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Powerful techniques for product launch

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So many product managers focus on the BUILD aspects of product but often forget about empowering the launch and its promotion.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about launch techniques.

It’s helpful to understand that product release is the end of development; product launch is the beginning of promotion. Developers work forward to a release date; everyone else works backward from a launch date. That’s why many product teams have a product manager working with development to prepare the company for release while a product marketing manager works with sales and marketing to prepare the company for launch.

A technique I like is to approach launch the same way you approach building and releasing a product. When working with development, we have a set of requirements, we collaborate on the design of the solution, and then we accept completion of the features based on seeing them in a demo.

Shouldn’t we use the same approach in managing a launch?

The launch team defines a series of tasks and assigns responsibilities. At the periodic launch meetings, the launch manager (that is, the product manager, the product marketing, or whoever is in charge) confirms completion of the task with a demo. Suppose we have decided to put out a press release with the launch and have assigned someone to write it. At one of the meetings leading up to a launch, we learn that the press release is complete. The launch manager reviews it, accepts it, and declares it ready for the market. Just like a feature in development.

And who is this “launch manager?” Sometimes the product manager runs each launch but nowadays we often see a product marketing manager or a dedicated launch manager taking the lead.

Launch is a critical step in your product playbook. When thinking about the product life cycle, don’t forget to look beyond product development to product delivery—all the things necessary to get the product into the hands of your customers and prospects.

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