How to Plan Your Next Product Launch

Build momentum and turn it into long-term growth.

Product launch

"If you build it, they will come."

It's tempting to think that all you need for a successful launch is to build a great product and let it speak for itself. But it never turns out like that.

A great deal of effort goes into creating a new product or feature – and just as much effort needs to go into launching it. It's not enough to issue a press release and cross your fingers.

Let's dive deeper into what makes a successul product launch and how you can plan it.

What is a product launch?

A product launch refers to a business’s planned and coordinated effort to debut a new product to the market. Developing a plan for your product launch involves answering a variety of questions, including:

The answers to these and many other questions are organized into a single structured document, which often includes a timeline and a checklist. Here's an example of what a product launch plan may look like in Nuclino, a collaborative documentation tool for teams:

Product launch plan template

Why you need a product launch plan

Contrary to what some think, a product launch is not just about crafting the announcement for the big day and submitting your product to Product Hunt. It's a lengthy process that starts months before the actual launch day and continues well after the press release goes out.

A successful launch requires the joint effort of multiple teams. From the initial market research, to prototyping and developing, to testing, to designing a go-to-market strategy, to the final promotional marketing campaign and onboarding the first users – every team has to come together and contribute. Coordinating such a massive multi-team affair is only possible with a clearly defined process and a well-thought-out plan.

How to plan your product launch

It's important to be honest: there is no one-size-fits-all formula to guarantee a successful launch. Otherwise, there would be no failed products – and there are quite a lot. According to Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, there are over 30,000 new products introduced every year, and 95% of them fail.

It's true that luck has a lot to do with how your product launch will turn out. But there are steps you can take to maximize your chances of success.

Document your launch plan in one place

As mentioned earlier, planning and executing a product launch requires coordinated effort from several teams. For projects like that, good communication becomes critical.

There is a lot of work to be done, so you can't afford to waste time in daily status update meetings. A much easier way to stay on the same page is to actually organize your work "on the same page". Consolidate all information relevant to the product launch in one central place – such as your internal wiki.

This would ensure that every member of your team has access to the same, most up-to-date resources. They won't have to waste time searching for information or wondering about product requirements, and would be able to discuss assigned tasks asynchronously.

Product launch collaboration in Nuclino

Define the USP of your product

What pain points does your product solve? What sets you apart from the competition? Make it explicitly clear what makes your product unique and valuable. The unique selling proposition of your new product will determine your target market and messaging.

Define launch goals and performance metrics

It's easy to get lost in all the daily tasks and lose sight of what’s really important – achieving business goals. Make it clear why you are launching a product or a feature in the first place: Is it to establish a foothold in a new market segment? Generate leads for an existing product line? Create awareness?

Translate these high-level goals into traceable success metrics using the SMART framework (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) and set more specific objectives, for example:

Validate your product-market fit

Product-market fit – or lack of it – is something that can make or break your product launch. Figure out how to sell your product to the right audience before you launch without having to rely on experience and instinct alone.

A great way to test this is to run a smoke test. Create a landing page with a single and focused call-to-action and test different variations of it while gathering data and customer feedback along the way.

The results will enable you to go beyond personal opinions and identify what strategies and messages actually resonate with your customers.

Determine how you’ll spread the word

Once you know who your target audience is, it's time to figure out how to reach it. Create your marketing mix – the blend of strategies and platforms you’ll rely on. That usually includes:

Create a launch timeline

A launch timeline keeps your entire organization focused and accountable, and sets realistic expectations. Work together with other teams to break down the launch into separate, manageable stages. Insert milestones and the tasks required to achieve each one. Assign the tasks to the team members and allow them to put together detailed to-do lists for each.

Keep the timeline up-to-date, marking tasks as "done" as soon as you complete them. That way everyone with access to the timeline can measure progress and understand how close the team is to the next milestone and, ultimately, the launch itself.

Product launch checklist

A checklist is a simple yet effective tool to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. It's one of the most popular techniques for executing product launches in an organized and predictable way.

Here's an example of what a product launch checklist could look like:

Product launch checklist

Product launch checklist (created in Nuclino)

Thanks to digital media, entrepreneurship is becoming increasingly democratized. Launching a product to a global audience has never been so manageable, even with a small team and an even smaller budget.

On the other hand, competition has never been as fierce and you only have one chance at a first impression – a thorough product launch plan is the best way to make sure you don't waste it.

Nuclino: Your team's single source of truth

Nuclino

Nuclino is a unified workspace that helps you organize all of your team's work in one place. Instead of digging through the chaos of files and folders and drowning in endless meetings and notifications, Nuclino allows your team to break out of silos and collaborate more thoughtfully.

Try it for free

Character illustration