Why product launches fail

Product launches often fail to produce the results expected, especially in revenue. The reasons aren’t complicated and are easy to pinpoint.  Here are some common ones...

1. The product doesn’t solve a market problem. This is common in technology companies in which a handful of brilliant engineers create something in a vacuum and then blame everyone else when the product doesn’t sell.

2. The product misses the window of opportunity. Even a product that brilliantly solves a market problem doesn’t stand a chance if it misses the window of opportunity.

3. Operational readiness. A great product is useless if the organization can’t sell and support it. If you’re expecting your sales team or your channel to figure it out on their own, you’re mistaken, and you’re product will wind up in the deep end of the deadpool.  And operational readiness goes beyond the sales channel. What about finance, support, legal, delivery, professional services, alliances, etc.?

4. The product is so good it will sell itself. Or in other words, we spent all our cash on developing the product and we don’t have any money left for marketing it. The market needs to know about your great product. You will likely need to spend more money here than you think, but if you have a great product it will be worth it.

5. Lack of clear launch goals. An initiative as important as a product launch needs goals that are clearly understood by everyone on your team. The absence of launch goals sets the stage for mismatched expectations. They do more than define success criteria. They help align the entire team.

6. Misidentified constraints. Every organization has constraints. Some are overlooked.  Others aren’t even acknowledged. Constraints define your organization’s ability to execute and deliver. Identify them early and fix them quickly.

7. Wrong launch strategy. A one-size-fits-all launch strategy doesn’t work. Different launch strategies are needed for different targets within a market segment. It’s likely you will need multiple launch strategies by product and by target to achieve your launch goals, especially when you are going after multiple market segments.

David Daniels

David Daniels


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