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3 marketing timeline tips to crush your next product launch

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 18 Apr, 2019
Essential Essential topic

Product launches are the perfect opportunity to develop multilayered marketing campaigns that deploy over extended periods of time.

For example, you could begin by crafting a few press releases and blog posts that announce the new product. Then, immediately after, you could post a handful of explainer videos that aim to inform consumers. All the while, you could be driving traffic to various landing pages across your website through promotional emails, webinars, and other forms of content.

In other words: You can — and should — bring together resources and talent from multiple departments to create, publish, and distribute a wide variety of marketing assets that build excitement around your new product.

But for many marketing teams, achieving this high level of coordination and teamwork can be a tall task. Different parties have different priorities and KPIs, and often, one department's "urgent" is another department's "this can wait until next week."

This lack of alignment causes missed deadlines, underwhelming content, and, ultimately, a missed opportunity to enter the market with a bang.

Launch With a Bang

Your product launches don’t have to start with a whimper. By developing a detailed timeline, you can ensure your next one is successful.

Marketing timelines align the troops and remove the guesswork. By proactively planning your big campaign, you can focus on deliberate growth instead of scrambling to communicate the basics at the last minute.

Creating a timeline isn’t a job for leadership or the marketing department alone, however. By including stakeholders from every department, you can develop one that acts as the single source of truth for the entire company. Creating your timeline together and making it accessible to everyone allows you to set realistic deadlines for each asset and ensure the proper parties are held accountable for their respective tasks.

The following three strategies will help you create a digital marketing timeline the whole company will buy into during its big launch:

1. Prioritize strategically

During a product launch, time is your most valuable resource. A great timeline will take this fact into account and prioritize specific projects that have the greatest impact on companywide goals.Strip away the nice-to-have items, and determine which assets you absolutely must have in order to drive growth.

Craft your timeline chronologically around these pieces of content. Sometimes, this means scrapping more exciting projects in favor of more impactful ones.This can be frustrating, but it’s better than building half an asset before deciding it isn’t worth the effort. Keep your teammates' spirits up by only assigning them meaningful work that moves the needle.

2. Set realistic due dates

Deadlines shouldn't be determined via guesswork. If you've never created a promotional video yourself (or overseen a team while it created one), you likely have no idea how to set a realistic due date for that asset. You would be much better off asking your video producers what they think is a realistic (and reasonable) deadline.

Your workers will be your biggest supporters when they know they were involved in the planning process and their concerns were addressed from the beginning. Solicit their input regarding how long their tasks will take, and use those estimates to build a timeline that works for everyone.

This strategy will prevent less invested departments from putting timely tasks at the bottom of their to-do lists.Some departments will clash with others on time estimates. When pain points arise, don’t sit back and hope they resolve themselves — you will just end up with arguments and pushed deadlines. Consult stakeholders from each side, and facilitate a compromise that gets the work done without sacrificing the timeline.

3. Clearly define ownership and workflows.

Unclear processes cause confusion and, ultimately, missed deadlines. Each piece of content on the timeline should have a clearly defined workflow, and each task should have a clearly defined owner. Avoid headaches by breaking your campaign into tasks and assigning those tasks to individuals with concrete due dates.Don’t be ambiguous about what “done” means, either. When you set your due date for a task, make it obvious whether you want a first draft or a reviewed and approved

When you set your due date for a task, make it obvious whether you want a first draft or a reviewed and approved final version. Setting proper expectations will prevent your team from feeling frustrated and keep your timeline on track.

Rather than overwhelm your audience with an avalanche of details — or underwhelm it with untimely, less-than-stellar pieces of content — you can inspire curiosity, interest, and desire with finely tuned messaging. This is only possible, however, if you proactively plan your work through a collaboratively created timeline.

Whether your product launch is in one month or two years, it’s never too early to develop an effective timeline that helps you prioritize your work and get the most from your launch.

Don’t leave the success of your launch to chance. Follow these strategies to create a marketing timeline that will give your new product the spotlight it deserves.

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By Expert commentator

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Planning product launch campaigns

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