Product Launch 30 Day Plan – Week 2

30 Product Launch Plan - Week 2

In Week 1 of the Product Launch 30 Day Plan the focus was on the most basic product launch information. In Week 2 you will gather more information, assess your organization’s strengths/weaknesses, and organize a cross functional launch team.

After Week 1 you have the following completed:

  • Defined product launch goals
  • Established product launch priority
  • Refined target market segments
  • Chosen product launch strategies to support the launch goals

I suggest you complete the these deliverables before continuing Week 2’s assignment. It’s OK if it takes longer than a week to complete Week 1’s deliverables. It’s better to complete the deliverables from beginning to end before continuing with Week 2 of Product Launch 30 Day Plan.

Understand Your Buyers

Who are the people you need to achieve your product launch goals? These are the people who need to take an action you want. They are people who are within your target market segments. The tool used to represent these people is a Buyer Persona.

The purpose of the Buyer Persona is to provide the launch team a common picture of a buyer. Much has been written about Buyer Personas so I won’t to go into great detail here (it’s also covered in the Pragmatic Marketing Market class). A Buyer Persona is a tool that reflects the most common attributes, behaviors, and concerns of an individual in a market segment. You want Buyer Personas to take an action that drives an outcome you are measuring.

Better knowledge of your buyers leads to a more focused use of resources.

Build a Compelling Message

You can do a fantastic job of understanding your buyers. Resources are squandered and money is wasted when you don’t deliver an attention-grabbing message.

On average you have 8 seconds to get the attention of a potential buyer. Technology companies tend to waste too much time talking about what their product does and not enough time talking about what it does for their buyers. Buyers become confused or misinformed, and move on to something else.

The key to building a compelling message is to grab a buyer’s attention fast and get them to engage. The way to connect what a buyer needs with product capabilities is through Marketecture. Marketecture is a technique taught in the Pragmatic Marketing Foundations class. The Marketecture for a product leads to a Positioning Document. The Positioning Document forms the basis of consistent communication with your buyers.

An example of Marketecture is on the Nest thermostat website. The Nest thermostat has a lot of cool technical features but they are not front and center. Their message focuses on what a Nest thermostat can do for you.

Now is a good time to build your Marketecture and produce a Positioning Document, if this is not yet completed. It’s also a good time to revisit your Positioning Document to reflect the final product.

Identify Launch Readiness Gaps

Product launch readiness goes beyond getting the product ready. Think about promoting, selling, delivering, booking revenue, support, professional services, customer training, and more.

Every organization has strengths and weakness that impact a product launch. Failing to identify and address the weakness could result in a disastrous launch. Different product launches also need different skill sets and resource. New weaknesses (gaps) emerge. You need to fix those  weakness before the product launch is launched.

Conducting Readiness Assessments is the tool to help you identify readiness gaps. Spend time with a representative of each affected functional area. This individual can represent the interests and concerns of their department. Work with that individual to understand what exists and what is missing. The Readiness Assessment tool (and process) is in the Pragmatic Marketing Launch class.

You are ready to organize your Cross Functional Team (CFT) once you identify your readiness gaps . You will understand the skills needed and how to focus your resources to ensure the best launch readiness.

Organize Your Cross Functional Team

It is not realistic to believe you could understand every job and every nuance within your organization. You need people who understand those jobs and important details. These are the people that become members of your cross functional team (CFT) for your product launch.

Assign the work of developing readiness plans for each functional area to members of your CFT. Each readiness plan defines the tasks and deliverables needed to get a functional area ready for launch.

It’s possible new gaps are found after going through the readiness planning process. You will also have a better sense of the level of effort and time required to completed the readiness plans.

There are books written about organizing and managing CFTs. I want to offer a few insights that will help you.

  • CFTs need a leader
  • Meet with a cadence
  • Meet as a team – you’ll miss big things if you meet one on one
  • Document everything – people forget stuff
  • Be patient but clear
  • Drive results, don’t wait for them to happen on their own

The CFT Team Tracker is helpful in tracking the activities of your CFT. It is available in the Pragmatic Marketing Alumni Resource Center. Click on the link and register to get access (note: for alumni only). Use the CFT Team Tracker to track assigned action items, issues, and team decisions.

Reassess Launch Goals

Now would be a good time to reflect on your launch goals. Given the gaps you’ve identified, are the launch goals still in workable? If not, are there more resources/skills/experience needed? Is there enough time to get your organization ready to launch?

If you have any questions about this post, feel free to put them in the comments section. It’s likely your question is relevant to other readers.

 

 

photo credit: Sunflower/calendar I via photopin (license)

Pricing Crossfit for Visitors

Here is a fun pricing situation shared with us from a colleague.

I do CrossFit for exercise and often drop in to CrossFit gyms (boxes they are called) when I travel. It’s a common practice in the CF community. Some boxes charge $0 for drop ins (but expect you to buy something like a logo t-shirt). Some charge something, up to $30. It’s understandable they would charge something to cover their costs.

The box I go to when in Boston is in the building next to the building where I work. It was recently bought out by a large operation and they have instituted a new drop in fee schedule. If you drop in it’s $30/visit. But if you get a t-shirt it’s $25/visit. Wait. Normally you pay extra for a t-shirt. I spoke to the GM and he explained they are trying to build a following and get the word out. So they decided to give the t-shirt away and charge less. It’s a no-brainer. I have two new t-shirts. LOL.

—D

Thanks D for the description of this unusual pricing situation.  These details give us an opportunity to talk about two pricing lessons.

First, although costs don’t drive pricing, many of us have that so ingrained in our heads we can’t let go of it.  D wrote “It’s understandable they would charge something to cover their costs.”  I would say, “It’s understandable that they would charge something because their clients are willing to pay for the service.”  I’m not an expert on their business, but it seems unlikely that their incremental costs to serve one visitor is anywhere near $30.

Second, we have a rule at Pragmatic Marketing in the Price course, “Always START with Value Based Pricing.”  Meaning, figure out what your market is willing to pay, but then for strategic reasons you may want to alter it.  This GM has put together a strategy, and clearly articulated that strategy to D, that says they are willing to charge lower prices to gain exposure with the intent of growing their business.  This is a fine strategy.

One thing good about their implementation is they aren’t lowering price.  In fact, they have set a high price to establish the value of their service, which will impact buyers future expectations of what they will need to pay.  Yet at the same time offered a special deal that will hopefully bring in more trial.  I wonder if they advertise this special in the community (which would make sense) or if they are relying on people wearing t-shirts to build their clientele.

D, thanks for sharing the story and keep buying t-shirts.  These pricing stories are fun to read and analyze for me and the readers.

 

Photo by Arctic Warrior

Crafting a demo that sells

Demo 700 x 400Everyone wants a product demo that is so compelling buyers jump out of their seats to buy. Unfortunately that scenario rarely happens. In today’s buying environment a demo may meet two buyer needs. The first is to show the product is real and is consistent with the buyer’s needs. The second is to provide proof the product can deliver what the buyer expects. You may need different approaches to please both needs.

Is It Real?

The ‘standard’ demo is a marketing asset that proves your product is real. How you deliver the standard demo is up to you. It is helpful to know how your buyers make a buy decision.

Some market segments want to see your product before they speak with a salesperson. This type of demo is often delivered using screen capture tools like Camtasia. It allows prospective buyers to see the product without wasting valuable sales resources. It  helps buyers in their research phase.

Buyers in other market segments may want a demo that allows them to ask questions. An automated demo cannot deliver that need. In this case it’s best to deliver the demo by skilled individuals .

Does it Perform?

A buyer in a later buying stage wants to explore specific features of your product. They want to know if it will be the best fit for their needs. The only way they can do that is to go beyond the high-level overview of the standard demo. By this stage buyers want detailed confirmation before they can make a buying decision.

You job is to deliver what your buyer needs without turning it into a ‘show up and throw up’. There is a risk of losing a deal when a ‘deep dive’ demo presents too much information. Those who deliver the demo must ensure this doesn’t happen.

Constructing a Good Play

A good demo is like a play. It has a plot, there are characters, and it has a happy ending. A demo shouldn’t be a Greek Tragedy. The goal of a demo is to move a buyer through their buying decision faster.

The main ingredients of a good demo are the Buyer Personas and the Marketecture. Buyers Personas represent the people who want to see the product. Marketecture is the connection between Buyer Personas problems and how the solution solves them. You need to know who you are persuading and what they care about.

The formula for a good demo is simple. Connect their problems to how you solve them. What is life like today? Why is today’s condition bad? What have they tried before? What has that not worked? How will things improve when they use your solution?

Storyboarding is a good technique to outline a demo. It originated at Disney Studios as a method to tell a story in sequence using graphics. For a demo your product takes the place of the graphics. A demo is a story, just told using a product.

When a demo is over you want your buyers to believe your product is real and it meets their needs.

Performing the Play

If buyers need to see your product before they will go further you need a convenient, low-cost way to deliver it. Screen capture tools like Camtasia are cost effective and easy to use. You should decide if you need registration to access the demo. It’s an easy experiment to run. Try it with a registration form and try it without a registration form. Which approach drives more engagement?

For live demos let me offer an analogy. Would you hand a script to an actor and expect them to deliver their lines with the right passion? Of course not. You’d want a consistent storytelling experience for your audience. Why would you expect anything different for your demo?

Demo certification is a way to ensure your actors know their characters and they understand how to tell the story. Make it a rule that all people who demo must verify their ability to tell your product’s story. With 100 people authorized to give a demo, all 100 should be giving the same demo. If they don’t you are telling different stories. Do you want everyone may have their own version of the play?

photo credit: Believe in your product via photopin (license)

Product Launch 30 Day Plan – Week 1

Product Launch 30 Day Plan

Plan 700 x 400

The purpose of the Product Launch 30 Day Plan is to provide a starting point for Launch seminar attendees to get started planning a product launch. Think of it like a Quick Start Guide that is designed to get customers up and running quickly, and to help put into action what was learned in the Launch seminar.

I like to think of it like cooking. When you attend the Launch seminar, you learn about the cooking tools and the ingredients. The next step is to prepare a meal and for that you need a recipe. Think of the Product Launch 30 Day Plan as a recipe. The recipe will need to (and should) be adjusted to suit your tastes.

Don’t think of the Product Launch 30 Day Plan as an absolute. Think of it like a guide that’s intended to provide the insight and foundation for your successful product launch. Every organization is different and every market segment has its idiosyncrasies that have to be factored into the Product Launch 30 Day Plan.

Good luck, think about the ‘big picture’, and have fun!

Week 1 – Product Launch Basics

The first week of the Product Launch 30 Day Plan is critical. It’s the time you spend to define and set expectations for your product launch.

Like any major project it’s important to start with what you are trying to accomplish. Without measurable goals, a product launch is subject to differences of opinion, inefficient use of resources, the risk of confusing your sales channels, and worse, confusing your market.

Define Launch Goals 

Your product launch goals must be measurable. “Selling as much as we can” is not a measurable launch goal because it’s open to interpretation. “To become the recognized leader in [fill in the blank]” may be desirable but how will you measure it? How will you connect the relatively short-term project of a product launch with a potentially longer term goal like “recognized leader”? It may be necessary to break down the bigger goal into a set of smaller goals that can be measured within a product launch.

Goals that can be measured are like revenue, units shipped, references and reviews, market share, and sales pipeline growth.

Revenue goals may need to be reduced to simpler short-term goals. In the case of a long sales cycle measuring the success of a product launch in revenue would be unproductive. But measuring the launch in terms of growth in the sales pipeline would be productive and measurable.

Finally, product launch goals need to have a timeframe. How quickly will you be expected to accomplish the launch goals? Having a time limit creates urgency and focus. A year is too long and a week is too short. Find a balance.

At this early phase in the Product Launch 30 Day Plan don’t worry about the precision of the launch goals yet. As more information is gathered the launch goals will become clearer and refined.

Prioritize Product Launch Resources

Not all product launches are alike and not every product launch needs every available resource. Following the link the product launch tiers post for more details.

There is a simple way to identify the priority of a product launch based on the impact to your organization and the impact to the market. On a scale of 1 to 3 where 1 is highest and 3 is lowest, what is the impact of this launch on:

  • Your organization
  • Your target market segments

Prioritize product launch resources with product launch tiersIt’s possible the impact to your organization is high and the impact on a target market segment is high, translating into (easily) a Tier 1 launch: highest priority.

It may turn out that the impact to your organization is low and the impact on a target market segment is high, again a Tier 1 launch: highest priority.

It may be that the impact to your organization is low and the impact on a target market segment is high, yet again a Tier 1 launch: highest priority.

Take a moment now, in light of the product launch goals and your organization’s expectations, to  determine which Launch Tier your product launch will be: Tier 1 (high), Tier 2 (mid), Tier 3 (low).

Refine Your Target Market Segment(s)

You now have product launch goals, but where are you going to focus within a market to achieve the launch goals with the fewest amount of resources and in the shortest period of time?

Take a deep breath. Consider the market segments your organization is serving today. Is there a single, target market segment that could help you accomplish your launch goal if you focused all your attention on that one market segment? If not a single market segment, what is the smallest subset of market segments you can focus on?

The problem many technology companies make is to define target market segments too loosely. So loose that just about anyone would will fit the definition. Now would be a good time refine the definition of your target market segments. Your resources will be used more wisely and your results will be improved.

The bigger picture is that you can’t do everything for everybody.

Consider Your Launch Strategy Options

If you have attended Pragmatic Marketing’s Launch seminar you were introduced to 7 launch strategies.

In light of your launch goals and target market segments, consider which part of each market segment represents the shortest path to accomplishing the launch goal. In a market segment some number of people have already bought, some number are looking to buy, and some number are on the sidelines completely disinterested. Which one of those represents the shortest path to launch success? Let your launch goals and target market segments guide your thinking.

The shortest path to accomplishing your launch goals might be your customer base. These are the people who are familiar with your company and offerings. It may require less effort to buy and less effort to sell, compressing the timeframe to your launch goals.

It might be efficient to target a weak competitor who’s customer base is dissatisfied. Just be careful. You can’t predict what will happen when you swat the hornet’s nest.

Perhaps your target market segment is teaming with buyers that need little in the way of convincing to consider your category of product.

It’s also important to consider that different target market segments will likely require different product launch strategies.

And one last reminder on launch strategies. You can’t do everything for everyone. Voices in your company will question why you took one path and ignored another. It’s all in the quest to achieve the agreed upon launch goals, which sets the stage for the company’s success.

Start planning your product launch using the 4 items above. If you have any questions, comments, or need advice please use the comments area below.