How to plan a marketing launch

It is exciting to launch something new. You might be unveiling a redesigned website, introducing a customer loyalty program, or implementing a new lead scoring system. Whatever it is that you are introducing, you will want to build a plan that makes it clear exactly what needs to be done and when.

It can be stressful because of the many moving parts and people involved. How do you know if you are on track? Your marketing launch plan captures how you will introduce a new offering, feature, or program to customers.

What is the purpose of a marketing launch?

It helps to first think about the purpose behind the launch itself. Any launch is usually an important part of your overall marketing plan — part of how you will meet your business objectives. So you want to build a goal-first plan that reflects how your marketing launch is connected to your company’s strategy and goals.

Launches are also great opportunities to engage with prospective customers and provide even more value to your existing users. Marketing launches are typically external-facing and may involve product changes, so the work is inherently cross-functional and will impact many teams in your organization.

Components of a marketing launch plan

Your plan will help you communicate deadlines and progress with teammates and stakeholders. You can also share any schedule changes as the work gets underway. Include all the details of the work you will do — including the “who,” “what,” and “when” for each task. Here are the key components to include:

Dates

Dates provide a timeline to work towards. Choose your time frame based on the duration of your marketing launch. Are you launching in quarters, months, weeks, or days? Determine the level of detail you want to include.

Tasks

Tasks represent the activities or pieces of work to be done. Common marketing launch activities include website updates, ads, announcement emails, and blog posts. You should denote the start date, end date, and duration of each task. Show who each task is assigned to and include a progress bar if possible.

Phases

Phases are a way to group tasks together. Typically phases are sequential, though there can be overlap. You can use phases to group related work, such as planning, design, tracking, and launch day activities.

Milestones

Milestones are key points in time on your schedule. You will want to include a milestone for the launch day you are working towards. You can also include markers for other significant dates, deadlines, and decisions.

Dependencies

Dependencies help you visualize which tasks must be completed before another can begin or end. Because of the cross-functional nature of marketing launches, you will want to show the interrelated work between teams to make it easy for them to coordinate.

Success metrics

Success metrics are the specific goals you define for your launch. Set numerical targets and connect your launch goals to your overall business goals to help align expectations from the start.

How to create a marketing launch plan

Now that you know the components of a marketing launch plan, you can start creating yours. The steps below will help you establish a solid plan. Of course, your details will be unique based on what you are launching, your company, and your customers.

  1. Define success: Determine what you want to achieve in your launch. Set specific launch metrics and connect those to your broader marketing and company goals.

  2. Set the direction: You can write a creative brief to set the direction for the launch. Include key information about your target audience, creative assets, and promotional channels. A product marketing manager or creative director will typically write this to help guide the work of the creative team or agency.

  3. Meet deadlines: Because your marketing launch relates to something new, you will likely have a pre-established launch date and your timeline will be fixed. You use the phases and milestones we defined in the marketing launch plan components above to highlight exactly what needs to happen and when.

  4. Build the plan: Identify all of the tasks and cross-functional dependencies to help everyone stay aligned leading up to the launch.

  5. Track progress: Share the plan with your team members so they can complete their work, collaborate on activities, and provide status updates.

Many teams find a Gantt chart useful for visualizing and showing dependencies between different launch activities and phases. Below is a free Gantt chart template you can use for planning your next marketing launch.

What to do after the launch

Your work does not end on the day the launch happens. You will want to debrief with your team so you can apply the learnings of what went well (and what did not) to your next launch. Finally, be sure to share the launch results with the different teams that contributed towards making it a success — show how the team’s work impacted your organization’s overall goals.


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