This is article #30 out of 50 in The Startup Marketing Playbook.
Suppose your startup is launching a new product. Your product managers have identified what to build, the engineering team successfully built it and now you are ready to bring it to market. So… what happens next? The marketing team is responsible for defining the product positioning, messaging, packaging and go-to-market strategy. You’ll need to answer the following questions:
- How to describe the product to your target persona?
- How does the product fit in with your broader positioning?
- What marketing activities do you need to sell the product?
Let’s break down the process into simple steps:
1. Define the messaging and positioning
Every product you launch has to fit into your broader story and positioning. Ask yourself how the value proposition of this product align with your other offerings. As part of this exercise, you should define for this product:
- One line description
- Details descriptions of each feature
- List of key benefits
This should be compiled into a simple “messaging guide” for the product. As you are creating other relevant assets, like collateral or an ebook, you can always refer back to the messaging guide to ensure you are covering all the right points.
2. Create a go-to-market plan and timeline
Each product launch needs a comprehensive go-to-market plan and timeline. This is merely a list of the marketing activities that you will execute leading up to the product launch. These activities should build on each other: there might be a pre-launch email, a coming soon banner on the website, press release and then a formal launch. Consider the following tactics:
Since the website is the primary tool for educating prospects about your products, it’s important that you integrate any new product offerings seamlessly into the website. This might mean adding new pages and modifying existing ones. Website updates can be time consuming, so plan to execute this at least a month in advance, even if the website changes are not uploaded until later.
Marketing should deliver a set of collateral (1 pagers, slide decks, etc) that will be used for introducing and selling the product. It’s important to get feedback from the sales and product teams to ensure the collateral aligns with the product and how it is being sold.
I like to write a foundational ebook for each product that my team launches. This ebook serves as the manifesto for the product: why it exists, how it works, and how it fits into the broader story of my offering.
Press releases help maintain a steady drumbeat of momentum, showing your company is continuing to grow and progress. The press release should come right around launch time and should be sent by email to contacts in your marketing automation system.
We use email marketing to communicate and educate contacts about the new product, so be sure to integrate the content, press announcement and overall product launch announcements as part of the weekly email campaign strategy.
Finally, build specific landing pages for prospects that are interested in the new product. These pages should provide an overview of details, centered around the new product, and include a form to submit contact information if interested. Call-to-action buttons on the website and in emails should link to these landing pages.
3. Communicate with sales, customer success and product management
It’s imperative that you keep the sales, customer success and product teams in the loop as the marketing team executes the go-to-market plan. You are relying on each other for accurate timelines, materials and support to ensure the product is introduced smoothly.