What is the Objective of a Product Launch?

Have you ever stopped and asked the question “How do we know if our product launch was successful?” or maybe the more fundamental question is “What is a Product Launch?”.

What is the objective of a product launch?

A product launch is a coordinated effort to bring a product to market that accelerates business objectives

Let’s use that definition as a starting point.

Launch objectives determine if your product launch was a success or not. It’s how the score is kept. It’s how you claim victory.

Launch objectives have much more impact than just measurement. They also drive the parameters for the product launch readiness of your entire organization.

What goes into defining launch objectives?

Good launch objectives are clear and easily understood by most people in your organization. They should be driven by the objectives of your business. The fewer launch objectives, the better.

There are three things to look for in well-defined launch objectives.

  1. A metric that can be measured
  2. A quantity of that metric to achieve
  3. A timeframe to achieve the quantity
Attributes of a product launch objective
Attributes of a product launch objective

The launch objective is to [increase/decrease] [metric] by [quantity] by [timeframe]

Good or Not?

Test it out for yourself.

Good or not? A launch objective is to increase customer satisfaction.

Not good. The good is there is a metric: customer satisfaction. The bad is there is no timeframe or quantity. We’re also assuming that increasing customer satisfaction supports a higher-level business objective.

Good or not? A launch objective is to increase revenue by 20% by the end of Q4.

Good! The metric is revenue. The quantity is an increase of 20%. The timeframe is the end of Q4.

Launch objectives can be about anything as long as it’s measurable and time bound. It can be about revenue, sales pipeline, awareness, adoption, customer churn, reference customers, product reviews, or customer satisfaction just to name a few.

Creating deliverables on time is not a measure of product launch success. Conducting a sales training session is not a measure of product launch success.

Deliverables are outputs, they don’t define outcomes

A Simple Structure for Defining Launch Objectives

Here’s a simple framework to help you build launch objectives.

  1. Establish the objectives of the business. What is the business trying to accomplish? If no one knows the objectives of the business you’re probably in trouble before you get started.
  2. Document the objectives of the product. What are you trying to accomplish with the product? If no one knows the objectives of the product you’re probably in trouble too.
  3. Do the product objectives support the objectives of the business? No? You got an alignment problem and it needs to be resolved. Yes? Continue.
  4. Develop a set of possible launch objectives (with metrics, quantities, and timeframes).
  5. Reduce that set to the smallest possible set (a set of one is perfect). Remember that this exercise is about defining the success of a product launch not trying to please everyone. Be wary of scope creep.
  6. Document the launch objectives, propose them to your launch stakeholders, gain approval and socialize them with your launch team.

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are ideal for defining launch objectives. Why? OKRs measure the performance of an initiative that is cross functional. Launching a product is as cross functional as it gets.

For those of you familiar with objectives and key results (OKRs) give it a try. You’ll find that launch objectives are a perfect fit for OKRs.

If you are unfamiliar with OKRs please read John Doerr’s Measure What Matters. An OKR is broken down into simple parts using this structure:

[objective] the qualitative part

as measured by

[key result 1] the quantitative parts

[key result 2]

[key result 3]

The beauty of OKRs is that it measures outcomes rather than outputs.

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Dave Daniels is the founder of BrainKraft and the creator of the BrainKraft Product Launch Framework and the BrainKraft Product Launch Master Class, the best way to launch a product.

Technology executive, founder of BrainKraft