Prepare for liftoff
You’ve reached the final lesson of Product Launches 101, which basically means you’re going to crush your product launch. Nice work.
No one said planning a product launch was easy, but the effort is so worth it—get excited! In this lesson, we’ll cover how you’ll bring it all together and share some best practices in the final days leading up to your launch.
We’ve covered virtually every component of your product launch plan throughout this course. Now’s the time to put it all together. Your plan can take many shapes, but should always include information about your audience, positioning and messaging, pricing and packaging, and goals, and be backed up by a highly-detailed and tightly-managed cross-functional launch calendar.
Want some more help getting started? Check out the Product Launch Planner. You’ll answer 8 quick questions and receive a personalized launch plan—complete with a checklist and due dates.
Just remember: every launch is different, so consider the output as a starting point. Be sure to add your unique launch tasks and the next level of detail to the timeline.
As you know by now, major product launches are not just product milestones, but company milestones. A successful release can put your business on an entirely new growth trajectory, while a botched release could so much as destroy its reputation.
As Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben once told him, “with great power comes great responsibility.” And the responsible thing to do now is to schedule a “Go/No-Go” meeting.
“Go/No-Go” meetings aren’t complicated. You’ll bring together the right people to gather input and vote on whether the release can go live or not. “The right people” includes any launch task owner as well as the executive team (if the entire exec team can’t make it, a few representatives will do).
Here are a few tips for a successful “Go/No-Go” meeting:
• Keep it brief. At this point you should need no more than 30 minutes to complete the exercise. If you do, that may be an indication that you’re not ready. If possible, aim for 5-15 minutes.What do my competitors charge for this or a similar product/feature?
• Do it live. In-person is ideal. A conference call will do. But absolutely avoid trying to run the meeting asynchronously (eg. via email or Slack).
• Formalize the vote. Every attendee should declare “go” or “no-go” by writing down (or typing) their vote on a formal voting sheet. Their votes should be informed by their own tasks as well as updates and feedback from other task owners.
• Go or No-Go… there is no in-between. Do not leave the meeting without a definitive “Go” or “No-Go” decision. If it’s not a “Go,” it’s a “No-Go.”
Once voting is complete, there are two schools of thought on how to proceed. The first—and we think, ideal—path is to only proceed if every single attendee votes “Go.” In this scenario, a single “No-Go” vote would hold up the launch until their concerns are resolved and you hold another vote. The second is, well, a bit more authoritarian. Frankly, sometimes a big decision needs a single, accountable owner. In this scenario, the meeting—and the ultimate decision—is owned and facilitated by the launch owner. Hey, that’s probably you!
Ok, so you don’t have to throw a party. External launch parties can definitely add an exclamation point to your launch (think Steve Jobs’ “one more thing…”), but they’re typically reserved for truly monumental announcements. A more common approach is to announce new products at recurring company event, like Appcues does at the annual Appcues Experience.
Regardless, we always highly recommend taking a moment to celebrate the big day internally. A lot of people worked really hard to conceptualize, develop, announce, sell, and support your new product—so show them how much their work matters! Here are a few ideas for inspiration:
• Send every employee new company swag to mark the occasion. Bonus points for directly tying it back to the release!
• If you’re co-located, order lunch or an assortment of treats for everybody. If you’re remote, coordinate food or beverage deliveries to arrive on launch day.
• Commission a local artist to paint a mural on your office walls (just get permission first), or a musician to create a company theme song (the team at Appcues actually did this). Seriously.
• Get a celebrity to record a personalized shout out to your team and company using Cameo.
Alternatively, you could write an original poem, buy an elf costume, and ask one of your more adventurous teammates to dress up and read it—on camera! Heh. Who would actually do that, right? 🤷
We couldn’t possibly cover every aspect of launching a new product in a single course. Fortunately, there are a wealth of resources available that go a whole lot deeper on specific topics like pricing and packaging. Here are a few that we suggest you read and bookmark for future reference:
🚀 User Onboarding 101—the Product Adoption Academy course that started it all.
🚀 The Appcues Blog—in-depth content for product folks covering topics like user onboarding, product adoption, and product-led growth.
🚀 GoodUX—weekly product experience design inspiration from our favorite products.
🚀 The Product-Led Growth Collective—a community-driven resource designed to help you navigate the world of product-led growth.
All that being said, having taken this course you should now have the foundational knowledge needed to lead a successful product launch!
Prove it by taking the Product Launches 101 assessment. Upon passing the assessment, you’ll be awarded your unique Product Launches 101 certification badge. Add it to your LinkedIn profile. Sing it from the rooftops: I’m product launch-certified!