When Launches Go Bad

A lot of really great products are created that should succeed in the market but never get a chance. By “really great products” I mean a product that actually addresses a problem that the market acknowledges is a problem, and is willing to pay for a solution. When the word “launch” is used, it’s used in the context of starting something or a beginning. “I launched my company last week”. “We launched Widget 2.0.” A successful launch is the culmination of thoughtful planning, accountability, great execution and adaptation.



Launches go bad because they lack one or more of the following:
  • Launch experience in the organization
  • Launch goals
  • Plan for success
  • Accountability for execution
A successful launch generates momentum and that momentum is measurable. You’re getting more of whatever it is that you want to get and you’re getting it faster as a result of the launch.

Launch Experience

Organizations inexperienced in product launch use the “Hope” launch strategy, as in “I hope this thing sells”, “I hope we made the right choices”, “I hope we have a job when this is over”. Think about it. You’ll invest in experienced engineers to design and build the product. You’ll invest in experienced sales professionals to sell your product. Unless it’s an extraordinary product it’s not going to sell itself and the market needs to know it exists. Extraordinary products are as rare as a 1916 Château Rieussec. Successful organizations make sure they have the skill and experience to plan and manage a successful product launch.

Setting Launch Goals

A launch without goals and objectives is like a ship without a rudder. It’s going to drift with the wind. At Launch Clinic we know this is a critical component to a successful launch and the one that is often overlooked. Launch tactics are guesses at best and you run the risk of overspending on tactics and underperforming without clear launch goals and objectives.

Planning for Success

A solid launch plan should include the aforementioned launch goals and objectives, plus it includes assumptions, strategy, tactics, contingencies and measurement. The launch plan will be your blueprint for a successful launch and will enable you to understand what is working, what needs adjustment and prepare your organization for the unexpected. A launch plan doesn’t have to be complicated, but it needs to capture what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it. When the launch window has been completed, it will provide a perspective of how to improve and produce better results.


Lack of accountability will kill a launch even when there’s a great launch plan in place. A successful launch can potentially involve a lot of people within your organization and without accountability you will be in for a rude awakening. In your launch plan specify the names of the individuals that are accountable for their part of the launch.

Launch Checklist

  • Make sure you have access to launch expertise with a track record of success
  • Build a launch plan based on achieving clear goals and objectives
  • Make sure everyone involved in the launch is accountable for the success of the launch
David Daniels

David Daniels

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