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87-Action-Item Product Launch Checklist to Calm GTM Chaos

(Plus, a way to finally meet those deadlines without burnout.)

Short on time for an upcoming product launch? 

Download our checklist of 87 critical action items for your product launch.

As product marketers, we have a love-hate relationship with a good ol’ fashioned checklist – especially during the chaos of launch season. 

Product launch checklists can be handy for keeping us organized, helping us teach junior team members best practices, and considerably reducing our (dangerously high) stress levels.

But as always, there’s a catch: a templated launch checklist alone just doesn’t do the job.

For launch checklists to be truly helpful, they need to be customized with your specific objectives in mind. And in order for them to be actionable, you need to connect your checklist to the rest of the GTM motion, considering factors like your go-to-market strategy, asset management, and team coordination. 

That’s what the rest of this article is going to help you with.

We’ll show you 1) why you need more than a launch task list, 2) how to avoid the most common mistakes PMs make while using a product launch checklist, AND 3) how AI launch software can help you streamline processes (and automate ~50% of the tasks on your checklist).

Feel free to skip to the section you’re looking for:

First things first: Your product launch checklist ≠ your go-to-market strategy

Here’s the thing.

While a product launch checklist can boost efficiency during the launch process – it can’t replace your go-to-market strategy

Your GTM strategy is a continuously evolving blueprint that informs every step leading up to launch. It provides a higher-level view of the positioning, pricing, and methods you'll use to enter your new market.  

(Kind of like a nutritional plan is for a gym buff.)

A launch checklist, on the other hand, is the day-to-day actionable list of items to be completed – the execution side of your GTM strategy.

(Grocery lists and gym routines for our friend.)

Both are important for a successful launch — but strategy always comes first while in the planning stage.

When a GTM strategy is successfully implemented, it should translate directly into a well-defined GTM process. But as of last year, too many of us product marketers, are missing out on this crucial next step.

Why is that?

Successful launches need more than a task list 

The trouble begins when we settle for a basic launch checklist (the “what”)...

…instead of combining it with a repeatable and scalable GTM process (the “how”) and a comprehensive GTM strategy (the “why”).

The first step to figuring out even a semblance of a launch plan is research – from customer personas and segmentation, to competitive intelligence analysis, and pricing.

(If you need help with this, consider checking out Ignition’s wide variety of free AI research tools for product marketing.)

Translating this research into strategy and then a standard GTM process isn’t exactly easy, though. 

For GTM teams, competitive data always seems to be going out of date, task lists are building up, and scheduling strategy calls can sometimes feel as difficult as trying to get an audience from Santa Claus.

Ultimately, the average product marketer (understandably) might feel like they just don't have the time to focus on strategy and processes.

But in the long run evidence shows that strategic planning and processes make launches much more effective –  and way less stressful.

By using a launch strategy to…

  1. Customize your launch process for potential roadblocks 
  2. Coordinate with all relevant stakeholders ahead of time and
  3. Create a playbook of marketing strategy best practices for junior employees

…PMs have a much better chance of hitting KPIs. But they also can drastically reduce stress levels and the chance of burnout due to a lack of team coordination.

The problem with how most product launch checklists are managed

Launches aren’t all created equal. Companies aren’t either. So, copying and pasting a launch checklist that has previously worked for someone else just isn’t your best option.

Because you don’t have the exact same objectives. You don’t have the same potential roadblocks. And you definitely don’t have the exact same team members – coming with their own unique set of strengths and challenges.

Ultimately, no product launch is exactly the same

(Except in the fact that they’re all unequivocally painful.) 🥲

This means that no matter what playbook or template, out there claims to solve all of your problems, at some point, you’ll need to customize your launch checklist for what you specifically want to do. 

Sometimes, you might even have to customize it multiple times depending on updates to strategy, changing competitive data, team member schedules, missed deadlines, longer approval processes, and the like.

When your launch plan is a spreadsheet attached to a jumble of other documents, adapting your checklist isn’t exactly easy — one change of plans can derail the entire process.

A launch checklist alone just:

  • Isn’t adaptable enough to stay connected to the rest of your GTM plan
  • Often doesn’t include enough actionable details for execution
  • Isn’t fully integrated with product, marketing, and sales teams 

Of course, nobody has the ability to foresee exactly what might go wrong (or the time to try and guess), and that’s why most of us end up sticking to a bunch of mediocre templates from general platforms like Docs or Airtable (instead of software designed specifically for product marketing tasks.)

But what if there was a way to connect your launch checklist to the rest of your GTM process in real time – without losing the ease, simplicity, and speed of a template?

It’s not you. It’s your process (and your tools).

Launches are notoriously crazy, chaotic, and painful. And with the average cost of bringing a new product to market reaching $10-million just a few years ago, mistakes made during product launch do not come cheap. 

So why are we still using generalized tools that have been the same for 40 years for something so critical to our businesses? 

Using Google Docs, Airtable, or Notion to manage your launch is like bringing a knife to a gunfight – they’re just underpowered for this particular use case.

What you need is something that:

  • Helps you unify all your launch processes
  • Is smart enough to customize your plan dynamically for your particular situation

Ignition does exactly that – PLUS, it automates ~50% of the 87 action items we included in our template.

Need to update competitive intel? ✅Check – courtesy of our free Sales Battlecard Template Generator (plus the battlecards push to your CRM for easy access when you use Ignition’s product management platform).

Creating personas? ✅Check using our free AI persona generator.

Internal comms? ✅Check. Automatic release comms, email, Slack, or Teams updates for individuals/ teams, and templatized emails have you covered.

Product roadmaps? ✅Double check – since our AI will also be automatically analyzing your customer data to find revenue opportunities (and then automatically hand off to sales teams).

Content creation? ✅Triple check – using our Copilot AI trained by your very own customer data, personal brand, messaging, and copywriting tools built using a variety of LLMs.

And, of course – the launch plan itself. 

You can easily add your own templates - or use ours. Either way, our Copilot AI can help you generate AND dynamically adjust personalized launch plans based on

  • Launch tier
  • Budget
  • GTM Motion

You name it.

Each launch plan includes a detailed look at what channels should be used, what assets need to be created, and what tasks need to be done.

As former product marketers ourselves, we bring our decades of launch-related trauma to the table – and have trained our AI on the basis of it. That means that best practices are already built in, so the checklist that your junior employees get helps them level up and behave like those with more experience. 

And the results speak for themselves.

Ignition has helped companies like MRI Software make launches 50% more efficient by scaling their product marketing abilities and has helped Kajab completely standardize their launch process

So, if you’re looking for similar results for your own launch, get started today by signing up for a free Ignition account.

11 Key phases to a successful product launch

Prefer an editable checklist? Download our free product launch checklist template here.

□ Establish objectives and KPIs

If you don’t have an idea of what success looks like, you’ll have no idea how to figure out how well a launch even went.

Define what success looks like first – and you’re more likely to find it. 

Work with product, marketing, and even finance teams to establish clear goals for revenue, customer engagement, signups, media coverage, and other metrics important to your launch. Then, start planning how to hit those KPIs.

□ Conduct market research (competitive + customer)

A good way to better understand who you’re selling to and what their needs and wants are is by creating customer personas

Then, it’s time to check on who else is trying to sell to them. 

What is your competition doing well? What do they suck at — and how can you exploit that to siphon off their customer base? How are their products priced, and how should your pricing strategy differ?

Without customer and competitor research, you’re flying blind. Take your time in this process, and use competitive research tools to get an edge. 

□ Segment and define a target audience

Creating a good segmentation strategy involves considering at least two main points:

  1. Who are your customers, and how can they be broken up into segments and marketed and positioned to differently? Product managers, product marketing managers, and marketing teams should work together on this.
  1. Who are the people you want to know about your launch, even if they won’t be customers? Think journalists, industry experts, bloggers, affiliates, potential partners, etc. This exercise leads to more obvious outcomes like journalistic coverage, sure, but it can also lead to more creative possibilities like bundled product launches or cross-selling with partners. 

□ Define positioning strategy and messaging architecture

At this stage, you need to get REALLY clear with the “vague conceptual questions” like: 

  • Who is your product for, and how do they want to be spoken to? 
  • What specific problem does it solve and how do you communicate your USP to them? 
  • Where does it fit in the market, and are the target customers in a position to afford/accept the price point? 

Consider using AI customer research tools to simplify the process, and gain real-time insights.

□ Define pricing and packaging strategy

Using data from your competitive analysis, as well as your own financial KPIs, define your pricing strategy in detail. 

This isn’t just “it’ll cost $50, cool, what’s next?”

What is your discounting strategy, if any? Are your margins sufficient to support competitive affiliate payouts if you go that route? How do various price points affect projected demand and profitability at different sales volumes? Are your prices sufficiently future-proofed in this inflationary environment? 

This is a big step that’ll require involvement from sales, marketing, finance, and executive team members. 

□ Develop a tactical plan (promotional channels, assets needed, user journey)

Conduct high-level planning across marketing, asset management, and development teams. What tasks need to be accomplished to hit your targets, and how can you break those down into bite-sized chunks?

Think about what assets you’ll need for your launch, including both internal (product documentation, training docs, blog posts) and external (press releases, promotional materials, etc.) assets. Consider the channels you’ll utilize to get the word out and what groundwork needs to be laid now to prepare.

□ Execute — prep assets, channels, measurement

Prepare the assets you need to launch, including both internal and external assets. 

Form and execute an outreach and setup strategy for the channels that you’ll use to promote your launch. 

If using‍ AI, consider which copywriting tools best fit your needs. 

Then, set up appropriate measurement workflows so that you can gauge success.

This could include monitoring web traffic, social engagement, pre-orders, or any other metric relevant to your KPIs. Deploy tech solutions as needed to monitor progress.

□ Communicate plans to stakeholders and train internal teams

Keep everyone informed of your plans, progress, and metrics. Focus first on internal teams — training support and sales staff, aligning goals, and making sure teams are working together effectively.

Touch base with internal stakeholders who are less involved, too. Inform executives of your plans, allowing them to provide feedback (ideally early on). Make sure IT is prepared for a potential surge in traffic, accounting is informed of upcoming shifts in revenue sources, etc.

□ Do a launch readiness check (QA, help center, legal policies)

Almost time to launch – just not quite yet. What are we forgetting? 

Here’s where you double-check the (many) small details to make sure things are truly ready to go. 

Have your teams conducted rigorous QA protocols? Have your onboarding docs, email sequences, and online help center been proofread? Have you published the necessary legal documents, declarations, and policies so that you’re compliant with relevant regulations? Has your website been stress-tested

□ Launch your product

Press the button. Do the thing. Breathe a sigh of relief. 

Then, get back to work because there’s still more to be done.

Of course, you’re not simply “hitting launch”. You’ll be sending out external comms, promotions, emails, social posts, etc. while monitoring response rates and tweaking as needed. 

You may also be putting out fires. Maybe the website crashes (too much of a good thing?), maybe distribution partners delay shipments, maybe [fill in the blank]. Truth be told, it’s wise to plan for the unplanned by allocating employee time and resources to whatever problems might pop up. 

This may influence your product launch timing, too — launching on a Friday might not be the best idea, for instance. 

□ Monitor performance, and learn from mistakes

Monitor engagement, sales, and other metrics relevant to your KPIs. Track actuals vs. projections- and keep an eye on any surprises in the data. This could indicate that something was overlooked or simply that customers are responding differently than anticipated (which could open up opportunities for a fast strategy pivot). 

Conduct a post-mortem analysis. Make sure you’ve carved out enough time for all of your teams to discuss what went wrong, what went right, and, most importantly, what can be improved for the next launch.

Frequently asked questions about product launch checklists

What are the 7 steps of product launch?

These steps are called different things by different people – but ultimately, it’s an amalgamation of the 11 phases we mentioned earlier. The number 7 probably comes from the 7 key stages of the Agile software development lifecycle  - a framework created back in 2001.

These are: Concept, Inception, Iteration, Testing, Release, Maintenance, and Retirement.

What is required for a product launch?

A comprehensive strategy and a repeatable, scalable launch process are the fundamentals required for launching a product. 

According to Bain’s research, companies that implement launch best practices see up to 2x faster growth than those that don’t. And 81% of CMOs agree that launches “make or break” the long-term success of a product.

What are the 4 Ps of product launch?

This is a general concept from marketing theory about what 4 elements a decent marketing strategy should include – that can be applied to any industry or business. The 4P’s stand for product, price, place, and promotion. 

According to the theory, Marketers need to be able to communicate the value of the product to the client, show why this value is worth its price, be available in the place(s) where the target audience can encounter them, and use promotion in an effective way to reach the right, potential clients. 

Take the pain out of launches – for good. 

Launches are nightmares – but in the age of AI, they just don’t have to be. 

Ignition takes the disconnected systems, the chaotic asset management, and frustrating communication challenges out of the equation, by consolidating EVERYTHING into one platform.

And with the power of AI it automates the hard stuff, and gives you the competitive edge you need to make data-driven decisions.

It’s time to plan, execute, and ultimately launch with confidence. 

Sign up for a free Ignition account today, and let’s get to work.