Best Practices for Executing a Successful Product Launch
Oriana Papin-Zoghbi, CEO and co-founder of AOA Dx Inc shares her advice on how to lead a successful product launch.
I’ve spent most of my career launching novel diagnostics to change clinical care. This includes everything from maternal care tests to Labor and Delivery units in the US to point of care HPV systems through mobile clinics in East Africa. When thinking about launching a disruptive technology, I have found that often we spend too much time building marketing collateral and social media campaigns and not enough time understanding the customer and need.
The times I experienced the most success launching a product was when I followed these three tips:
- Understand your customer: months before launching, conduct numerous customer surveys and interviews. Speak to at least 50–100 potential customers and truly understand their pain points. Design a survey with at least 10 key questions and jot down everything they say. You will be able to pick up a lot more when you re-read and analyze your interview notes. At AOA Dx, we are currently validating our clinical scenarios by conducting interviews with practicing Ob/Gyns in the US. We asked our network for introductions as well as used tools like LinkedIn and hospital websites to identify doctors to organize phone interviews so that we could better understand clinical practice and design our product strategy to best suit their needs.
- Tailor your pitch: do not assume all customers value the same thing from your solution. Your product may have multiple advantages, and understanding your customer and what problems you are solving for them allows you to tailor your product pitch to best suit their needs. Doing so dramatically increases the probability they will adopt our product. For example, some customers may value the time it takes to get a result while others may value how simple it is to use the product. Understanding exactly what is important to the customer gives you the opportunity to promote that feature and increase the chance they will adopt your product.
- Prepare prepare prepare: this doesn’t necessarily mean create 10 product brochures and presentations, though it is always useful to have supportive marketing collateral. Instead, focus on practicing how to present your various value propositions and how to handle objections.
A few years ago, I was preparing to launch an innovative diagnostic test in the US. About 6 months prior to launch, my team and I started conducting customer surveys over the phone and ended up speaking with over 200 customers. We learnt all about their pain points and how much variety there was in what they valued. We created over 5 different product presentations which addressed the key value-solution messages and a list of 10 objections with their resolutions, and then we practiced. For weeks, we practiced amongst the team until we were all incredibly confident in our delivery. When we launched the product, I saw the fasted adoption rates I’d ever seen in my career.
Oriana Papin-Zoghbi is the CEO and co-founder of AOA Dx Inc. She has global experience creating and leading organizations resulting in successful strategic exits. She brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise from women’s health startups and large life science companies, and a passion for entrepreneurship and solving problems that disproportionality affects women. Known for her inspirational leadership, Oriana has a proven track record of developing a highly productive culture and turning visions into reality. She has a proven technical record of creating market entry strategies and product launches in new markets, including launching nationwide HPV screening in East Africa and novel diagnostics in maternal fetal medicine.