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Catherine Kitcho, The Launch Doctor

Product launch and new product management are vital to every company's survival and growth. Learn how to implement more effective launches and manage new products profitably with the help of Catherine Kitcho, a launch consultant and business author.

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Product Launch Forum

The column about Product Launch...


V.1 no. 5: "New Product Portfolios"

What's the best way to manage multiple new products?

 Any company that wants to grow its business must become proficient at managing multiple products that may be in varying stages of the new product cycle. This is sometimes referred to as a "product portfolio". Some products may be in the idea stage, others might be just entering or completing development and others may already be launched to the marketplace. By examining four key groups of issues, a simplified high-level plan will help guide new products through the cycle simultaneously. These four issue groups are: market, strategy, planning and profitability.

The best way to approach this exercise is to gather up the facts about the multiple products. You'll need product descriptions, target customer, lists of existing/new customers by name, target market size, pricing information, and most importantly, the stage of the cycle that they're in now. You will also need information on the primary competitors for each product and the nature of the sales cycle for each one. Once you have the facts, start at a high level. Create a one-page diagram (or on a white board) that places each product on a timeline representing the new product cycle. Now you're ready to examine the issues, first at a high level and then in more detail. From examining each group of issues, you will have a master "To-Do" list with dates that you can use to develop a new product management plan for your portfolio.

(NOTE: For each of the major issues sections below, I have indicated pertinent chapters and/or page numbers from my latest book, "From Idea to Launch at Internet Speed". The book is all about managing new products from beginning to end. Those of you that have the book can consult it for more detail on these issues. For those of you interested in learning more about the book, you can visit the books section of this website. It can be ordered from www.pelepubs.com.)
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