At Introworks, we love launching. It’s what fuels us day in and day out. But here’s the thing: Not everything needs to be launched. In fact, some products or efforts work better as a release. And knowing whether you are launching or releasing is essential because each has a particular mindset and approach.
We hear from a lot of companies that say they launch everything. But that Launch-It-All Mentality steals time and attention away from the efforts that are most vital to your success.
So how do you know if you have a launch or a release? Answering two questions is really helpful:
1. How important is the offering to your business?
Here you’re looking at the potential this opportunity represents for your organization and how critical it is for your long-term success.
2. How complex is the offering and the market environment?
This is about figuring out how difficult it will be to communicate externally and internally and what you’ll need to do to differentiate the product in the market.
Reserve the focus and energy of a launch for the projects that are the most vital to your business and most challenging to communicate. That way you can save your time and resources for the biggest initiatives and increase your chances for success.
Interested in learning more about how you can better prioritize your efforts? Get in touch and we can walk you through our Launch Criteria Chart.
As marketers, it’s natural to want to find answers to problems. We’re in the solutions business, after all.
But searching for a solution before clearly defining the problem isn’t just putting the cart before the horse. That’s a cart without a horse.
Because addressing the correct problem is the first step in any successful campaign or launch.
Ask yourself what problem, issue, or need does your solution solve? Or, put another way, what does the world gain by your existence? It seems like such a straightforward question, but clearly and succinctly articulating the right answer—the one that will set you up for success—can be surprisingly difficult.
There are two common barriers in figuring out the problem you’re solving.
First, there can be a tendency to be too short-sighted. We see companies who don’t cast a wide enough net to capture the entire business problem. This narrowcasting can lead to problems later if you try to grow or expand.
Second, some audiences don’t even know they have a problem. They are getting along just fine without you. In this case, you have a solution in search of a problem. So first you need to shake your audience from their sleepy equilibrium to understand (and agree!) they’re facing an issue. Then you can come in with your new technology or product that allows them to solve this (previously never realized) problem.
Note that your audience is always the problem solver. The hero. You are simply helping and guiding them. More on that in a future post.
So before you start thinking about how to launch your world-changing solution, take a moment to step back and ensure everyone’s aligned on the problem you’re solving.
You love your brand. You live your brand. And you wish others would, too.
But while you’re the center of your own world, you’re not in the world of your customers. Not yet, at least. Because you have to earn your spot.
So how do you do it?
It starts with creating a connection. Your aim is to own a unique and meaningful place in the mind.
And how do you do that? It starts with a singular, consistent positioning. It takes dedication and discipline to do that. Pick the one thing you want to be known for and create everything around that central idea.
Next, you need to get emotional. Just screaming I’m reliable! or I’m efficient! isn’t going to cut it—even if you are those things. Move past the facts and figures and get to an emotional appeal. Because emotion drives motivation. And motivation drives behavior. Plus the higher on the emotional ladder, the more universal your positioning can be.
Doing these two things will be your competitive advantage. It’s your best chance to occupy an essential place in your target’s mind. And being there, well, that changes everything.
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.
You’ve got a new product to launch. You spend months, maybe more, preparing and planning. Scrutinizing every detail and nuance. You’ve invested a whole lot of your team’s collective effort getting ready for the market introduction.
You count down the days. Your ducks? They’re in a row.
Then The Big Launch Event™ comes.
And then? Well, let’s just say the rocket launch you hoped for is more of a fizzle.
Chances are good that you put all your effort into preparing for an event. A finite thing.
But that’s not how a launch works. Because launch is a verb, not a noun.
Viewing launch as a noun is short-term thinking. It implies a date or an event. But successful launches require a more long-term, comprehensive approach. It’s not a thing that happens. It’s something you do with discipline and collaboration.
Because launching is a process that demands cross-functional teamwork to aim, align, and, ultimately, build momentum. Launching isn’t the sole responsibility of marketing. Many disciplines need to work together in lockstep to coordinate efforts before the product goes live—and continue to collaborate after the product is in the market.
So next time someone at your company talks about launch day, caution them on the dangers of that short-term thinking and planning, and set their sights on a long-term approach.
Follow along with our Rocket Fuel series to get some more tips on how you can make the most out of your product launches.
Launching a product or service is important. That’s not exactly groundbreaking info. But how important? A cross-industry study found product launches account for 50% of revenue and 40% of profit. As those numbers continue upward, so do failure rates. Another study showed nearly 9 out of 10 launches fail to meet forecasts.
Given their immense and growing importance, why do so many launches fail?
The short answer is they’re hard.
The longer answer is more complicated. There’s the ever-expanding, hypercompetitive global marketplace. Complex internal networks with multiple touchpoints and differing—sometimes competing—priorities. And then there’s the rapid pace of innovation that can turn “the next big thing” into tomorrow’s old news before launch even happens.
So what’s a smart marketer to do? How can you ready yourself with a plan that honors the importance and complexity—and sets you up for a successful launch?
Answer: Get some Rocket Fuel.
In our Rocket Fuel series, we aim to share what we’ve learned over almost 3 decades helping to propel some of the most successful brands and products. We’ll keep it short and digestible because you don’t have time for long-winded launch sequences. And they’re loaded with tips and ideas you can implement today.
We hope you’ll join us for the ride.