Product Lifecycle Stage 2: Launch Phase
The introduction phase of the traditional product lifecycle begins with the actual launch of a product. The effort involved in researching, designing, and building the product is not tackled here. Introducing a product is a highly specialized, expensive affair and typically no one talks about profit. Instead, the focus is on advertising, sales, and distribution.
This phase is akin to a plane taking off: take-off is among the riskiest parts of air travel, second only to landing. Similarly, getting a launch right is critical for the success of a new product.
The first buyers of a new product are typically early adopters. These are the ones who often want to be seen as having something no one else has: your brand-new product. They are usually willing to put up with some flaws if the basic premise of the product is sound.
As a product manager, during the introduction phase, you will be busy:
- Creating awareness in the market and clarifying features and benefits to the marketing and sales teams. In a start-up, that might mean talking to that one person who is the “marketing and sales team.” Be aware that having been up close and personal with a product can cause one to miss simple yet valuable benefits and features.
- Getting more insight into how customers are using your product. You may have spent top dollar on market research and trials during product development. Now it’s time to see if all that time, money, and effort has resulted in a product that customers are willing to buy. Customers will use your product in ways that you never imagined and perceive benefits that were never intended. They may also get irritated by some of your “features.” This is the time for you and your team to uncover all that and to add or modify features to increase sales.
If the new product is a disruptive innovator, then ensuring that it gains maximum traction in the market becomes a critical task. Capturing market share means that copycats find it that much more difficult to gain traction.