This is the fourth posting in my series of “Five Steps to Technology Commercialization.” Earlier, I introduced a commercialization framework for new and innovative business development (click here to read it). The key objectives of Launch phase are:
- Learning from market response
Customers will quickly respond to many decisions you have made until you decided put your product (either an early prototype or the final product) in front of customers. This is the best time to test all your assumptions (eg., features, pricing, distribution) and modify as needed. It is strongly recommended that you incorporate multiple launch phases rather than one “big bang” approach. Each of your launches should be designed to learn specific lessons to guide the remainder of your activities.
- Creating awareness while building delivery capability
Awareness building has to be done both with internal resources (marketing & sales) and external entities (customers, distribution channels). Creating both pull (customers) and push (sales) requires effort and time. Multiple launch phases, each aimed at a different group, are the recommended approach. Early adopters will help you jump over the chasm (a la Geoffrey Moore). This phase is the perfect time to start building relations with your customers and generating early sales. Early adopters are a different breed of customers, that you will need to nourish and learn from.
- Identify key performance indicators (KPIs)
Real market interaction is the best time to start building your KPIs, which you will use to make decisions later on. As I will cover in the next step, Monitor, your business success depends on what you measure and how you respond when they go out of your “ideals.” Launch phase is a good time to experiment with different sets of KPIs and decide which set provides you with the most complete picture of how your business is doing.
Here is how you achieve these objectives:
- Incorporate multiple launch phases into your plan
- Define what you intend to learn and how you intend to do it for each phase
- Create a quick-response culture, modify per market response
- Engage customers early on to create relevant leads and convert them to sales
Build and optimize operational capability (production, sales, service, support, maintenance)
Manage partnerships (if any)
I welcome your comments on my blog. Please share this posting if you find it helpful. If you have any questions, comments or thoughts, I would love to hear from you.