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Product launch plan
10 min read

How to create a product launch plan

You could have the best product in the world, but fail to launch it effectively and you’re going to be met with a tonne of tumbleweed.

Product launch plans have been used for decades as strategic roadmaps to introduce new products and services to the market effectively. But what exactly do they involve? And are they realistically feasible for small business owners who are tight on time, budget and resources?

This article breaks things down to show you where to start, what to put into action, common challenges you can overcome and – crucially – how to maintain momentum. (And we throw in some real life examples at the end, too.)

What is a product launch plan?

A product launch plan is a document that outlines the tasks and timelines necessary to engage users with your new product. It’s a way for businesses to introduce it to the world via a spider web of connected marketing activities that are designed to generate buzz, build anticipation and drive demand.

But simply pressing a ‘launch’ button isn’t going to cut it. You need a carefully crafted product launch plan in place to deliver the fanfare and customer demand that your product (and business!) deserves.

How to create a product launch plan: A step-by-step approach

Let’s run through the key steps to follow from developing your product idea through to launch and evaluation.

1. Market research and planning

This initial stage involves thorough market research to understand customer needs, preferences and the competitive landscape. Identify your target audience, assess market trends and refine your product offering to meet specific market demands. Make sure to set clear objectives, realistic timelines and allocate budget and resources effectively.

2. Product development and testing

Once your market research is complete, you can proceed with product development to ensure your offering aligns with the customer needs and preferences you’ve identified. This stage involves designing, prototyping and testing the product to ensure its functionality, usability and quality meet expectations. The feedback from your testing phases should be carefully incorporated to refine your product further.

3. Write a positioning statement

When launching a product, you need to be able to clearly state what it is and how it fills a need in the market. Get to grips with your unique value proposition and the key benefits that differentiate you from your competitors. Who is the product for? What does it do? Why is it different from other products out there?

Once established, present it to key stakeholders in your business to hear their feedback, and ensure you’re all on the same page. Remember, if your own team encounters difficulties in embracing the product, it’s likely your customers will face similar reservations. Alternatively, if your team loves the product, it serves as a promising indicator for a successful product launch.

4. Branding, marketing and promotion

Marketing efforts play a pivotal role in generating excitement and anticipation for your upcoming product launch. Firstly, you need to take your market research information and positioning statement and let it steer the inspiration behind your branding, including:

  • Product name, logo and tagline
  • Colour palette, imagery and typography
  • Brand, marketing and communication guidelines
  • Packaging

Ensure your product branding aligns with your main brand, but has its own identity to mark it apart from your other offerings.

Establish a comprehensive product launch marketing plan that uses various channels such as social media, email marketing, content marketing and influencer partnerships to reach your target audience effectively. Teasers, sneak peeks, and pre-launch promotions can help build anticipation and generate early interest.

5. Plan your go-to-market strategy

This outlines the approach you’ll adopt for introducing and marketing your product.

As you devise the strategy, begin contemplating the type of content you’ll use to capture the interest of potential customers throughout the stages of awareness, consideration, and purchase decision.

6. Set launch goals

This will help you focus your efforts on launch tactics that will help you achieve them. A useful way to do this is to write them out like SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.

Then you can begin clarifying the KPIs you want to track, such as sales revenue, units sold, customer acquisition and conversion rate.

7. Create marketing content

Once you’ve mapped out your go-to-market strategy and established your SMART goals, it’s time to commence the creation of content that complements and reinforces them. This content might include:

  • Helpful and informative blog posts
  • Demonstrations and tutorials
  • Email campaigns
  • Social media updates
  • Optimised landing pages
  • Videos
  • PPC ads

8. Test and get feedback

Also known as a ‘soft launch’, this is a way to introduce a new product to a limited audience or market segment before a full-scale public release. Make your product available to a select group of customers, typically in a controlled or restricted manner. Gather feedback, identify potential issues and make any necessary adjustments or improvements before the official public release.

9. Get your distribution channels in place

If your customers can’t buy your product easily, you’re going to have a problem.

Well-planned distribution channels help accelerate your product’s time to market. By preemptively establishing these channels prior to your launch, you can swiftly distribute the product as soon as it becomes accessible. You may wish to look into using a fulfilment service that will deal with the whole packaging and delivery side of things.

For example, shipping and customs issues are common areas that can cause serious delays to delivering products on time and in many cases, can create a PR storm. Get your distribution channels firmly in place and tested well before your official launch.

10. Prep your team

Ensure that your company and key stakeholders are fully prepared for the product launch and marketing activities to commence by granting them early access to the product to allow them to acquaint themselves with it firsthand, organising training sessions and creating sales materials.

11. Launch execution

Launch day has arrived! Ensure a flawless execution by holding a team meeting to ensure everyone is clear on what’s happening and when, and their responsibilities such as closely monitoring social media and customer support.

12. Post-launch evaluation and optimisation

Following the launch, it’s essential to evaluate the performance of the product launch against your predefined objectives. Analysing sales data, customer feedback and market response can provide valuable insights for future iterations and optimisations. Continuous monitoring and adaptation based on your insights gathered will help ensure ongoing success and sustained growth in the market.

Common challenges and how to overcome them

There are various challenges that you are likely to face when launching a new product to market. Being aware is the first step, then it’s a question of how you plan to overcome each of these product launch challenges.

Timing issues

Delays in product development, manufacturing or marketing can disrupt your planned product launch timeline, leading to missed opportunities or decreased momentum. To avoid delays, create a detailed timeline with buffer periods for unexpected setbacks. Regularly communicate with all stakeholders and suppliers to ensure everyone is aligned and aware of deadlines.

Insufficient market understanding

Inadequate market research may result in misalignment between the product and customer needs, leading to low demand or poor reception upon launch. Comprehensive market research will help you to really understand customer needs and preferences. You can do this by engaging with potential customers through surveys, focus groups and beta testing to gather feedback and refine your product accordingly.

Poor communication

Ineffective communication within the team or with external partners can lead to misunderstandings, coordination issues, and ultimately, a disjointed launch strategy. Champion open communication channels within the team and with external partners. Regular meetings, clear documentation and project management tools can help ensure everyone stays informed and aligned.

Limited resources

Small businesses often face resource constraints, such as budget limitations or staffing shortages, which can impact the execution of the launch plan and limit the reach and effectiveness of marketing efforts. Prioritise tasks based on impact and feasibility, and consider outsourcing certain activities if resources are limited. Look for cost-effective marketing strategies, such as leveraging social media and partnerships, to maximise reach on a budget.


If budget is your biggest stumbling block, take a look at crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter, which allows individuals, startups and small businesses to raise funds for creative projects, products, and ventures. Users create project pages outlining their idea, setting a funding goal and a deadline. Supporters, or “backers,” can then pledge money to help bring the project to life. If the funding goal is met within the set timeframe, the project creators receive the funds to execute their project, and backers typically receive rewards or incentives based on their level of contribution. If the funding goal is not met, no money is exchanged and the project does not move forward. (You’ll find some examples of successful product launches below, some of which started with Kickstarter.)

Competitive challenges

Intense competition within the market can make it difficult for your new product to stand out or gain traction, especially if competitors have established brands or larger marketing budgets. Differentiate your product by highlighting its unique features, benefits or value proposition. Emphasise customer testimonials, reviews or endorsements to build credibility and trust with potential buyers.

Technical issues

Technical glitches or product defects discovered post-launch can damage brand reputation and erode customer trust, requiring immediate attention and remediation. Conduct thorough testing and quality assurance measures before the launch to identify and address any technical glitches or product defects. Have contingency plans in place to quickly resolve issues that may arise post-launch. (Having to recall a defective product that could have been avoided would be a sure-fire way of tanking the success of the product!)

Lack of customer engagement

Failure to engage with customers effectively through marketing campaigns, customer support channels or community-building efforts can result in low awareness, interest and adoption of the new product. Develop a robust marketing and engagement strategy that includes various channels such as content creation, social media and email marketing. Encourage two-way communication with customers through feedback forms, forums and community platforms to encourage engagement and loyalty.

Overlooking feedback

This is a big no-no. Ignoring or dismissing customer feedback and market data during and after the launch can prevent you from making necessary adjustments or improvements to your product and marketing strategy. Regularly monitor metrics such as sales performance, customer satisfaction and market trends to identify areas for optimisation. Knowledge is power.

Post-launch strategy: Sustaining product success

You’ve managed to charm up some interest in your product and made some initial sales… but this isn’t the time to kick back and bask in your launch glory. In fact, this is the stage that requires the same – if not more – effort and strategic planning to maintain momentum and relevance over the long term.

So, how do you do this?

  • 1. Continuous marketing and promotion

    Maintain visibility by consistently promoting your product through targeted marketing campaigns, content creation and engagement initiatives. Use a mix of channels such as social media, email marketing and influencer partnerships to reach both existing and potential customers.

  • 2. Encourage post-launch reviews

    Post-launch reviews are crucial for sustaining product success by evaluating performance, gathering feedback and identifying opportunities for improvement. This will help you continually adapt and enhance your offering for the better.

  • 3. Customer engagement and support

    Foster ongoing relationships with customers through proactive communication, personalised support and community-building efforts. Encourage user-generated content, facilitate peer-to-peer interactions and provide resources that add value beyond the product itself. Be as helpful as you can to build that long-term relationship.

  • 4. Product updates and enhancements

    Regularly release updates, upgrades and new features to keep your product fresh, relevant and competitive in the eyes of customers. Ask for feedback from users to prioritise enhancements that address their evolving needs and pain points. Customers will be loyal to brands when they feel listened to and catered for.

  • 5. Loyalty programmes and incentives

    Reward loyal customers and incentivise repeat purchases through loyalty programs, exclusive offers and referral incentives. Create a sense of belonging and appreciation among customers, motivating them to remain engaged with your brand over the long term.
  • 6. Monitoring and adaptation

    Continuously monitor market trends, customer feedback and the competitive landscape to identify shifts or opportunities that may require adjustments to your post-launch strategy. Remain agile and adaptable, willing to pivot and innovate in response to changing market dynamics.

Real life examples of successful product launches: Stubble & Co

British bag brand Stubble & Co was founded on a simple idea: to design the perfect bag for every journey.

Tough, durable and multifunctional, its bags are built to be versatile, wherever the destination – from daily commutes to weekend pursuits.

Stubble & Co launched its first product via a Kickstarter fundraiser in March 2017. Before launching the campaign, the brand left no stone unturned, ensuring the bag was of the highest quality, but also that the messaging and creative effectively communicated what the brand stood for and the features of the product. Leveraging its network was a key focus, with the primary goal to garner support and shares to maximise campaign reach, rather than solely pushing for sales.

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The response to Stubble & Co’s first Kickstarter campaign exceeded expectations, with £82,000 worth of bags sold within the first 30 days. This validation demonstrated a clear market demand for its product and gave Stubble & Co the initial momentum it needed to turn the founders’ vision into reality. Additionally, Kickstarter provided a platform for early funding, significantly reducing initial startup costs and mitigating risks.

Over the past three years, the brand has achieved sustained triple-digit growth and exceptional sales CAGR of 173%. The business has retained its focus on brand-building and stayed true to its mission of using the business as a force for good, becoming a certified B Corporation® in 2023.


A Scottish startup that revolutionised outdoor cooking with their portable pizza ovens.

After prototyping the design, Kristian Tapaninaho and co-founder Darina Garland turned to Kickstarter to fund their initial production run. Ten years later, Ooni is the world’s biggest home pizza oven brand and one of the fastest-growing companies in the UK, with an ever expanding network of retailers and teams all over the world.

And it all started with one Kickstarter campaign. What Ooni found was that by getting funding through this route, a community immediately started to build around the product – cheering the business on to be successful and get things off the ground. The demand was there before the product was-! Ooni organically generated its initial marketing push.

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What’s more, every penny received wasn’t simply an investment in the success of the idea, but it was actual sales – helping the founders confidently invest in manufacturing.

Ooni’s built-in community from Kickstarter was fundamental in shaping the business. The credibility and buzz generated by customers who connected through their love of the business idea – and of pizza! – has been pivotal for the brand. 

And having launched through both Kickstarter and Shopify, Ooni was able to be international from day one, even though its HQ is in Edinburgh.

The business could test and release sooner by establishing a vital feedback loop from the get-go. Without it, the founders would not have had the same freedom to design the business in the way they did.

Smart social media marketing and influencer partnerships built on this – generating significant buzz and demand for the products globally. Ooni is now a leader in the outdoor cooking industry.

Pollen + Grace

Established in 2015, this London-based food startup launched a range of healthy and nutritious ready-to-eat meals and snacks. Through strategic partnerships with gyms, fitness centres, corporate offices as well as successful pop ups, the business effectively reached its target audience of health-conscious consumers. After achieving SALSA accreditation in 2017, business owners Steph and Kris successfully went after the supermarkets, becoming officially nationwide after launching in Ocado in 2018 and Co-op in 2019, which led to rapid growth and expansion.

Pollen + Grace also focused on ‘nourishing the NHS’ in 2020, and donated hundreds of meals to hospitals around London and partnered with The Doctor’s Kitchen to launch a Limited Edition meal with 100% of proceeds going to NHS Charities Together.

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2021 and the business added Tesco to their stockist list while revamping their recipes and increasing portion sizes to pass some more savings back to their customers. 2021 also saw the business partner with UKHarvest to fight food poverty in the UK.

The brand can now also be found in Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Whole Foods.

Pollen + Grace is a prime example of a small business being crystal clear on their goal: to make healthy, fresh meals accessible to everyone. And it’s achieving just that through smart partnerships and focusing on delivering affordable and quality meals to their customers. Its active charity work also makes it a brand that people can connect with on a level beyond great tasting food.

Cocoba Chocolate

This UK chocolatier successfully launched a line of luxury chocolate products. Through meticulous branding, premium packaging and an emphasis on quality ingredients, the business differentiated itself in a crowded market. Its innovative flavours and gift-ready packaging resonated with consumers, leading to increased sales and widespread recognition.

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