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Marketing Viewpoint by Ruth Winett

Four Rules for Successful Product Launchs

The ground is shaking, and the walls are crumbling; will emergency workers use Acme Corp.'s new software? The software combines (conflates) mapping and other data from various sources to help emergency crews do their work. Recently, we have seen that equipment and information must be ready before disaster strikes. Emergency workers have neither the time nor the resources to manipulate data while managing rescues. Acme's software was not viable.

Like Acme, nearly 50% of companies that launch new products fail, reports McKinsey & Company. However, success does not depend on the amount of money spent or the complexity of the offering, McKinsey found. Instead, "launch champions" succeed by maintaining core competencies and by observing four cardinal rules: "team collaboration, incorporation of market insights, rigorous planning of upcoming launches, and growing talent."

"Team Collaboration." The most important rule is being able to unify around a common goal. This means building cross-functional launch teams that develop launch strategies, says McKinsey. This way team members don't work at cross-purposes.

"Essential Market Insights." For a launch to succeed, product designers must know who will use the product and what they need. Vick Liu, a 19 year-old MIT student who designed Travler Pack, a special sleeping bag for Syrian refugees living in cold places, understands his users. Liu told the Boston Globe, "I made it a point not to assume what their needs were, but to go out and find out." Furthermore, Liu "tested one of his early models by zipping into it overnight during a Boston snowstorm."

"Excellence in Strategy and Planning." Insights built on market research will help the company develop strategy and plans and identify what resources are required. Liu and his team at MIT have secured $17,000 in outside funding and arranged for product distribution by Nu Day Syria of New Hampshire.

"Build Up Launch Talent." Companies must figure out what skills they need for a successful launch and then attract, train, and develop the right talent. McKinsey stresses that team members also need to know that they have a good career path.

McKinsey found that four factors determine launch success for both new products and product extensions. They also concluded that leaders of launches must be committed and must [invest in] "supporting capabilities." As always, the process begins with a comprehensive view of the target market and their needs; an assessment of what it will take to bring the product to market; and full awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of the competition. Without these insights, companies will waste time and money trying to launch doomed products and services. Winett Associates helps companies understand their customers and markets. Copyright © 9/17 Ruth Winett. All rights reserved.

Winett Associates helps companies
understand their customers and markets.

Copyright © 11/17 Ruth Winett. All rights reserved.


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