Our Chief Product Officer Eric Prugh spoke at Project Product, "a conference for tech leaders, marketers, and product professionals. A forum directly addressing how product marketers and managers can better work together, achieve their goals, and propel their careers through interactive and hands-on sessions as well as networking with experts." (56th St Productions)
Eric’s panel, "Product Launches: The Good. The Bad. The Ugly.” dove into what we all struggle with in SaaS: product launches and overall readiness. What makes a good product launch? How is a “good product launch” defined, and how do you know if a product launch worked?
First, here's how he categorized a product launch for the presentation:
Your company doesn't need to do invite-only press events or interviews on CNBC to successfully launch a product. A good product launch aligns with your company, the value of your product, and the market acceptance of that need. You don’t have to be a billion-dollar company to successfully launch a new product or service.
So, what types of activities are part of a product launch?
At PactSafe, we tackle the basics of launches:
Keep in mind that tackling the basics can be just as effective as a “big” product launch. A big reason for this is because of the way that product launches have evolved. The explosion of SaaS has made product launches more frequent, more organic—and faster.
“People think we’re crazy for doing product launches every month.” - @davegerhardt VP of #Marketing @Drift. @eprugh shares how the explosion of #saas has changed the way business launch new products. #ProjectProduct19— PactSafe (@PactSafe) March 19, 2019
Stop looking at your product launch stages the same: Activate each based on the product's lifecycle.
There are three types of launches that are activated over the product lifecycle. Making sure each is activated strategically helps prevent accountability loss across the various organizations in your company involved the launch:
Market and Product Readiness: It’s not just about if the product is ready—ask if you’ve looked at the market opportunity for what this product delivers.
Your product can deliver tons of value, integrate seamlessly with multiple products, and hit your “company deadline” for launch. But—is your market ready for it? Are they going to use it? Ask your team: “Has the product been tested by early adopters to verify our hypothesis?”
In Eric’s presentation, he shares a use case of our Chat-to-Sign product launch, where we found great success through PR and social engagement, but we discovered that some of the use cases weren't fully vetted and adoption didn't meet the company's expectations. Here are some tips we learned through that experience:
From the product readiness side, be sure to avoid the dreaded, “Don’t worry, it will be ready!” conversation with your product management & engineering team. Build your beta program into your product, and agree on the “Simple, Lovable, Complete”, or, “SLC” methodology. This is what we at PactSafe have re-coined from the “MVP” (Minimum Viable Product). Your product shouldn’t be the absolute bare essentials for your customers. It should be something you’re proud to deliver. What needs are most crucial to your customers? Focus on that.
Company Readiness: Can the company deliver on the promise of the product you’re launching?
An obvious question, but a crucial one nonetheless. Really honing in on the company readiness helps avoid customer frustration and increase customer adoption and use. Here are 4 key questions to ask your team, as well as tips:
Download your product launch scorecard today
Eric built a scorecard you can use today to evaluate the 3 stages of a product launch so you can launch as intelligently and successfully as possible. Get it here.