Product Launch Plan Template

The product launch template will help you define key influencing players, ideate content, and launch activities to execute a step-by-step launch process.

What is a product launch template and why is it important?

A product launch template is a pre-designed framework outlining the steps and tasks for successfully launching a new product. It helps ensure that all aspects of the launch are planned and executed effectively, maximizing the product's chances of success in the market.

A well-planned product launch strategy is crucial for the success of any new product. It involves creating a comprehensive strategy that generates buzz, builds anticipation, and ultimately drives revenue.

A successful product launch can help position your product as a must-have item in the market, increase brand awareness, and establish an initial customer base. To achieve this, it's essential to conduct market research, identify target audiences, create compelling messaging and visuals, leverage social media platforms and influencer partnerships, and track key metrics to measure the effectiveness of the launch. The benefits of a well-executed product launch extend beyond initial sales and can have long-term impacts on the growth and profitability of your business.

What are the steps to launch a new product?

A product launch is NOT a point in time like a press release. It is a process that comprises research, marketing, product, and sales activities to get the market ready to support your product for general availability.

There isn’t just one method for a successful product launch because every product is unique, but most launch plans involve similar phases and activities.

However, before even thinking about the launch phase, distribution, and marketing strategy, you must complete your go-to-market strategy to make sure you're building a product your market wants and you won't be one of the 95% of new products that fail, mainly because a lack of market need:

1. Conduct a market analysis or validation to prioritize potential markets

This news article about Akili switching their target customers shows us how critical it is to analyze the market and select the right target before anything else is done to avoid product failure of millions of dollars spent targeting the wrong markets. At first sight, you may not identify Akili's issue, but it has been a target market selection problem since the product's conception. The business transformation is just a way to pivot the company to try to win another market that best suits Akili's product.

Before launching your innovation, the first step is interviewing and analyzing prospective buyers and end-users to prioritize them and adequately define your most promising market.

2. Deeply understand your customer's pain points and motivations to buy

As you research buyers, end-users, and potential markets, follow the jobs-to-be-done methodology to build a profile of your early customers, who will be excited to try your product first. Here's a quick guide on what to define:

  • Scenario before your product is adopted (notice that adopted means making good use of it, and it is not the same as buying!):
  • The workflow steps (or end-user journey) that trigger the pains you solve
  • Job-to-be-done or what do they want to achieve
  • The pain points they face to perform the job across the workflow: frustrations, struggles, challenges...
  • The economic, social or emotional penalties of doing it that way.
  • Scenario after they adopt your product regularly:
  • The new workflow steps or steps you've removed
  • The product capabilities that remove the pain points
  • The economic, social, or emotional gains or benefits of working the new way (thanks to your innovation)

3. Differentiate from your most formidable competitor

Conduct an evaluation of the competition and pinpoint the solution that is the greatest threat. Assess their strengths and explore methods, apart from trademarks and patents, to establish and sustain a competitive edge.

Consider that your most formidable competitor may be change management, not another product. If you're dramatically changing the workflow or approach of the end-users you're targeting, you'll mostly compete against status, risk perception and behavioral change rather than a competitive solution. This means you'll be creating a new category of product, probably discontinuous, that may face an adoption chasm.

4. Discover next target markets

5. Create positioning and messaging that resonates

6. Build a low-risk product offering

The previous step of target customer understanding will dictate your core product abilities and features to prioritize. But in tech, the decisions are made based on risk perception. Fear is what drives the decisions of 84% of buyers. This step is even more important when launching a new category of product or disruptive innovation to drive mainstream adoption.

Follow this guide to build a low-risk product offering, overcome market objections, and convince more decision-makers to buy from you.

7. Identify market ecosystem players and alliances

8. Strategize distribution: build sales and marketing plans

9. Test your customer's willingness to pay and design a pricing strategy

10. Amplify your reach with a product launch plan and marketing campaigns with the ecosystem support

You will enable word-of-mouth by building a consistent flow of messages and feedback with your ecosystem players. Check the next section to learn more about how this step works. This is exactly the motion our product launch template will help you create.

For more information on how to craft a successful go-to-market strategy for your next launch, check our 10-step go-to-market strategy framework.

10.1 Align your marketing, product, sales, and product marketing teams

A successful product launch starts by aligning your team around common campaign goals and what success looks like. And success must be defined differently depending on the type of innovation you are launching in the market.

Suppose you're launching something very innovative that requires behavioral or workflow change in the end-user. In that case, you're creating a market category, and your goal should be to drive early adopters to help you iterate these 10 steps before launching your product at scale.

If you're launching a product in a crowded market whose market need has been validated by competitive solutions, then you can set goals towards driving revenue. Your goals and launch plan dramatically change depending on the maturity of the market you're entering.

Setting up revenue goals for an innovation nobody has ever seen before is unrealistic. You don't know how the market will react, so your goals must be validating and refining your go-to-market strategy and product with early adopters.

How does this product launch plan template work?

Gartner data shows that 83% of buying decision time in B2B is spent researching independently. Buyers don't want to talk to your sales team.

This means you must be present in 83% of the buying decision process that your sales team is not allowed to speak. And you can achieve this in 2 ways that must reinforce each other:

  1. Build trust with educative content about the category you're creating, the new product you are introducing, and how your type of product could benefit prospective buyers and end-users.
  2. Help your market ecosystem learn about this new product category or your solution and how it helps prospective buyers and end-users accomplish their goals. That way, they'll know why you are well-positioned to help your industry and why they should trust you, incentivizing WOM.

The product launch plan template our team has designed, and you can download it here, is designed with these two foundations in mind. Let's dig deeper into step 2, the most critical part of a successful launch.

Every market has an ecosystem or infrastructure of players between your product and your target audience that influence each other. The 10% of the market players in this ecosystem influence the other 90%. They are the ones who will position your product or innovation in the market, driven by delivering messages and communications based on their perceptions.

We have observed that leveraging your market ecosystem or infrastructure key players is the best approach to help the market position your new product in a way that highlights your strengths and reduces the perceived risk of buying from you.

An effective product launch plan acknowledges this market truth by including all the key players in the launch or commercialization sequence. By building relationships with the top 10% of players in your ecosystem, you can address their concerns about your product and nurture them with custom marketing messages they can share with the rest of the market. A product launch plan built with this in mind increases Word-of-mouth to position products, optimizes market pull, drives influence, and builds the foundations to achieve market leadership.

Follow these steps to use our free product launch plan template effectively:

  1. Layer by layer, map your market ecosystem players in the column organization and individuals. Follow the pyramid and define the layers and individuals that compose your market infrastructure. Use LinkedIn, Google, and Sparktoro as your tools for this step.
  2. Research each ecosystem player.
  3. Ideate education marketing collaterals. Add those ideas to the collaterals row.
  4. Assign an owner to develop a relationship with each layer.
  5. Add a list of product launch tasks and campaigns on each pyramid layer's Gantt chart template (left side).
  6. Execute the sequence of activities, layer by layer, from bottom to top.
  7. As you move on the pyramid, leverage the feedback, testimonials, and endorsements from the bottom layers to drive credibility in the top layers.
  8. Ask for feedback from the players. Fix their concerns and get back to them with product and messaging fixes.
  9. Keep the ecosystem relationships warm. As you develop the relationship, you may want to co-author papers/posts, co-speak at events, go live with them, and contribute to industry reports...

There are different ways you can use this product launch plan template:

  • Draft a sequence of marketing activities with a visual timeline for a technology introduction, product launches, commercialization, or repositioning of B2B technology-based products.
  • Ideate through the content strategy needed to engage with the players influencing your market.
  • Drive team and stakeholder alignment around the product launch plan by having a shared understanding of key players to target, owners, content, and activities.
  • Define the market ecosystem or infrastructure layers that separate your product from your target audience and can act as word-of-mouth marketing channels, positioning your product in the market.
  • Understand and define the ecosystem organizations and individuals influencing your market.
  • Test / validate your technology and positioning messages by introducing them to key players layer by layer.
  • As a product launch timeline template with a Gantt chart.
  • As a project plan or roadmap template with a set of different tasks to execute.

What's the content of this product launch template?

You'll get immediate access to a Miro board version to duplicate in your workspace.

Then, you can use this product launch plan template in a planning session for your new product launch with your team and stakeholders to build your product launch marketing plan, drive team alignment, and organize for success.

The Miro Board also includes a product launch plan checklist template that follows our go-to-market strategy framework.