It all depends.
I don’t have a framework, per se, but here’s a list of actions I tend to go through when creating the plan.
Strategy steps (Pre-tactics)
Getting more tactical
Here are a few questions I would ask...
1. What’s the goal for your launch? Is it a new product/feature that’s going to bring in more revenue or new signups? Is it a catch-up feature to nix competitive objections? Or is the goal about product usage? Your tactics should serve that goal. Example: Let’s say you’re launching a new feature that’s on your Enterprise plan, like Figma’s recent analytics launch. The goal was two-fold—to make sure we see a certain % of regular feature usage among our Enterprise users and drive upgrades to our highest plan. The tactics should serve one of these goals if not both. 2. What tactics have worked in the past? Don’t discredit what’s working or something you’ve always done as “boring”. Example: Contrary to popular belief, long-form product announcement blog posts perform really well for us in terms of both signups and sustained engagement 30 days post publication. We take a more journalistic approach to uncover the “angle” so the article more than just a feature announcement. Even someone who knows nothing about Figma can still learn something from it, like this very in-depth piece about type line height. In today’s world where everything seems to be about short, scannable content, perhaps our approach helps differentiate us. 3. Where are your customers? Where do they get your news? Where do they get industry news?
Example: At Figma, our customers are designers. They’re very active on Twitter. They often go to industry meetups and events. They’re savvy with online research—searching for YouTube tutorials or relevant blog articles. They also frequently connect with their peers to exchange ideas. Where designers live is often where we focus our efforts. 4. Don’t forget about your customer-facing teams! They are the best “marketing channel”. We arm support teams with “saved replies” that they add to their support tool. We also often times send out personalized campaigns on behalf of our sales teams and give them a “hit list” of customers to reach out to.
Most of all empower your XFN team to ensure you have the tactics spelled out, especially in the Angle and Activate sections. (Naming, positioning, core messaging etc). Bring in experts for each A and they will help ensure you have your tactics covered for the launch you would like to complete.
You can find more detail here: Spark's 5A Framework for GTM:
I don't use a specific framework. I work at an eCommerce company now and we launch several products on our platform (300+ hardware SKUs each year). It was impossible to come up with GTM plans for each and every product, so we came up with our own framework for product launches. Tactically speaking, our framework categorized product launches in three tiers A - highest revenue forecast, B, C- lowest revenue forecast. And for every tier, we defined specific launch tasks/tactics, budget, etc. I think the framework worked for us really well for us, mainly because it bought discipline around our product launches. At some other companies, where we had 1-2 flagship launches year, I tend to spend a lot more time defining the launch plan, but never really followed a specific framework. I have seen many launches in my lifetime but no 2 launces have been the same. That said I would love to know if anybody here has a favorite framework for product launches.
Yes - we definitely have a framework! It is based off of our launch tiers (which I touched upon above). Essentially, we have 4 launch tiers, and each tier has a corresponding set of activities that we’d “light up” if a feature / product is determined to fall into that tier. You can think of the total list of activities like a menu, and a certain set gets lit up depending on the tier. It’s not a hard playbook - sometimes for a Tier 1, for example, we might not do a specific activity that we would normally do, or sometimes for Tier 2s we might include what would normally be a Tier 1-only activity, but it gives us a general sense for level of effort for each launch and the teams that need to be involved.
Now comes the natural question of how we determine *what* activities (e.g., press release, emails, in-app, partner marketing, ads, etc) we’d do for each launch tier. This is something I sat down and determined initially with leaders of various cross-functional teams (namely, Demand Gen, Sales, Customer Success) based off of historic level of effort and productivity of these activities / channels. It also can be very specific to your industry / audience in terms of what channels they are active on. One thing to note is that it’s not something that is completely fixed - we’re actually in the process right now of doing a post-mortem on several of our launches over the last 6 months to see if the activities we conducted for them were the ‘right’ ones given their tiering, whether we want change recommendations on activities by tier, etc.
This is such an important question since, especially for product marketers, we can find ourselves adopting a tactical cookie-cutter approach, making our marketing bland. Blech. Yes, checklists aligned with tiered products are important in creating a consistent, repeatable workflow (imagine the chaos without them). Still, while checklists provide order, they can also drain the creativity out of marketing and hamper our ability to tell compelling stories.
With all of that aside, I do think there are some foundational elements that all good product launches should incorporate, such as awareness building and education activities. The best launches I’ve been a part of also create a sense of anticipation and excitement. When we launched 22.214.171.124 at Cloudflare, we announced the product and created a waitlist for people to get early access. The effect was heightened interest, a sense of FOMO, and excitement (which translated into word of mouth) when people got access.
I try to leverage the bigger launches to reinforce a broader story and strengthen our position in the market. An effective way to do this is to pull together all of your tactics into what a lot of people call a 'lightning strike', which can grab the attention of all of your stakeholders -- this is the complete opposite of a peanut butter-like approach where you spread your marketing over a longer span of time (and, fingers crossed, something sticks). Check out these books for more inspiration: Made to Stick and Play Bigger.
Another important element, especially in B2B, is to have a set of tactics that prepare your external and internal stakeholders before the launch so they can be supporters and amplifiers during and after your launch. For example, I try to give industry analysts enough of a heads up before launch to provide feedback on the GTM plan, as well as to serve as references for press and bloggers who want an analyst's take on how the new product fits into a broader context. The same lesson is true for internal audiences. If sales is a key part of your GTM motions, then you need to make sure your sales team is well enabled to effectively sell the product once you generate demand.
Beyond these examples, the most important thing is to root your tactics in the GTM plan (see answer above) and strategy, and to be creative as you do so. I keep a running inspiration journal for good marketing I see in the wild.
Absolutely yes! We do have a framework that we use as a reference but first, there's a list of actions that we take in order to decide what tactics / activities to include for each launch:
As a next step we decide what internal and external tactics / relevant activities to include in each one of the following categories:
Categories and activities in each category are selected together with relevant stakeholders involved in the launch planning taking into consideration what are the best targeting methods to reach our target audience, historic performance of each activity and the needed cost/ effort to create it.