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How do you package up a bunch of small feature enhancements to tell a bigger story that will interest people?

6 Answers
Manav Khurana
Manav Khurana
New Relic Chief Product OfficerOctober 10

I am a big fan of drumbeats. People are busy and it's easy to miss one large product announcement and even if your audience sees the announcement, it's easy to forget about it. 

 

My favorite packaging approach is to have a broad theme ([your service] keeps getting better, a commitment to security or performance, helping your audience do something better, faster, cheaper...) and then announce each small enhancement as it comes.

 

Say you have 5 small enhancements over 12-15 weeks. Start with announcing the first enhancement on your blog/email/social channels as part of a broader theme. For the next enhancement, reinforce the theme and call back the previous one... and so on for the next 2. Then for the final one, you could consider doing a bigger announcement via press/event to show constant progress. 

 

This way, you get to tell your story multiple times, gain credibility for your theme, and improve your SEO juice for each enhancement... no one feature or subfeature gets burried in one bulky announcement. 

 

Think of this as an "Agile Product Marketing" concept.

4973 Views
Jack Wei
Jack Wei
Sendbird Head of MarketingMarch 10

I'll answer this in two parts. Part 1: You've likely arrived at launching a bunch of small features to begin with because the product vision and strategy is fuzzy. Or that the strategy is to build what customers request and your release cadence is fluid. You wouldn't have asked this question if PM+PMM planned product strategy together and looked at the roadmap earlier on to develop and align on launch themes mapped to business objectives. You're asking this question because things currently work as a hand-off process, and PMM tries to "work with whatever's been given." This is not an ideal long term setup, so that has to improve.

Part 2: There must be some sort of overlapping value when these small feature enhancements are evaluated side-by-side. Applying the following framework might help:

  • Why was this feature enhancement built? (There will be an internal and external motivation, steer towards the external)
  • Who was it built for; what are their perceived value vs. benefits?
  • When and in which situations will the value be realized?
  • Where in the marchitecture or product suite is impacted by each feature enhancement?

Once you can answer the above for each feature, is there an overlap or commonality anywhere? If so, great. Go deeper in that area. If not... be prepared to live with less than impressive launch results and improve the upfront strategy for the future.

979 Views
Pranav Deshpande
Pranav Deshpande
Vanta Senior Product Marketing ManagerMarch 11

I agree with Jack here. Ideally, new feature or product releases are planned as part of a larger story/theme you've set with PM so that you can keep referencing that theme in each new release. It can be hard to do in practice though. Getting PMs bought in is usually the hardest thing to do here, especially if you're growing quickly and need to ship as fast as possible to keep existing customers happy and convince new customers to sign. Here's a miscellaneous list that's worked at Modern Treasury, although we still have a long way to go here:

- Embed PMMs with PMs so that they're always up to date on the roadmap

- Track new feature requests and customer objections. Focus on being the voice of the customer.

- Have well-defined launch tiers to size level of effort for new launches correctly.

366 Views
Anand Patel
Anand Patel
Appcues Director of Product MarketingMarch 14

I like Zach's suggestion of finding a good mix but there can be times when a larger story just has more impact. At the end of the day, the key thing is to think in themes, and how those themes are going to drive value and impact for your customers. If a feature or item by itself will have large impact, then why wait to share the story? But if that feature has more impact when wrapped up as part of a larger story, then packaging it as such. I wrote an overview of this very topic here: https://medium.com/@anandp29/launching-around-themes-277eb621dd62 

649 Views
Zachary Fox
Zachary Fox
Resultados Digitais Director of Product + Customer MarketingFebruary 14

I personally like mixing the “packing of features into a big launch” and the “ongoing drumbeat”. What we did this year was choose 4 customer objectives for our product for the year and kick the year off with a campaign speaking to them and how they solve our customers biggest needs. We then planned one “big moment” for each objective over the course of the year, this would be a month when we would hit hard on this theme repeatedly tied to a major launch. Then, outside these 4 big months we plan a steady release of smaller enhancements, tying them back to our 4 objectives.

905 Views
Josh Colter
Josh Colter
Woven Head of MarketingAugust 8

This is a common issue with the prevalency of agile software development. I recommend bundling up several iterative features into a meta-theme and then building a campaign around it every 6-12 weeks. This allows you to blitz the market with a bigger message/story, and it creates an internal drumbeat of messaging that the marketing team can deliver on repeatedly.

775 Views
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