Improving the Product Launch Process with Data Analytics

Well, summer’s here, and with it come the leisurely walks outside and the long-awaited vacation time. Just enjoying the sun, the plants … and the strategically placed billboards and product ads. Just kidding about that last one; it’s a slice of our lives that we encounter not just outside but indoors as well. It didn’t use to be like this back in the day, but on the bright side, it’s much easier now to see what works and what doesn’t than it was back then. The ability to collect so much data surrounding a new product launch is much more convenient nowadays – sure, but what about analyzing it? Being ahead of the curve requires knowing when to rework a product or when to switch up its campaigns or in other words making key decisions quickly. This dynamic can really be boosted with the help of data analytics, and in this article, we’ll show you how with some examples.

Enhancing the Product Launch Process

Depending on your field of expertise, you’ll most likely require different ways to group and monitor your data. Well, thankfully, agility and adaptability are key features of modern analytics software. You’ll see what we mean in a bit so, let’s start off with one of the more prominent examples.

Planning your product launches – When we think of data, we most often expect to utilize it in forecasting because when we’re prepared for the future, we feel safer making critical decisions. Well, since every business has a product to offer, regardless if it comes in the form of a service, or cloud-based software, or a physical item, it’s only logical that we’d want to predict how well it will integrate itself into the current market.

Data analytics can help us observe how our product develops compared to our competitors’ and, with the help of advanced analytics, can create several different forecast scenarios. Additionally, if we have some other products out on the market, we can look out for corporate cannibalism, which is harder to spot on time with more traditional reporting methods.

We developed a similar dashboard for a client that had to have the abovementioned criteria and more. They were adamant about having a dynamic forecasting solution, so they could constantly adjust their strategies to stay atop the market. We managed to hook up their systems to a Qlik Sense dashboard and set up their KPIs so they could easily observe their products’ production, status, sales, market penetration statistics, etc. Additionally, they could dynamically visualize how these metrics would change based on the different planning scenarios and choose how to best proceed forward.

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Tracking your marketing strategies – Marketing is a very key component of new product launches, so naturally, you’d want to get the most out of it. The more people recognize your brand, the more likely it will be that they choose your product over your competitors’. Businesses invest a lot into marketing campaigns, so in order for that to pay dividends, they need to make use of all the data they’re generating.

It’s typical for companies to run more than one campaign because of the different milestones they wish to achieve in set countries. So, with the help of data analytics, they can monitor how well they’re doing and how close they are to achieving their targets. Because different tactics present varying data depending on where in the world they’re deployed, companies can also narrow down the best strategies that they can use for future product launches. For example, comparing the effectiveness of “20% off during the first week of launch” vs. “a free trial for a week.”

We’ve built dashboards that let you track all of this in the past for many different clients. In one such example, the business was producing products for medical centers and wanted to be able to keep track of their ongoing campaigns and make better reports more quickly. Furthermore, they required the ability to inspect where patients with certain health-related issues went to better narrow down the focus of their campaigns. This also gave them insight into which medical centers were qualified and geared up for those specific illnesses and thus presented valuable opportunities to their sales team.

Finding market influencers – While on the topic of marketing, it’s usually very beneficial when new product launches are discussed by field specialists. That’s why big companies tend to set resources aside for finding and contacting such individuals. But the research itself is a very time-consuming task with no guaranteed payout at the end, so most often, this is seen as a necessary evil in the business. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

This conundrum is easily solvable with a bit of data analytics or its more advanced variation, to be exact. By combining in our dashboard data from various public registers and scientific literature databases and then linking it to social media platforms (e.g. LinkedIn or Twitter), we can focus on locating the more vocal leaders in our desired area of expertise.

We had a client request such a dashboard in the past. They wanted to utilize their research for strategic growth opportunities, such as new product penetrations or improving their market share. So, we linked up everything necessary and built a system that would cross-check important keywords for the company and visualize the relevant market influencers along with their most recent work and contact info. This dashboard also helped their sales team when they had to familiarize themselves with new market opportunities on the go and allowed them to do their research in no time.

Monitoring the sales process – We can’t really talk about product launches without mentioning the sales team. After all, a product is only gathering dust in the inventory with no one at the front lines to sell it. But with so much going on in a sales rep’s day – arrangements, meetings, calls, emails, etc. – it’s harder to keep track of all the data they’re generating and collecting it in one easy-to-access place.

As you’ve probably already guessed, though, data analytics are mandatory for any business that wishes to get the most out of its sales. Luckily, the analytics generated can be tailored to any field of work, and even the more precarious steps can be visualized and recorded.

We’ve done plenty of dashboards in the past that have enhanced the sales team’s insights in one way or another. But not too long ago, we had a client from the life sciences field that wanted to have a way to observe their product launch phases, and we were quite eager to take up that project. In the end, they received a dashboard with integrated functionality that showcased how well their process was running for their newest products. We made a lead generation to sale funnel that each organization wants to monitor, so they could have a good understanding of the pipeline and the available opportunities. We should probably explain what we mean with a simplified example. Imagine that there are five distinct steps in your product launch process – lead and client evaluation as the first and second step, a finished evaluation in the third, signing a contract for X number of products as the fourth, and certifying the doctors to use said product as the last step. Well, now imagine that every step can be drilled down to view more information about it and how well things are going. All these dynamics can be observed in various ways with the latest data so that the company can get a big picture view of its current standings.

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Training healthcare professionals – Since we mentioned it already in the previous example, let’s elaborate on this use case some more. After all, it’s a key step for product launches in the medical industry, and without proper widespread training, your product might just gather dust at a medical center waiting for that “… it’s our only chance!” moment to arrive.

Well, with the help of data analytics, companies can keep an eye on the certification status for teams of doctors in various medical centers. Furthermore, if the product is more complex and requires multiple stages of certification, then the business can track at which stage every user is. Visualizing this data can help determine the actual time it takes for a specialist to be fully trained and can highlight parts that may be taking too long. What’s more, companies can monitor which healthcare professionals are at risk of losing their certification due to inactivity, and, with this info at hand, the organization can consider some methods of retention.

Patient feedback and outcomes – As a final step in any product launch, we have the customer feedback process. Collecting reaction data isn’t really an issue for most companies, but it’s how they break it down and learn from it that causes headaches. This use case varies the most between products and fields because evaluating the product is based on very different criteria. So, let’s observe it from the perspective of the life sciences industry, as we already kicked it off earlier.

Through the use of data analytics, companies in this industry can observe how well operations or treatments go for their newest products. This can include metrics like time to finish a procedure, patient complaints, and whether any follow-up procedures occurred. Combine this type of data with the previous use case, and you can even track the percentage success rate compared to the technical success rate, which is more relevant to products that require initial training.

Let’s try to picture how useful such a dashboard will be, and we’ll use a more recent and relevant product for this example – the COVID-19 vaccines. Imagine that you’re one of the companies that makes them. Well, you can inspect how well patients respond to your product by collecting the data from all the medical centers that offer it. This will allow you to examine how many people get sick with COVID again after they’ve had your vaccine for a certain period and can provide your R&D department with valuable leads to go off of. Furthermore, evaluating these effects based on the patient’s age, gender and race can also give you additional insights into enhancing your vaccine adequately.

Conclusion

Wow! That was a lot of use cases to go through, but it just goes to show how extensive data analytics can get.  The product launch process can involve many different steps, and we can’t cover all of them, but we hope this article gave you the right ideas for enhancing it. In the end, it’s up to you to determine whether you want to get the most out of your data in every aspect or if you want to focus on specific areas. In any case, we’ll be here, ready to guide you through this strenuous process and help you stand among the top market leaders – all with the help of data.

Authors:

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Hristo Hristov
Stiliyan Neychev
Stiliyan Neychev

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