In Launch is More than an Introduction, we talked about how launching isn’t just for new products, but whatever it is you launch, we believe there are a few must-haves in that launch plan.
Six Essentials for Launching
We believe there are six essential components in a launching framework. Consider these as minimum viable launch (MVL) essentials:
- Establish a Launch Leadership Team
- Define Point B
- Follow a Defined Gated Launch Process
- Begin Early
- Get Customer Insight
- Launch Internally First
Establish a Launch Leadership Team (LLT)
The first step is to form a cross-functional Launch Leadership Team with 5–7 members from several departments. The team is led and managed by a Launch Navigator. The core LLT team members will be centrally involved throughout the process to have open and honest discussion, make key decisions and serve as evangelists for the launch within the company. Choose team members with diverse perspectives and with market-facing positions like sales, marketing, engineering, customer service and management.
Define Point B (Success Metrics)
The next task is to align on what success looks like. Where are you now (Point A), where do you want to be (Point B) and when do you want to get there? There isn’t a standard set of KPIs for this, but typically a combination of hard and soft metrics will be most relevant and actionable for your team. These KPIs are the compass that guides you as you plan and build momentum going forward. It will also serve as a tool to guide a discussion and capture metrics for planning and analytics.
Follow a Defined, Gated Launching Process
Launching is about gaining the market momentum needed to break through internal and external market barriers, so follow a set of fundamental best practices to direct your aim, align your team and shape your communications. Not all companies have a true process for launch beyond basic calendaring and spreadsheets. It is critical to have a well-defined, gated process that is separate from the new product development (NPD). For products and services, this process is separate from, but dovetails with, the NPD process.
Begin the defined launch process as early as possible. It will prevent, or allow time for, early missteps. And it gives the necessary time for LLT members to own key decisions and the runway to be fully invested in the project’s success.
Get Customer Insight
The only perception that matters is your audience’s, so integrate their insights in everything from business strategies to creative concepts and external messaging. There are many ways to gain understanding, validation and additional insight throughout the launch. Putting some qualitative rigor into the process helps ensure you’re delivering what your audience really wants.
Launch Internally First
Complete, rock-solid alignment is key, which is why it’s vital to launch internally first. This gives everyone the chance to understand and prepare to champion the new initiative before it hits the market. Integrate an internal launch in your go-to-market strategy, and be sure to include channel partners and others involved in sales.
Read more about the Introworks launch philosophy in our Orange Paper Rethink Launching (pdf).
Want to know more about how these 6 steps are crucial to launch? Let’s talk about how we can support your launch.