How to Launch a Product Quickly: What to do When You Don't Have Enough Time

What-to-do-when-you-don't-have-enough-timeThough it would be ideal to have a full six months to prepare for a product launch, this is not always a reality. Delays in funding, licensing, or product development challenges can put a product manager into a challenging situation where the window between product viability and revenue expectations is extremely narrow.

Below you will find a 12-week timeline for the marketing aspects of a “quick launch” product launch. There is no one-size-fits-all model for product launch. Some of these bullets may not be applicable for you and other necessary steps for your product launch specifically may be missing entirely. This post is focused mainly on marketing steps. If you want a more thorough document, download our Product Launch Checklist or request a consultation so you can ask about your specific situation.

Typically, we break product launch activities into the following categories: big picture, pre-launch prep, sales and channel partner readiness, launch and post launch, and break down by the 4 P's (price, product, promotion, place) within each category. But if you’re trying to pull off a product launch in 3 months, let’s start with the basics:

Weeks 1 and 2:

  • Competitive landscape
  • Marketing research – including size
  • Persona development (to be tested later)
  • Product naming research
    • Trademark search
    • Secure potential domains
  • Develop website mockup & anticipated sitemap
  • Identify technical documentation needs (My favorite technology documentation partner - Novatek Communications)
  • Keyword research
  • Establish packaging needs

Week 3:

  • Product Positioning Workshop – all relevant players including; leadership, sales, marketing, product management, etc. in a single location
  • Define product position (relative to competitive research)
  • Develop value proposition or unique selling points
  • Keyword review
  • Test personas – discuss gaps
  • Content brainstorm
  • Select product name/domain
  • Select web platform & primary template
  • Determine CRM
  • Develop 12-month marketing roadmap
    • Web, social, email, PR, events/tradeshows, content, advertising, etc.

Week 4:

  • Web development begins (duration: 6 weeks)
  • Content development begins (duration: 8 weeks)
    • Whitepapers
    • eBooks
    • Case studies
    • Blog posts
  • Finalize product positioning statement
  • Finalize personas
  • Finalize key messages and target keywords
  • Register for relevant tradeshows
  • Product photography scheduled
  • Identify advertising placements

Week 5:

  • Documentation development begins (duration: 6 weeks)
  • Style guide developed
  • Social media setup
    • Corporate pages
    • Product pages
    • Sales team profile alignment
  • CRM setup (new or update existing to accommodate product launch)
  • Sales process/purchase process layout
  • SEO planning & web directives

Week 6:

  • Finalize style guide
  • Landing page development
  • Email template development
  • Sales process review
  • Packaging design begins (duration: 4 weeks)

Week 7:

  • Additional design elements begin
  • Website copy development begins (duration: 3 weeks)
  • Launch event planning – internal & external
  • Press release drafts
  • PR research, ID send list

Week 8:

  • Email list development
  • Web functionality review
  • Purchase process testing
  • Follow opinion leaders on social media
  • Social media group research and requests

Week 9:

  • Sales process testing within CRM
  • Sales technology implementation if necessary
  • Develop FAQ
  • Finalize advertising placements

Week 10:

  • Web design review and content proofing
  • Review content development progress & prepare for publishing
  • Packaging design review
  • Email campaign drafted

Week 11:

  • Schedule social media and public relations push
  • Email campaign finalized and scheduled
  • Lead nurture plan developed
  • Post launch calendar reviewed and detailed
  • Finalize launch event details
  • Submit advertising (this assumes digital only - print has a much greater lead time)

Week 12:

  • Website go live/submit to Google
  • Documentation finalized
  • Phone calls to key publishers (pre-launch notification)
  • Internal launch event

Launch Day:

  • Press release sent
  • Email blast
  • Social media posts
  • External launch event

If this list feels overwhelming, you may want to consider a partner to support you in your product launch efforts. Product launch is an intense commitment for a relatively short period of time and companies often do not have the resources to devote to a product launch while maintaining marketing efforts for the rest of the company.

In addition, execution of an ongoing marketing campaign for a new product increases the workload for your existing marketing team. If you're in need of a marketing partner, take a look at our Industries Served page to see if Launch Team may be the right fit for you. And even if we aren't, feel free to download our more extensive Product Launch Plan and Strategy Guide:

Get the Guide


Topics: Product Launch