During new product development (NPD), many leadership teams focus on the various steps (or “stage gates”) leading up to the all-important launch date, but an under-appreciated opportunity is to treat the product launch as a critical stage in the NPD process. Arguably, assessing the product’s performance after your product launch is a key step to verify product-market fit and set up both your customers and internal teams for long-term success.
A post-product launch review allows brands to evaluate how the product is performing compared to the expectations and goals established during the initial stages of the new product development process and spot potential improvements to the product’s market fit. Rarely is a new product launch immediately successful — rather, it requires intentional and incremental tweaks based on market feedback like:
- Who is using the product and who is not?
- Why are they using it or not?
- What attributes are most and least appealing to early adopters?
- How does this compare or contrast to our hypothesis pre-launch?
Evaluate how your product is performing and gather insights to improve and grow with the following five product launch review questions.
Question 1: Who are our early adopters?
As soon as a product achieves basic traction, companies should unpack exactly who these personas are. Asking questions like:
- How are they using it?
- Why are they using it?
- Are these use cases similar or dissimilar to what we anticipated?
- What do they love about it? What do they not? Why?
The answers to these questions can lead to new messaging, additional product support ideas, or feature enhancements.
Question 2: How should we position the product?
After reviewing the initial fundamentals of who the early adopters are and why they are or are not using the product, the issue of product positioning arises. Using empirical data to understand the following questions is critical to understand:
- What need or problem is the product solving?
- How effective is it at addressing that need vs. competitive products in the market?
- What attributes are most important for customers when they consider this product?
- What attributes were least important for customers?
- How satisfied are customers with those attributes?
If your product is not being accurately presented, it will turn your target customers away. Timely analysis of these factors can allow marketing and sales teams to update their messaging and pitches early into the product launch process to accurately align with customer preferences and potentially win back customers who were disengaged from the initial messaging.
Is your messaging resonating with your target customers? Align your messaging to customer needs with product message testing.
Question 3: What adjacent markets are available for this product?
If you’ve successfully launched a new product to an existing customer segment, start looking at adjacent markets to determine if the product could fill an unmet need there too. With the product performing well in its original market, companies have the momentum and buy-in from the sales team necessary to begin planting the seeds for expanding into new market segments.
However, before you invest in expanding to a new market, make sure you understand the needs of this new customer base. What works for your initial customer base may not work in the new market. By understanding the values and preferences of the new market you can properly align your sales and marketing efforts to effectively target this new segment.
- What adjacent segments would be relevant for this product?
- How big are those markets?
- What amendments to this product’s pricing, features, and go-to-market strategy are required?
Question 4: How can we make the product better?
A successful launch does not guarantee the product will continue to be successful. By constantly adapting and improving a product, a company increases the product’s chances of long-term survival. Customer satisfaction studies can generate ideas for upgrades and product improvements, ensuring long-term adoption and product loyalty. These studies ask customers questions like:
- What features are missing from this product?
- Is there anything you would change about this product?
- Are you likely to purchase this product again? Why or why not?
Asking these questions provides brands with insight into unmet needs and opportunities for growth.
Learn how customers view your product and discover opportunities for improvement with a customer satisfaction survey.
Question 5: What other products should we add to our pipeline?
A new product launch is particularly effective for generating ideas for even more new products. For example, when Apple created the iPod, it opened the market for all kinds of new products in the form of accessories: headphones, holders, car adaptors, docking stations, and the now-ubiquitous iPhone. By channeling early feedback from the market, companies can generate ideas for additional products or service offerings to offer their engaged and loyal customer base.
To gather actionable insights to strengthen your product’s performance, brands should conduct a post-launch product review within the first few weeks of the launch and repeat the product review periodically to assess the market’s reaction over time. These reoccurring reviews will also allow you to measure the impact of any changes you make to improve your product and marketing to align with customer feedback.