strengths.

Remedy #2 for product launches & start ups -- "Plan."

If you're with an established company, your launch plan should include the essential elements outlined below. For start ups, the plan is more complicated, but these steps are still necessary, and should be sufficient to prove the viability of the opportunity - as well as validate the go-to-market strategy and programs.

a) Executive Summary: This is always the first section of the plan, but it's the last that's written. It's also the most important - it motivates your prospects to want to read on. Keep it short - no more than 2 pages.

b) The Opportunity: It's your idea so you think it's great. It's essential you conduct rigorous research be sure there's a real & recognized want or need out there.

c) Product/Service: Describe your offering, what it does, and its major benefits.

d) Markets: Identify the markets it can serve effectively. The one with the strongest sales story, fastest penetration, and fastest payout is first. Keep the list short: 3 or 4.

e) Competition: Scour the industry and find all potential competitors. Analyze their strengths & weaknesses fully and impartially.

f) Strengths/Weaknesses: Based on this competitive analysis, list your relative strengths & weaknesses. NB: a benefit where you have a slight edge, but is very important to your prospects will sell more than a less-attractive benefit where you dominate.

g) Positioning Statement: A powerful statement that describes your offering in the most succinct, persuasive manner possible. 20 words or less; start with "The only. . ."

h) Sales/Market Strategy: You've identified your top markets. How will you get to them? Publicity, Ads, Website, etc. will get you noticed. Once you've created interest, how will you reach them? Telemarketing? Direct Sales? Dealers? Mfr. Reps?

i) Pricing: If your offering is not exclusive, competitive pricing is a good guide. If there are no competitors use an ROI analysis. If you have disruptive technology, you can command a premium, but will probably have to reduce pricing in the future.

j) Revenue Projections: These are estimates of how many units you expect to sell times the price you expect to charge. You should project for two years out, at least.

k) Launch Costs: R&D costs + Production costs + Sales & Marketing costs +Overhead.

l) Profit Projections: Total projected sales minus all anticipated costs. 2 years out.

m) Appendix: In order to keep all of the above sections of the plan as brief and cogent as possible, include details that reinforce statements and conclusions here.

Author:.

Neil Mahoney has over 30 years experience in all areas of Sales & Marketing: * Corporate Communications: GENERAL ELECTRIC * National Sales Mgr, VP Marketing: BAUSCH & LOMB * VP Group Publisher: ABC Broadcasting * VP Sales & Marketing: GELTECH CORP * Director Consumer Marketing: LS STARRETT CO. * Owner: MAHONEYMARKETING

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