No Plan Survives First Contact With The Enemy, Not Even Yours

Product Launch Strategic Thinking

Walt Disney (Image via


A new product launch is a major undertaking. Your credibility is at stake as is the hard won authority that you have built up in your niche market. It would be a pity to waste it all by struggling to stick to a rigid plan of action rather than reacting to feedback.


By all means, map out themes and have put resources aside that you intend to use. Better to have more of these ‘in stock’ than less but remember…


No plan survives first contact with the enemy


There are a lot of moving parts in a product launch so optimize each area as much as you can. But come to terms with the fact that no product launch has ever been perfect and never will be. Which is why you need to be flexible.


That’s why strategic thinking is so important


It allows you to react. It allows you to take advantage of unexpected opportunities by measuring each one against your strategic goals. It allows you to measure your progress against those and act accordingly.


A plan is linear. It simply spells out a series of actions in the order in which they occur. When following a rigid plan, it is hard to deal with the unexpected. These twists and turns become major crises. They can even threaten your whole product launch


A strategy gives you structure 


But how you achieve your measurable goals is not finite or fixed


Steve Jobs once said… “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology.You can’t start with the technology and figure out where you’re going to try to sell it. I’ve made this mistake probably more than anybody in the room, and I’ve got the scar tissue to prove it. And I know that it’s the case. And as we’ve tried to come up with a strategy and a vision for Apple, it started with: ‘what incredible benefits can we give to the customer? Where can we take the customer?’ NOT starting with ‘let’s sit down with the engineers and figure out what awesome technology we have,’ and then ‘how are we going to market that?’ And I think that’s the right path to take.”


Note that he talks about a ‘Strategy and a Vision” almost in the same breath


He asked the questions…

#1. What Incredible benefits can we give to the customer – From this flows another question… What if ? – Starting a question with these words requires your imagination to take flight. It forces you to consider possibilities that you hadn’t give much time to before

#2. Where can we take the customer? – Again this prompts you to ask your customer’s first question. Why? – Give a simple answer to this and they will immediately ‘get’ what you are all about


Taking the same approach to your product launch will ensure that you over-deliver on your promises by delivering a product that they want more than anything and are prepared to pay top dollar for.


And it all comes down to thinking strategically…


Sitting down to develop a vision and a strategy is fundamental to the success of your business. It’s exciting to ask yourself ‘what if’ and let your imagination take your where ever it will. Start by dreaming. Then look at what you have come up with as a realist and finally as a critic – This is the strategy that Walt Disney always used in any meeting he attended –


So knowing that no plan survives first contact with the enemy – a well-worn army truism – make sure that you are thinking strategically when setting out your product marketing strategy then when you are in the midst of your product launch, you will be able to make the quick decisions necessary to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way


Oh, and make sure that you have a notebook to hand so you can quickly identify the challenges and the responses. Next time, they’ll be different because you will have fixed the first batch


You may be wondering how much hiring a product launch manager will cost and the quick answer is not as much as you might expect. Our aim is to structure a win-win sort of a deal with clients.  We get paid when you get paid. That is we work on a percentage of the ‘pre-return’s gross’ revenue that your product launch makes. Naturally, you have to pay a fee to get on our calendar. We can only take on 2 or 3 clients per year so our time is valuable and we must know what our schedule is well in advance. It would be unfair on our other clients if we didn’t insist on this. Find out more by booking a free consultation with me now


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Rory Ramsden