If you’ve ever launched a new product, you’ll know that it’s a process that consists of many coordinated efforts.
When you're about to launch one for the first time, this guide - as well as the rest we’ve made for you - will shed some light on what a solid product launch plan looks like.
Among many other things, something you need to take into account is the product launch timeline, which we’ll cover today.
More specifically, we’re going to talk about:
Plus, we’ll share our free product launch timeline template for you to get started, so stay tuned!
Without further ado, let’s get started.
A product launch timeline consists of all the activities that need to take place for a successful product launch.
What’s more, those activities need to be taken care of on time, so the launch timeline helps you stay on schedule.
You can think of it as a visual roadmap of every step throughout the launch process, from the planning phase all the way to the launch date; sometimes it can even cover the post-launch phase.
To be more clear, a product launch timeline consists of:
It’s worth pointing out that the specific time ranges between the phases and the activities are entirely up to you.
For example, your pre-launch activities can start six months prior to the launch day or be as little as a few weeks.
The timeline is simply there to help you stay on schedule and ensure that every aspect of your product launch strategy has been completed on time.
Overall, a product launch timeline can prove to be a vital tool for a successful new product launch.
Let’s see exactly why that is.
In a nutshell, a product launch timeline is important because it helps you stay on schedule with all your tasks, as well as monitor your progress along the way.
If we dive a little deeper into it, we’ll uncover more reasons why it’s such a valuable tool.
This is exactly what we’re going to do, so let’s get started with the first reason.
Efficient management of the launch phases is one of the most prominent reasons why a detailed product launch roadmap is so important.
As we briefly covered earlier, a product launch consists of many things such as:
As well as anything else that is essential to a complete go-to-market strategy.
The tasks above not only need to be executed efficiently but also must be on time in order to be on track for the official launch date.
According to a Harvard Business Review study, one of the most common problems faced by most companies during any product launch is the lack of preparation.
A timeline helps prevent exactly that; by setting dates that each of your tasks needs to be done by, you manage each launch phase smoothly and with optimal deliverables.
Let’s continue to the next reason.
Similar to our previous point, another reason why product launch timelines are important is that they allow for more effective planning.
When it comes to releasing a new product to the market, your organization is key; so being able to always plan your next moves can play a crucial rule.
In order to do that, however, you’ll need to have a clear roadmap in your mind.
Answering simple questions like the ones that follow can be particularly useful:
Having a specific time frame in place for those - as well as all the other - actions will allow you to always be able to think one step ahead.
After all, no matter what your role in the launch process is, planning is more often than not an essential part of it.
Let’s move on to the third reason.
Assuming that all product development tasks have been taken care of and that you have a great product ready to be released, it’s equally important to make your potential customers feel excited about it.
This is also known as buzz marketing; a type of viral marketing that tries to get people talking about a product or marketing campaign.
There are a bunch of ways you can achieve this, such as social media and referral marketing, and product launch timelines also play an important role in this.
The answer is that simply listing impactful marketing actions isn’t enough; it’s of great importance that you decide when each one will take place for optimal results.
In fact, 77% of consumers want different content at each stage of the product launch process, so knowing what to do and when to do it can be a game-changer.
Just to give you an idea, let’s suppose that you want to capture emails from your target audience to inform them about the official launch of your product.
As you can imagine, this is a lengthy process and needs to be done quite ahead of the launch day; starting to gather emails a few days prior will simply not give you enough time.
This is exactly why having a specific timeline in place is a good idea; it’ll help you build anticipation early enough.
In every product launch, there are various stakeholders involved; from project management and marketing teams to product managers and designers.
While each team member can - and should - contribute significantly to the project, being able to collaborate and communicate effectively isn’t always simple.
A product launch timeline can play its part in this process, so that you know:
Which will help prevent confusions and misunderstandings.
After all, with so many different teams involved in a typical product launch, being able to collaborate effectively is key.
This is exactly why we recommend setting up a product launch timeline; it can allow better cooperation and a smoother workflow.
All in all, timelines are an integral part of any good product launch strategy.
Now that we’ve seen the most prominent benefits of one, let’s have a look at what they should consist of.
In this part of our guide, we’re going to talk about the most important components of a product launch timeline.
Obviously, each launch is different and can have unique characteristics.
However, the following elements are common in the vast majority of launches.
With that being said, let’s get started.
The pre-launch stage plays a vital role in the success of a new product.
It consists of all the actions that’ll be taken a few months or weeks before the launch takes place and aims to create a breeding ground for building anticipation, raising awareness, as well as optimizing product features.
Just to give you an idea, some of the things you need to take into account during the pre-launch stage include:
This will allow enough time not only for you to set them up but also for them to take effect.
Author’s Note: Don’t forget to add a deadline for the completion of each of those tasks.
A new product’s pre-launch stage is a lot of hard work, for sure.
However, if everything is organized and streamlined into a timeline, the results can be outstanding.
Moving on to the next stage.
As you know, the launch stage comes right after the pre-launch stage.
This refers to actually launching your product, as well as many other things that need to be taken into account such as implementing all the plans you’ve created and officially announcing the launch.
What’s more, you need to keep promoting your product through email marketing campaigns, content marketing efforts, and other marketing activities.
This will ensure that as many new customers as possible learn about your product when it’s already been launched.
You can even begin measuring some early results, such as how many sales or signups you gained on the launch day.
To sum up, the launch stage is very important as it’s your opportunity to show your target market the results of your hard work and how beneficial your product will be.
Obviously, it’s included in our product launch timeline template which we’ll share later, but for now, let’s move on to the post-launch stage.
You’ve successfully introduced your new product to the market.
What’s important to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t stop working hard after the launch, since the post-launch stage is really important.
This consists of activities such as:
All of which will ensure that your product doesn’t stagnate, but you keep optimizing it based on your users’ feedback and promoting it so new people to learn about it.
What’s more, you need to measure the necessary results.
After all, how else will you know if your launch was successful or not?
Overall, these three stages and their tasks are an integral part of any product launch timeline.
Let’s have a quick look at what else you can add to it.
Like we talked about earlier in our fourth reason product launch timelines can really improve collaboration and communication between team members.
One of the most prominent ways this is achieved is through the use of CTAs, or calls to action.
Such CTAs can prompt stakeholders to work on specific tasks they’ve been assigned to and inform them about the deadlines.
CTAs like “Start working on the product marketing campaign tomorrow, please” or “Please have the product launch press release ready by next week” are examples of what one team member might say to another.
Author’s Note: CTAs on product launch timelines play an important role in ensuring effective communication.
We saw what a complete product launch timeline consists of, plus the reasons why you should create one.
However, if you’re wondering how to create one, you can download the free template that we’ve made for you.
Let’s have a look at it.
In this last part of our guide before we wrap things up, we’re going to share with you our free product launch timeline template.
Let’s briefly see how you can use it.
First of all, at the top left, you have the option of adding your product launch date.
Having it in a clear place will allow you to make better decisions in the next steps.
Next up, it’s time to define your actions in the pre-launch stage; this is covered in the 90 days prior, 60 days prior, and 30 days prior columns.
Author’s Note: “Prior” refers to the days before the launch.
You can adjust the time frame based on your own needs, but as you can see below, each column has certain actions you can add to it.
Just to give you an idea, creating a strategy, conducting market research, setting objectives, and announcing the launch date are all things you can do in the pre-launch phase of our template.
Moving on to the product launch day, here you can add many actions for your team members to see.
Some of them include announcing the official launch, promoting the product, sending press releases, and measuring some results.
Of course, you can add any other action based on your needs, but we believe that the existing ones will cover most cases.
After you’ve settled on all the actions for the launch stage, feel free to move on to the post-launch stage in our template.
Similar to the pre-launch stage, it’s represented by the 30 days after, 60 days after, and 90 days after columns.
They allow you to assign tasks accordingly, such as continuing to gather feedback, improving and promoting the product even after the launch.
As you can see, our template is simple to use and covers a wide range of actions for you to assign to your team members, according to each product launch stage.
All in all, don’t forget to add a product launch timeline to your overall strategy, after seeing what benefits it can generate for you.
Let’s wrap things up with some final words.
The estimated time for a product launch varies on the industry and the team’s expertise.
On average, however, a full product launch from the pre-launch to the post-launch stage can take anywhere from six months to one year.
Having the first movers' advantage in the market certainly has its own benefits, but what ultimately matters is the quality of your product and how better it covers people’s needs compared to your competitors.
In a nutshell, it doesn’t matter if you launch before or after your competitors.
There isn’t a single best time that all products should be launched, since each case is different.
However, if you have everything in place during the pre-launch stage and are ready to release your product, you can do that as soon as possible.
There you have it!
That was our full guide to product launch timelines.
We've talked about what they are, how they work, their benefits, as well as what they consist of.
Moreover, we've shared with you our free template which you can use to get started with your own timeline.
We truly hope that you gained some insightful information, which will prove to be valuable in your future product launch efforts.
Thanks for reading!