You and your marketing team deserve recognition for your efforts.

Using experience to improve future product launches

Once your product is out in the world, you’ll have a lot of data and experience you can use to make future launches much smoother. For example, you can review how your initial ideas of the product’s target audience lined up with the people who actually bought into the item. You may find that your concept appealed to a group you hadn’t considered.

It’s also a good idea to keep in touch with the people who made your product launch a success, even once the launch campaigns are winding down. The relationships you build with influencers and retail partners during a launch can help you develop future products.


Lexie Lu is a freelance designer and writer based in Williamsport, PA. She co-founded the blog, Design Roast, a resource for web designers and marketers, in 2015. She specializes in graphic design, web design, branding, UX design, and mobile app wireframes. She earned her BA from Lycoming College. While not working in her home office, she enjoys walking her goldendoodle, cooking for friends and family, and watching way too much HGTV. Lexie’s work and writing can be found on well-known sites such as Business.com, Website Magazine, Marketo, and Envato. Feel free to connect with her on Design Roast or via Twitter @lexieludesigner.

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