We Have Liftoff: The 6 Steps to Product Launch
Any product research and development team can tell you that a product launch is deceptively simple to the average consumer. The final product on the shelf is usually the culmination of months of brainstorming, market research, and testing to make sure it’s absolutely perfect. Most product launches utilize the same six steps to cover bases, improve design, and make sure a product is ready for purchase.
Step One: Idea Generation
Every product starts with an idea: The seed of innovation and someone simply asking “What if?” Of course, that’s not to say that every idea is a good idea. Still, brainstorming and the concept of solving problems is the catalyst to the rest of the process.
Step Two: Screening
Many good ideas have failed simply because there isn’t a market for such a product. Innovation can also fail if the product simply isn’t feasible or would be too expensive to manufacture. This is where screening comes in, as a method to identify potential roadblocks and take the informal pulse of consumer opinion and desire.
Step Three: Research
If it’s decided that a product would be a good fit, research must be conducted during the launch process to define ideal customer profile and decide what those customers really want. Design, feature, and user experience often require a trial and error approach before a prototype can start to be designed in earnest. Understanding customer-based brand equity for a product will provide great clarity for what customers really want, and how to make them satisfied.
Step Four: Design
What features do consumers want? Why choose this color over that? The design process requires problem solving and further innovation to ensure a product is the best that it can be. The design process can also identify potential “bugs” to be fixed before a product goes to the testing phase.
Step Five: Testing
The product can be tested along the way, but true concept testing occurs when the would-be product is actually put in front of a consumer for use. In seeing how the ideal consumer uses and interacts with the product, final changes can be made before it’s officially ready for launch.
Step Six: Launch
Once the product has been vetted, researched, and tested, it’s ready to push out to the average consumer. Launch may seem like the end of the road, but in reality, it requires further market research and potential development to continually improve the chances of a sale.
The road from conception to launch can be a long one, but businesses and innovators know that it’s better to go to market over-prepared than not prepared enough. Each step of the launch process promises to give the product the best chance possible of being a smash hit.