Delivering A New Product to Market Requires More Than a Mere Advertising Blitz
By Jeff Pelzel & Anne Quimby Mathias
Survival of the fittest—the strong conquering the weak. Considering today's competitive environment and shortened product life cycles, survival of the fittest most often pits the quick against the slow. Velocity, or speed to market, has become the key differentiating factor for successful product launches.
And it doesn't end there. Getting a product to market quicker is not the only important factor in achieving faster sales and an improved new product lifecycle. There are four critical factors to a successful launch.
Think back to your last product launch and consider the following:
Velocity: How long did it take from your product announcement to your first sale? How long did it take you to reach your revenue goals?
Process: Did you develop a solid economic foundation for your launch? How did you pinpoint the right target markets and functional titles for your product? Did your sales and marketing activities represent your product's differentiated value proposition? Was your sales channel prepared to convert inquiries into qualified leads and leads into sales?
Demand Generation: Were your launch activities designed to generate demand for your product, or were your activities more informational in nature? Were your activities built around knowledge of your customers? How did you build critical mass in the marketplace before your competition could get a foot in the door?
Measure, Learn, Improve: How did you determine if your product launch was successful? How did you use this information to improve your launch?
Most companies measure velocity from the completion of product development to the time the product is introduced to the commercial market. After that date is met, most launches either collapse into chaos or slide into obscurity. Organizations really should focus on the time it takes to fill the sales funnel and realize sales. The speed and methods used to fill the sales funnel will have the greatest impact on your new product's lifecycle—market penetration, product penetration and repurchase—because this is when you build your presence in the marketplace, often with little interference from the competition.