Measuring actual results against expectations is one of the most critical launch focus areas and also the one that is often overlooked. This is primarily the result of the perception of a launch as an event versus a process.
The type of measurement and monitoring required changes as the phases progress through the launch process. Initially the team is measuring activities against the plan and spending against the budget. The focus of these measurements are to ensure timelines are met, assets and deliverables are ready and budgets are not exceeded.
Once execution is underway the focus continues to be on activity and budget management but expands to also include results. For Promotional and Market Impact launches key performance indicators tend to fall in 3 categories:
- Target Market Awareness
- Internal Enablement– capability of sales and services/support often measured by engagement metrics and time to closure metrics
- External Awareness – media and market awareness both aided and unaided as well as social media volume and type of exposure (positive and negative)
- Pipeline Development
- The volume and value of sales opportunities, supported by early stage lead development through social media, web and online shopping site interest/hits
- Revenue/Bookings Growth
- Actual sales of the product or service in question over a 3-12 month period as compared to previous sales and expected results
Finally, measurement and monitoring should include analysis of the launch process, the launch team and the launch results themselves to inform and improve the overall process and any other launches underway. This can be accomplished via the regular Monitoring phase meetings as well as through surveys of the launch team and affected groups to understand what worked well and what could be improved.
As you hopefully now can see, effective launches are involved processes that engage a cross functional internal team and numerous external audiences. With companies spending 5%, 10%, 15% or more of their revenue on product and service development why would they not ensure the Planning, Communication and Measurement of the launch of the output of this investment is done every bit as well.
How has this process overview resonated with you? What impact will this have in your next product launch? Drop us a note about the changes you are implementing. And if you need a sounding board or some assistance for your next launch, let us know how we can help.
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