For the CMO

How to Regroup After a Failed Launch

If a launch didn’t go according to plan, don’t panic.

Source: Morana Bozic / iStock / Getty

You developed the product. You wrote the sales pitch. You crafted the perfect funnel. You hosted a webinar, threw an event, or announced a new sale … and heard crickets.

A failed launch is the worst nightmare of many marketers. But it’s a reality that’s bound to happen at some point. The key is how you’re able to regroup after the fact.

Calm Down

First of all, you’re probably panicking. Stop doing that. It’s not helpful for your business, and as the leader of a team, you need to be putting on a positive face. Every marketer has had flops—even Steve Jobs had a bomb or two throughout his life. This doesn’t mean that your company is doomed or that you’re out of a job.

Look at the Data

The second step is to take a look at the numbers for your sales process—all of them. The details of this will depend greatly on your individual sales process. For instance, if you had a webinar, how many people signed up vs. attended vs. participated actively? If you had an in-person event, how many people were there vs. purchased? If you implemented Facebook ads, how much money did you spend vs. how many people saw them vs. how many people clicked vs. how many people converted? A bird’s-eye view of the data will help you see where the “kinks” in your process are.

Take the webinar example. If you had the number of people you were hoping for sign up but none of them purchased your online course, you can identify that the problem wasn’t in the messaging for your webinar promotion but rather something within the actual webinar or product.

Reach Out to Past Customers

Another step in your regrouping is to ask if you have any loyal customers you could reach out to for wisdom. People who have purchased from you in the past may be able to share why they chose not to this time , which will help you see any blind spots. This requires an immense amount of vulnerability but will be worth it in the end.

Adjust as Needed

And then, remember that just because your launch flopped doesn’t mean your product or service should be canceled. Make whatever adjustments are needed in order to keep things afloat in terms of production, but then put a date on the calendar to try a relaunch, implementing all you’ve learned. If what you learned is that there really isn’t a place in the market for your product or service, take that and run with it—what could you create that your audience needs? How can you survey them to learn the answer to that?

A flop isn’t the end of the world. But how you respond to it can make or break your business.