In most industries, a product launch is a culmination of months and sometimes years of research, development and testing. But it is by no means an end; it is instead part of a continuous cycle. While the technology industry operates in shorter cycles, and the work leading up to the launch may be months instead of years, the same concept holds true: a launch is a period of elevated activity and is part of the continuous marketing and product development cycle.
An important part of that cycle is what happens after the product launch period. Use the post-launch period to evaluate launch results against the metrics you established during the planning period, evaluate the performance of your teams and processes that were put in place, and look for ways to build off the momentum you already generated. When conducting your post-launch post-mortem, here are a few assessment areas:
This includes looking at revenue goals, profitability and any other fiscal determinants associated with your launch.
Remember those metrics we told you to collect earlier? This is where they’ll come in handy. Metrics can tell you in no uncertain terms how your carefully orchestrated launch and sales drives performed, as well as the areas that exceeded goal and those that under-performed. This can include: online conversion rates, open rates and click-thru rates (CTRs) for your e-mails, social media metrics (hello, Google Alerts!), product reviews and sales page conversions.
Did you stay on top of your deadlines? Are there still bugs that are affecting the user experience? If yours is a B2B product or an e-commerce site, what were your page load times? During post-launch analysis, identifying your product’s weak areas is crucial, as is implementing improvements as soon as you catch them.
4. Customer Satisfaction and Engagement
After a product launch, you still need to be working hard for customer satisfaction. This can include measuring the number of support tickets opened and the length of time to resolution, the volume of calls to your support center and customer feedback and buzz on social media channels. You can find more success measures and metrics here.
5. Team Performance
It’s also important to look at how your teams performed: did everyone do their part? What got ugly? What worked well for the marketing, sales, and product management teams? What can you do differently next time?
Building a Blueprint for Future Launches
If done correctly, you’ll emerge from this process with a blueprint of what to do next, including a set of best practices to implement the next time around, standard operating procedures to stick by and rookie mistakes to avoid. Even if you’ve done this a thousand times before and you truly believe your product is capable of standing on its own, there is always a possibility for things to go wrong. The difference is that next time, you – and your team – will be prepared.
Photo Credit: Ken Teegardin via Flickr