What happens after launch? Should the launch be part of the roadshow or are we talking about different things? Roadshows meaning visiting a number of key markets doing presentations. What is part of what? Do I have to do both? Does it matter?
In my experience the work definitely continues after the Launch. After having invested a lot of time to do all the work preparing the launch - creating company readiness with trainings, marketing materials, product value definitions, prototypes etc.
Now is the time to take advantage!
I consider the launch to be a communication event. The actual market introduction is done during the roadshow when visiting key markets and actually start introducing the product to the market.
This opens an opportunity to set different levels of ambition in the launch communication.
- Are you close to availability to deliver?
- Is there a positioning statement to be made?
You can start communicating at a key trade show telling about the new stuff months before the product is actually available for delivery. But you really need to think through what the consequences will/may be when starting to communicate about the new product/release. It may have a direct impact on ongoing sales making the customers want to wait for the new version. Or you will be able to stop your competitor to sell existing products but instead sign up for the new model – however delivered later.
That happened to me back in the days when the leading computer manufacturer did just that – locked the market for 6 months by doing a big communication event (launch) way before the product was actually available.
The roadshow however is in my mind closely linked with sales – this is when the leads are being created. Setting up meetings with key customers or local events in key markets. Smaller audience and a better dialogue typically. As a product manager it's a must to participate in this work. Getting immediate feedback from the customers on the product. Creating some new insights to be used in next generation.
Wrap-up: The launch is the communicating event telling the market that something new is on the way. The message can be used to communicate strategic statements or just tell about the product. The roadshow is the actual introduction of the product to the market when sales has started and is an opportunity for product management to create new market insights.