Creating Product Launch Momentum

Executing a product launch is no easy feat, and it requires designing, building, and testing a product. It also takes a ton of coordination and strategic alignment across the entire organization. The post-launch preferred state of being might be congratulatory drinks and cigars followed by sweatpants and lazy mornings. But savvy product teams shouldn’t squander their opportunity to build on the product launch momentum. The launch can propel the product and business to even further heights.

Maximizing the internal impact of a product launch requires some advanced planning before your product appears on shelves. Read on to learn how to make the most of product launch momentum.

Defining success

Product goals must be defined before launch—and likely much earlier in the product ideation and development process. These objectives embody the strategy and how the product advances the overall business but often lack specific, measurable targets.

In conjunction with other key stakeholders, the product team must define the KPIs for the product launch and decide which metrics matter to gauge the product launch’s success.

These metrics often include the number of users, retention rates, adoption rates, and active usage measurements. For example, teams can track the average users or time spent using the product for digital products. Physical products may track units sold, market share, returns, and support inquiries. At the same time, both digital and physical products may also keep tabs on net promoter scores.

Upfront agreement on which metrics are essential and signify “success” aligns the entire organization and gives everyone a joint mission. This pre-launch consensus also prevents leadership from “moving the goalposts” post-launch.

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Measuring and monitoring success

With predefined KPIs and proper instrumentation, digital products provide data on Day One for the product team. In contrast, physical products typically have a much longer tail. These products remain dependent on retailer data feeds, shipping times, delayed usage, etc. Now it’s time to dig in and analyze.

This responsibility now falls on product operations staff versus the product managers themselves in many organizations. Still, regardless of who’s aggregating and analyzing, a dedicated dashboard with the most up-to-date numbers creates a single source of truth that other stakeholders can view at their leisure. This dashboard should include the top-line KPIs the team already agreed to track.

Targeting KPIs

Beyond this basic collection and summarizing of data, however, there’s plenty of room for further analysis. For example, KPIs can be across different demographic splits, be they geographic, industry-based, or using another relevant cohort model.

The team can spot more trends and identify casualties by delving further into the numbers beyond a monolithic analysis. For instance, if the product launch pushed the product hard on Facebook but ignored TikTok, it won’t be surprising to see better numbers coming from an older demographic. These linked insights can then inform follow-on marketing efforts. Teams can double down on successful tactics or switch things up to increase outreach to a previously under-targeted market.

This cohort can also narrow down potential problem areas. Churning users and those placing support tickets may skew toward different demographics, use cases, or verticals. It creates an opportunity to nurture those cohorts.

Another advantage of tracking and reporting on KPIs early and often is gauging the overall momentum. If specific sales and marketing tactics goose the stats, then those can be scheduled and funded accordingly to maximize the launch window.

Socializing the stats

While a centralized dashboard satisfies the curious stakeholder, product teams should also take a proactive approach. This allows them to keep others in the organization informed about the product launch. Based on stakeholder analysis and any relevant timelines for funding additional go-to-market activities, the cadence and forum for these updates should be set well before the actual launch.

Like a product roadmap, these updates should be tailored to a specific audience. Each department will care more or less about different metrics, as will the executive team.

The presentation needs to incorporate as much context as possible. The team can accomplish this through verbal check-ins, weekly emails, and daily Slack messages. Moreover, regularly scheduled all-hands meetings can keep the organization in sync. That could include how the metrics change over time, cohort-based breakdowns, and linkages with specific go-to-market tactics and events.

These updates serve two key purposes. While the first is the apparent dissemination of critical metrics to keep everyone informed, the second is to prime the pump for further investments in successful go-to-market activities and the product roadmap itself. Presenting stakeholders with these results creates enthusiasm, concern, and urgency among those leaders who control resources, be they person-hours or marketing dollars.

Share in the success

While a positive launch outcome presents a fantastic opportunity for the product team members to boost their profiles and credibility, it’s equally important to recognize and promote the contributions of other colleagues in different departments. The product team didn’t write code, ship packages, place ad buys, or pitch customers themselves, so those contributors must also share in the limelight.

It is a fair and decent thing to do, but it also buys the product team a ton of goodwill and creates even more momentum. When other groups are sharing in the spoils of success, they’ll be much more motivated to see more of it by supporting additional product iterations and the sales and marketing activities to promote the product.

Product launches require help from across the organization for sustained periods. A successful product launch needs solid cross-functional collaboration. It’s an excellent investment to share the spotlight. Various teams can highlight how each group and any standout individuals made it all happen.

Post-mortem analysis

Hindsight is 20/20, making the period immediately after a product release the ideal time to review what worked and what didn’t. However, these exercises are not about boosting egos or casting blame, however, and the real goal is to leverage those learnings to make the next product launch even more impactful and successful than the last.

Using a post-mortem or retrospective to build momentum demands the involvement of stakeholders from each department involved in the launch. Everyone needs the opportunity to voice their observations and opinions. Those who can’t participate should be fully debriefed to ensure their input gets included. This level playing field sets the stage for open and honest collaboration.

By identifying which tactics and strategies yielded the best results, enthusiasm for further investments in those areas grows. Similarly, if other actions prove to be unfruitful, eliminating them from future launches shows accountability and a results-driven culture.

Finally, giving a fair shake to everyone’s feedback and ideas for additional actions and approaches based on the prior release drives other excitement. Just like the product itself, iterative improvements and constant learning can also power the product launch process.

You can use that momentum to tie things together when a product is successful and build excitement around the next product launch, even conducting a pre-mortem ahead of time.

Tying it together with a product launch roadmap

Creating a comprehensive product launch roadmap encompassing all the tasks, milestones, and deliverables pull the whole thing together to orchestrate and coordinate all the moving pieces of any product launch.

With a cloud-based roadmapping solution such as ProductPlan, product launch roadmaps remain up-to-date and accurate, with every modification or tweak visible to other participants in real-time. There’s no need to wonder how each step fits into the big picture or whether a key dependency is underway or complete because everyone sees the same thing.

As the learnings from prior releases get incorporated into future product launch templates, the roadmap can also reflect these alterations. Instead of beginning every product launch process with a blank page, these roadmap templates can be reused for subsequent launches, changing things up as needed based on post-mortem analyses and the specifics of each launch.

Remember, product launches aren’t just the culmination of past efforts but a springboard for those following. Please don’t squander your opportunity to keep the product launch momentum going.

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