Best Practices - Launching New Products
Some important guidelines or best practices around launching a new product or service for small and mid-sized companies in the US include determining the USP of the product; defining the target audience; determining the rationale and realities of the product; understanding the company's brand, mission, and place; testing the product/services through beta testers, focus groups, and prototyping; timing the product launch; diversifying the marketing strategies; and measuring success of the product in the market by communicating with customers and road mapping.
1. IDENTIFYING THE NEED
- It is essential to know the basics that make a product special ahead of its launch is essential.
- It is critical for a brand to determine why a person should choose to buy its new product instead of opting for the competitor's. 
- A product that has no USP (unique selling proposition) is not ready for the launch because it requires a unique edge that gives the consumers a reason to purchase it.
-DEFINE TARGET AUDIENCE
- It is important for a brand to determine the target market of a product prior to its launch.
- A brand needs to understand and describe the demographics of the target customers such as age, gender, income, location, job role, family life, possible pain points, social media platforms used, and the websites that they visit.
- A brand should strive to uncover as much information about the buying characteristics of the customers of competitor's products.
- It is also important for a brand to establish close relationships with target customers with the objective of understanding the needs of the customers.
-DETERMINE THE RATIONALE AND REALITIES OF THE PRODUCT
- Before the design of a new product, it is important for a brand to take time and critically understand what the new product "should look like logistically".
- The new product should be "feasible," "desirable", and "viable", meaning that the idea of the products is technically possible, it solves the needs of the consumer, and it eventually leads to business success.
-BRAND, MISSION, AND PLACE UNDERSTANDING
- A company needs to critically understand the role, power, and value of its own brand.
- The company's new product has to be a good fit for the brand's job as well as the customer base.
- The new products should create an appeal of the brand through "visual brand language for physical products, and interaction design for digital and service design".
- A company should run product testing early as soon as it has a minimum viable product (MVP).
- A company could enlist the services of beta testers, to commenced testing the MVPs.
- A company could also opt for product testing from established market testing companies before launching a product.
-HOST A FOCUS GROUP
- A focus group is very beneficial because it helps a company to collect a wide range of feedback that can help in the improvement of a product prior to its launch.
- Hosting a focus group that has potential customers can prove worthwhile in obtaining firsthand reactions to the product and helps a company to ask questions that can help in bettering the product before its official launch.
-LISTEN TO FEEDBACK
- It is critical for a company to obtain feedback when developing a new product.
- A company should avoid any attachment and resistance when obtaining feedback and constructive criticism about its new product or service.
- A new product is likely to be successful if a company genuinely listens to the feedback of prospective customers.
-PLAN THE PERFECT PROTOTYPE
- When prototyping, a company should produce enough prototypes that enable it to deliver "a taste of the experience". However, the prototypes should be kept at a minimal level such that the company does not use too many resources while prototyping.
- Based on the feedback that a company obtains, it is critical for the company to edit the prototypes by applying the feedback in order to deliver a successful final product.
-TIME THE LAUNCHING
- During the launch of a new product, timing can either mark the success or failure of the new product.
- For a seasonal product, the best time for launch is when the interest is at its highest.
- Before the launch, a company should have gathered enough resources to support the launch and "get the product off the ground".
- The company should be prepared to fully meet the demand of the products should it be higher than expected, because failure to fulfill orders is one of the most common reasons why new products fail.
-DIVERSIFY THE MARKETING STRATEGY
- As soon as the product hits the market, the company should work on ensuring that it puts the new product in front of the target market as much as possible.
- A company is also responsible for determining all the costs associated with marketing the product prior to its launch.
- The marketing team should be well-equipped to present the product "in the best light".
5. MEASURING SUCCESS
- It is paramount for the company to keep in touch with its customer base, in order to figure out how the new product resonates with the buyers.
- Communicating with customers may require "ethnography and observational research".
- A company can also use "road mapping", whereby its maps out a vision and a plan on how a product should evolve over time, to continually meet the needs of users.
YOUR RESEARCH TEAM APPLIED THE FOLLOWING STRATEGY:
We determined the "best practices" around launching a new product or service as such, by consulting articles whereby experts detailed the "best practices" that results in a successful product launch. We also made sure that we only used sources published by authoritative experts and databases that include:
Sujan Patel: Leader of digital marketing strategy.
Design Rush: Is an experienced B2B Marketplace.
Forbes: Recognized branding and technology company, with a focus on news and information about the business, investing, technology, entrepreneurship, leadership, and affluent lifestyles.
Greg Swan: Is a writer specialized in tech and digital marketing.
Josh Meah: Founder of many profitable marketing companies.