Product Launch Strategies for Startups: Turning Challenges into Opportunities


According to statistics, 90% of all businesses end up failing, and one of the big reasons for those failures comes from a poor product launch strategy.

You’ll be actually surprised to know that only 40% of products really make it to the market. The rest? Well, they either fail too soon or they never even get to enter the market because their product launch strategy is all sorts of messed up.

But don’t worry! We’ve got your back. To ensure that your product falls into the glorious 40% group of product launches, we will show you exactly how you can create a successful product launch strategy.

Let’s understand what a product launch strategy is and get a step-by-step guide on how to create a launch new product strategy.

What is a product launch strategy?

So if we talk about a product launch then it is when your business brings something new and really exciting to the market and does its best to achieve success. Now this is great, but a product launch doesn’t do everything. You have to overcome lots and lots of obstacles to achieve your product launch success.

This is where product launch strategies come in. Your product launch strategy is a step-by-step guide or roadmap that tells you when and how to act so that it can get you going.

In short, it answers questions such as:

  • How are we going to execute our product launch?
  • When are we going to execute?
  • What strategy do we need to use?
  • How are we going to measure the results?

This overall helps you successfully launch your product.

3 reasons why product launches fail

You must know what are some reasons product launches fail so that you can take action to avoid these mistakes.

1. Insufficient market research

You know when you are running a business it’s extremely important for you to do your homework. This means that you must first perform good market research before you launch your product.

If you don’t bother to dig deep into your target audience, their wants, and what they prefer, you could end up serving them a product they couldn’t care less about.

Launching a product without proper market research is just like gambling with your product launch, which is obviously not a smart move.

Example of a product that failed because of insufficient market research

Crystal Pepsi

crystal pepsi

Crystal Pepsi was a clear cola soft drink that was introduced by PepsiCo in 1992. It was marketed by saying that it was a healthier alternative to regular cola, as it was caffeine-free and had no artificial colors or flavors, but it failed! This is because Pepsi didn’t conduct market research.

They just assumed that the customers would be receptive to a clear cola, but they did not test this assumption. And guess what? Crystal Pepsi was then met with confusion and skepticism from consumers, and the product was finally discontinued in 1993. 

2. Wrong timing

So when we talk about launching a product in the market, I think timing is like the key factor that makes or breaks your product. You have to be really careful about it because if you rush, be prepared to fail. And if you take forever and miss, be prepared to fail again. 

So what should I do, then? Well, it’s simple: Figure out the perfect time to launch your product and you’ll be ready to rock.

Now if you come and ask us what is the right time to launch your product, we would say it is when your gear is all polished and ready to rock. Also, this is when you have already done all the base work and the market is ready to use your product.

Example of a product that failed because of wrong timing

Google Glass

Google Glass

So Google Glass was a wearable computer that was launched by Google in 2013. The product was supposed to be successful but it ultimately failed. The reason? It was released at a time when people were not yet ready for wearable technology.

3. Not having correct pricing

Well, another big reason why product launches fail is when the pricing goes wrong. 

What I think most businesses do wrong is only thinking about their profit and not caring at all about what consumers actually want and how much they want to pay for it.

Oftentimes your product will have existing similar products in the market with lower pricing. In such cases, if people are going to get the same products at a bargain, they are not going to pay higher for your product.

But hold on! Don’t lower your prices too low to boost sales. That can backfire too, believe it or not. You see when you go too low, people might think your product is cheap and crappy, which can take your customers away and also eliminate your profit.

Example of a product that failed because of bad pricing

Amazon Fire Phone

Amazon Fire Phone

So back in 2014, when Amazon launched Fire Phone, they had really high hopes for it, but things didn’t quite go as planned. One of the main reasons was their pricing strategy. You see, they charged a price tag of $650 on the Fire Phone, putting it in the same league as Apple and Samsung’s devices. Now it is obvious that they would not pay this heavy amount for the Fire Phone, which, in the end, led the Fire Phone towards a big failure.

Importance of product launch strategy

Now let’s talk about the importance of product launch strategy.

1. Creates buzz and excitement in the market

So when you learn all about product launches and create a successful strategy it creates a buzz and excitement in the market. 

By this, you can lead people to talk about your product, create anticipation, and also get people to be curious about your product. 

So in short, by this, you make people excited about your product and make them eagerly want your product.

2. Creates differentiation

When it comes to getting your product noticed by people, all you need is a killer launch strategy.

There are already a lot of chances that a product like yours already exists in the market. So, the real challenge is making your product shine and stand out among the sea of choices. Well, here’s a simple answer: Create a product plan and tell how your product solves the current product’s problems.

3. Reach the target audience

Then, if you want your product launch message to reach your audience, you can create a good product strategy to do so.

You see, launching a product without a plan for how it’s going to reach the target audience is just going to be something the audience doesn’t know exists.

Good strategies help you identify the right channels, messages, and strategies to reel in those future customers.

4. Get the timing right

Incorrect timing can ruin your entire product launch, which is why you need the right timing for your product launch.

A successful product launch strategy is key to creating that perfect moment for your launch. You have to plan well and start when everything is aligned. That way you can attract attention, make sales and control the game.

5. He wins for a long time

You will find that having a launch plan for your product builds a strong foundation for long-term success.

It’s not just about getting in faster; What you really need is a solid long-term business that captures a small market share. That’s why we say a good launch strategy puts you on the map and opens doors to endless opportunities.

Step-by-step product launch strategy

Create Product launch strategy

Okay, so now let us learn how to develop a product launch success strategy with this step-by-step process. Also, we are going to take a real-life example of how Dropbox used these steps to achieve launching success.

1. Define your goals

You see, your goals are everything. It is the foundation of any strategy that tells you what you need to achieve so that you can create a plan. 

Start by setting a goal on what you need to achieve with your product launch. Well, you can set any kind of goal such as getting an increase in sales, increasing brand awareness, reaching a new set of audience, etc.

Keep in mind that the goals you set for your product launch must be realistic and measurable.

➡️ Dropbox

Dropbox set its early product launch goals as:

  • Quickly become the go-to platform for users to store and share files online.
  • Create a buzz and excitement with the help of early adopters

2. Identify your target market and ideal customer

You know who are the most important factors determining the success of your product launch? Your customers! That’s why you must carefully research and decide who your ideal customers are.

You should define what their ideal age, gender, income level, location, interests, etc, are. Moreover, also try to understand their needs, preferences, and pain points so that you can tailor your strategy to resonate with them.

➡️ Dropbox

So Dropbox’s ideal customers were people who were looking for a simple and secure way to store their files. They mainly targeted people who wanted to regularly collaborate on files with others.

3. Conduct a market research

Next up, take a magnifying glass and take a close look at your market. Understand what’s going on, what are the current needs, what are the new trends, who are the current players, their pricing, and strategies. 

➡️ Dropbox

By conducting market research Dropbox understood that the market had a growing demand for for file-hosting services. Though some solutions like Box and Google Drive already existed, they either weren’t user-friendly or not secure. 

4. Create a marketing strategy

You see, it doesn’t matter how amazing your product is. It would never succeed if you don’t promote it enough to reach your target audience. That’s why you need a strong marketing strategy.

Decide what kind of marketing would work best for your target market and how you can create a buzz among the audience. 

Also, try to develop a strategy on how you are going to retain your customers after acquiring them.

➡️ Dropbox

So Dropbox’s marketing strategy mainly focused on word-of-mouth, social media, and press coverage:

  • Word-of-mouth – Dropbox gave free invites to early adopters who helped to spread the word about Dropbox.
  • Social media – They uploaded engaging and relevant content on social media.
  • Press coverage – Dropbox secured positive press coverage.

5. Plan your budget

Well, you also need to create and set a proper budget for your product development and marketing so that you don’t burn more money than you want to. Take all factors into consideration and anticipate sudden expenses that could occur, and plan your budget.

➡️ Dropbox

Dropbox allocated its budget to developing a secure and user-friendly product, giving excellent customer service, and using word-of-mouth marketing, which gave them early success.

6. Test and iterate

Once you’re done with all these steps, you can then go for beta testing or soft launch so that you can gather feedback from early adopters. 

This feedback can then be used to understand the flaws of your product and resolve them before going for a major launch.

➡️ Dropbox

Dropbox tested its product and gained feedback from early adopters. With the help of these feedbacks, Dropbox was then able to make a few changes to the product such as adding more features and improving the user interface.

7. Execute the launch

Now that you’ve tested and iterated your product, it’s time you go for the real launch. Launch your product into the market and make use of the marketing strategies you created before such as social media content, advertising, launch events, etc.

➡️ Dropbox

Dropbox launched its product in 2008 and it leveraged various marketing strategies such as uploading on social media platforms, online advertising, and word-of-mouth.

8. See what worked and what didn’t 

Now once you’ve launched your product and gained some audience, it’s time you determine what worked and what didn’t.

You can make changes to your product such as adding more features or eliminating some that are not useful, modifying the design, changing the quality, etc.

Moreover, with the help of the goals you created in the first step, you’ll need to measure the success of your product launch.

➡️ Dropbox

After successfully launching the product, Dropbox used data analysis to measure its success. What they really did was analyze all kinds of data such as:

How many users have signed up

How many users are actually using the product

The number of data stored

9. Improvise

The last step is all about improvising the strategy that you developed. Now that you know exactly what’s working and what’s not, you can very easily make changes to your product and improve it.

After gaining an understanding of what works and what doesn’t, you need to make adjustments to improve your product.

Moreover, this step does not only applies to your product but also to your overall strategy. You must try to analyze and learn what’s working in your strategy and what needs improvement.

➡️ Dropbox

During the days of product launch, Dropbox often changed its marketing strategy as they weren’t reaching its target as effectively as hoped. They tried to bring overall changes to their strategy whenever needed.

Tips for launching new product strategy 

Create a buzz

Teasers, sneak peeks, and exclusive previews will spark curiosity among people. Moreover, if you want to create a sense of excitement about your product and make everyone eager for its launch, these are the best ways to do it.

Collaborate with influencers

You see, nowadays a lot of people enjoy following and mimicking big influencers. You can leverage this opportunity by reaching out to an influencer that perfectly matches your needs and collaborating with them to promote your product.

Offer incentives

You can attract early buyers by providing various offers such as early-bird discounts, limited-time offers, and exclusive perks. This creates a sense of urgency.

Listen to your customers

Now, listening to your customers is absolutely essential to your launching success. Why? It’s because they are the ones using your product and their feedback gives you complete knowledge about the pros and cons of your product. So by encouraging them to share their ideas, you create what needs to change to improve your complex product.

Conclusion

So, there you have it. I have given you a complete list of product launches and strategies you can use.

What’s next?

Well, now it’s your turn to understand the techniques and see how your business can benefit from them, and grow! You are on your way to product launch success.

Have doubts? Comment it down.

FAQs

  • What are the types of product launches?

    Here are some common types of product launches:

    Full-scale launch
    Minimal launch
    Soft launch
    Hard launch

  • When should I start thinking about my product launch strategies?

    I think the best time for you to plan your product launch strategies is right from the phase when you are developing your product. By this, you can easily get a lot of time to research and figure out how you must polish your product to convert it into the best. The sooner you start, the smoother your launch will be.

  • How can I measure the success of my product launch strategy?

    You can use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) such as:

    Sales figure
    Customer feedback
    Website Traffic
    Social media management
    Media coverage


About the Author

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The editorial team at Dhandho Karo, led by startup veteran Suraj Kr. Prakash is a group of experts in entrepreneurship. We're dedicated to delivering well-researched, comprehensive content that guides aspiring entrepreneurs and startup founders from ideation to scaling.

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