The Three Phases of a Successful Product Launch (2/3)

The Three Phases of a Successful Product Launch (2/3)

In my last blog we talked about the brain phase of product launch. In this phase we work to optimize the plans for best media investment, distribution investment and creative mix. In phase 2 it’s much different.

As much as we would like to know the future, we can only make certain estimates. The biggest challenge is in understanding how the competition will respond to a launch. In the first 6 to 12 months after launch, it’s critical to respond quickly to market changes, especially those incurred by competitive actions.

The Work-Like-Crazy Phase

All Hell has broken loose. The product is on the shelves and operational issues take over. As we know from Eisenhower, “Planning is everything.  Plans are nothing”. Not only do we need to make certain we get the best response from our sales and distribution activities, but the competition is also causing trouble. It’s now up to us to make modifications to our plan to take advantage of new opportunities that weren’t apparent during the Brain Phase and respond to areas that didn’t turn out as well as planned.

As the D-Day invasion neared, Eisenhower was aware that all his plans would be worthless as soon as the first ship landed on Omaha Beach. It’s the same for a product launch. The brand team has to be ready for different contingencies and make certain that what actually does happen doesn’t lead to wasted advertising and a mediocre or failed launch. Working with MarketSim we’ve found that as new data comes in, the model can learn and become even better at estimating the future. What was only estimated before is now becoming known and that can be fed back into the MarketSim simulator to make even better forecasts to make certain that marketing activities deliver the most for the fledgling brand.

Brand teams need a constant feedback mechanism in order to monitor how the brand is faring. They need to make adjustments based on the latest data coming in and the latest forecasts based on these latest data. Because media has different lead times, it’s better to know now whether we need to increase TV 4 weeks from now, than it is to find out tomorrow that we needed more TV last 4 weeks ago. Because prior use and trial of a new brand has a strong impact on the future of a brand, getting things right early on, can have an enormous impact on the short term future of the brand.

In my next installment we’ll talk about the Love-it-or-leave-it phase. Unfortunately, many of our clients bring us in well after the Brain Phase and often immediately after the Work-Like-Crazy Phase. Here the launch has taken place and results didn’t measure up. What can we do?