10 common mistakes during a product Launch

August 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

Here is some of my product launch know-how. Hope it helps:

1.- Differentiate:

No matter if your product is a radical innovation or a me-too product, you should be different (cheaper, more premium, tastier, bigger, smaller, etc). Remember that the #4 law (of Al Ries and Jack Trout’s The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing) says that it’s more important what consumer perceives of your product than reality.

2.- Novelty:

In the FMCG Industry, there are thousands of references in a typical store and you have to be able to communicate that your offer is NEW using proper packaging, design and POP.

3.- Sales people ownership: 

A new product won’t achieve the right shelf space or get free exhibitions because it’s new… Your sale force it’s an important player in the early results stage, so you must involve them and get them enthusiastic about the launch.

  1. Create an event: Sales people like to feel important, encourage their trust.
  2. Create a contest: the better they do, the better your results, little prices.
  3. Educate them: Give your sales force enough information so they can be creative, gain spaces and be ambassadors of your product.

4.- Distribution:

It’s easier to succeed if your product  is sold where your consumer is buying… this is only possible with the effort of your sales force. It’s important because if you don’t have enough ND, ATL Advertising is a waste of money and could lead to consumer frustration; if you don’t promote, you will hardly get your product rotation to optimum levels.

5.- Point of Sale Support:

How many consumers do you think buy on “automatic mode”? (plenty) Do you think they explore every product on the shelf before picking one? (not likely). You need to get the consumer’s attention so designing an impactful POP and use them wherever possible is a success strategy. Keep in mind that proper timing before launch is fundamental to see an impact on sales.

6.- Consistent Message:

If you’re using several channels of communication and you probably are (package, POS material, ATL, PR Event, etc) you must ensure that every channel offers the same benefits regardless of the media. One clear message is more effective than several competing benefits (Law of focus #5 – Owning a word on consumer’s mind).

7.- P.R. Event:

If you’re launching a radical innovation, you should use Public Relations to help your product come to life. If you have your objectives clear, a PR event can create the necessary buzz for the product to become trendy. Word of advice, don’t be cheap with the invitation nor the souvenir, they are key to success.ALWAYS include a product sample and if you’re selling a co-dependent product, also include the required appliance (unless it’s widely available)

8.- Create Awareness:

You need for consumers to know your product to be successful; hence you’re investing in some ATL. This is the moment to “put the fish in the table” don’t keep some budget for the extra shot, this is the time to get results, whether Reach (if you have an impactful ad) or repetition (if your benefits are common). This is also the time to give samples or perhaps a free-trial to get some word-of-mouth.

9.- Inventory management:

Breaking the flow of new products to the end consumer is something a few brands are allowed to err (Apple). You’re probably not immune to this, so Try to best forecast your early sales and be certain that an un-forecasted over-demand can be met within a few days of the launch (you could lose the launch inertia). If you need to over produce at first, it’s OK even if you have to dispose some product (but avoid this if possible).

10.- Timing:

You have to know your timings, be consistent and stick to them… This is probably why most launches fail. You can use the STAGE-GATE process to keep record of everything that’s happening and what to do next. Remember, good planning is better than good improvising.


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