Four things you need to know before you launch a product

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Launching a new product is a big deal for your business. And whether it is your first product or you are just adding to your range – getting it right is extremely important. A number of factors can influence a product launch, here we take a look at four things that you need to know before you launch. This can make the difference between excellent sales with a brilliant reception, and a slow start with poor feedback.

1. Understand your target market

No matter what kind of product you are selling – from food and drink to computer software – it is always completely essential that you have a good understanding of who is going to buy it. Knowing your target market makes it much easier to plan the launch, as well as the marketing. It tells you where to pitch your price point. It can provide insight into the kind of numbers that you will do. It can even give you an indication of the direction you need to push your product in.

So regardless of how confident you feel in your product you need to put time into understanding the market for it. Look at competitors and who buys the product. Of course, this doesn’t tell you everything you need to know, but it can be an important starting point for almost every aspect of the marketing and promotion that you carry out for your launch, as well as ongoing work.

2. Test your product extensively

It is vital that products live up to the expectations of their target market. Failing to do so can see even a successful launch completely ruined. Take the example of the much-hyped computer game No Man’s Sky which at one point looked set to revolutionise gaming as we know it. The concept was undoubtedly impressive – essentially a whole, procedurally generated open world universe featuring an unbelievable 18 quintillion planets which players could explore.

But the high hopes for No Man’s Sky turned into plunging disappointed when, on the release of the game, the finished product was not remotely up to the standard that gamers had been expecting. Riddled with bugs and issues, the game was at best unfinished and at worst unplayable.

Now, not all products have the hype of No Man’s Sky but a disappointed customer will do exactly the same thing as gamers did to the title – criticise it and, ultimately, stop using it. Make sure that you thoroughly test your product, and ensure that it is up to scratch.

3. Get industry influencers on-board

Once again, it is important to note that no matter what kind of product you are producing you need to follow the same steps for a successful launch. And one of the key ways to do this is by getting industry influencers on your side. If you can get influential figures in the industry to speak out in favour of your product this can be an enormous boost to the success of your product.

This is a strategy that has been used consistently by Apple, who often provide a feel details about products early on to get the right people in the industry talking about what they are doing. And you don’t need to be a multi-billion-dollar business to do this – it can be achieved on a smaller scale. Instead of major newspapers and TV channels, small businesses can target bloggers and social media users for a similar effect.

4. Get the packaging right

The packaging you choose is going to be an extremely important aspect of your product – and it is consistently underrated by businesses. Not only should the packaging be attractive and eye-catching, but it is important that it is also practical. Once again this is where it comes down to making an excellent impression on your customers. If the packaging looks good but ultimately it fails to be effective, you can put people off ever purchasing your product against. Be sure to invest in packaging rather than just buying it.

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Mike James is a UK-based writer for a few small companies and organisations, as well as numerous print and online magazines. Specialising in technology developments and business matters, Mike is best known for articles based around how best to integrate the two - particularly concerning cyber security, where he has been published in some of the leading authorities online.