All related (46)
Susan "Spark" Park
Head of Product Marketing, VR Work Experiences, Oculus, MetaMarch 18

Success = Changed the behavior of the customer to embrace the transformative shift.

For every successful launch, we were able to change the behavior of the customer, and the customer created a habit to use that experience. 

We think about metrics that will show a behavior shift of the customer, not just general revenue or product adoption uplift. For example, retention numbers on the new product matched with growth will show if this is a change in behavior, or if it's simply a blip due to strong marketing. 

ex) When we launched Spotify Video Ads we tracked the contribution of revenue coming from the new product as well as repeat customers, not just overall revenue growth of the company. The company was gaining users all of the time and launching new markets, so we had to isolate revenue growth. After 1 year we had diviserfied our revenue so video accounted for 25% of our ads revenue for 30+days, which was a HUGE change shift and the number was growing. 

Ensure you have a behavior metric of what you want to drive, and build the goals of your launch based on that metric. 

Failures = Launches with no change behaviors, and led to confusion or spreading thin of resources that do not drive business benefit.

I've launched a few of these, and these actually tend to be rolled back or deprecated. I have managed several deprecations in my career as well. There tends to be be deprecations that are in or out of your control. Understand what factors are in and out of your control, and that will also help you make the right decisions on how to move forward.

In control: When I see failures that were in the product team's control it's due to a really poor alpha or beta test where you didn't recruit enough diversity into the beta or didn't really dig deeper into understanding the why the product. A strong, fast feedback loop to customers built with challengers (people you want to drive adoption with and who don't use your product) and cheerleaders (people who love the product) will give you earlier indications of this before you invest a huge amount of resources into a launch. They will give you the ability to pivot, and make the product better. 

Out of your control: I've seen failures occur when the product was amazing and it was too early to market, and too late. Otherwise, a company or executive team ran out of funding and needed to divert resources. A lot of these are out of your control, and isolating the goal and expectations can also help your team move quickly in the analysis. 

John Gargiulo
Head of Global Product Marketing, AirbnbNovember 30

SUCCESSFUL:

 

- At Bluestacks in 2011, we were gearing up to launch software that let you run any Android app on a Windows PC. I had letterpressed wedding invitations made for the union of Android and Windows and sent them to around 100 thought-leaders in tech including Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos etc. It included a link to an early VIP alpha version of the product. Around 30 of them went to the link and Kevin Rose wrote us a nice tweet. When we launched weeks later we ended up with 20X the downloads we expected. https://media.licdn.com/media-proxy/ext?w=800&h=800&f=n&hash=0SRr14RlusGwCMBdeP94gF3%2B%2Buw%3D&ora=1%2CaFBCTXdkRmpGL2lvQUFBPQ%2CxAVta9Er0Vinkhwfjw8177yE41y87UNCVordEGXyD3u0qYrdfyO9cM7Xf7amuVtEeiwclFI0f_L5QznpD5S-IovnK9V12MPicY24ZxUBbFImi24

 

- The next year we launched our Mac version. After the success of a "Mr.Android" infographic I'd put out the year before showing what the average Android user was like in a bizarre way, we followed up with Ms.Mac. Both went legitimately viral, leading to interviews on NPR and with ABC News. http://mashable.com/2012/12/27/mr-android-meet-ms-mac/#Lp3RsI82Igq7

 

- To commemorate the combination of Mac and Android, we threw an actual wedding for the same launch at Google I/O, complete with a tent, cake, bridesmaids and a Tim Cook lookalike. The tent was filled with press and it got great pickup. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZgE1_IHXNA

 

UNSUCCESSFUL:

 

- Too many to list! If you don't have lots of these ("It felt so right, but the data says it was so wrong!") then try more ways to break through! 

Emily Ritter
VP of Marketing, ModeAugust 6

In a previous role, it had been awhile since the team I was working with had shipped anything. We were heading into the holidays and I was starting to worry about demonstrating momentum, especially as our sales team worked to hit their quotas. A ton of small features were in the works but nothing that was going to cut through the noise of holidays etc. I convinced the team to do a “12 days of Christmas” release schedule (which we ended up making non-denominational of course). Starting Dec 1 we released 12 features in 12 days. Sure did make a splash and got people to pay attention. :)

I think where I’ve been less successful in a launch is getting too caught up in the internal excitement and not spending enough time with customers—and then being that voice of reason internally. Honing this voice and sharing feedback on how customers perceive a feature can be little daunting earlier in your career, especially if someone else internally feels the feature is going to be revolutionary. It might be—or it might need that one extra insight you get from doing your due diligence with customers.

Mike Polner
VP Marketing, Cameo | Formerly Uber, Fivestars, Electronic ArtsJune 10

One of my favorite activations that we did was super early on Uber Eats was we produced a bunch of fortune cookies with fun fortunes and promo codes in them. Then we distributed them to drivers to give to passengers in the back of their Ubers. The idea was to help convert Riders to try Uber Eats. It was a fun idea, but it was largely unsuccessful simply because it was such a large operational lift. The saying is do things that don't scale, but sometimes, things that don't scale also don't work! 

Jodi Innerfield
Senior Director, Product Marketing, Salesforce
The goal of most B2B launches is revenue--but there are many other KPIs you can track besides how much revenue you've generated!  Customer KPIs: These KPIs all tell me how much my launch resonates with my target customer. Pipe generation; lead generation/form fills on any key launch assets like demos and datasheets; registrations/attendance to events and webinars; website views; time on-page.  Sales team KPIs: This is how I make sure my sales teams are excited about my launch and are properly informed to have customer conversations. # attendees for enablement; # views/engagement for key e...
Sherry Wu
Director, Product Marketing, MaintainX | Formerly Samsara, Comfy, Cisco
See my answer above - the KPIs that you choose when launching a new feature of an existing product should always be tied to business outcomes.  When you launch features vs products, oftentimes the business goals can be framed in terms of product adoption and cross-sell / up-sell.  Here's an example.  Let's say you have two products: A and B. This feature is available on Product B only. Let's say launching this new feature may entice customers who have bought Product A to add on Product B. Your goals here would be to ensure that customers who have bought Product A are using this new...
Mary (Shirley) Sheehan
Head of Lightroom Product Marketing, Adobe
This is a great question! It's easy to get stuck with the same GTM checklist for every launch and feel like there's no creativity.  An easy fix is to push the boundaries of what you normally do with a new visual approach or new mediums. Never tried a video before? Try it out now! I always love a good brainstorm session with people outside of those I normally work with on product launches. Grab your content marketer, the creative lead that you don't usually work with, and anyone else you like working with, and have a session on what you could do with a launch. I actually did this yeste...
Manav Khurana
GM & SVP Product Growth, New Relic
I always like to have a product adoption goal Day-of, 1-months, 3-months, 6-months, and 1-year out. Having this clarity is critical to figure out what we need for launch and in the weeks, months after launch.    The next step is to back into the awareness, lead (if sales led) and conversion goals from that adoption goal.    I see PMMs as the CMO of their product. They are the QB for product adoption goals. Looking at the product adoption metrics on a weekly basis is good cadence to keep an eye on what's happening and what should be done.    To operationalize these activities with the ...
Marcus Andrews
Director of Product Marketing, Pendo.io
I think you’re asking if it’s behind a pay wall and not just a free product? If that’s the case, you need material (video!) that can act as a demo, people want to see product, not just read about it. Salespeople who can give great demos and free trials are often a really effective a launch tool. 
John Gargiulo
Head of Global Product Marketing, Airbnb
It's funny, I've been working on a deck looking at exactly this question. It's fascinating how much it varies from company to company. We're moving to a place where the distinctions between product marketing and brand marketing are becoming increasingly blurry. Think of it as simply different problems to solve, that map to different parts of the funnel.   Some product launches need broad awareness and call for high-funnel, or what we often call brand marketing. Whereas some launches are updates to features within existing, already known products, in which case they need more low-funnel, i...