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What's a common mistake you see companies make with regard to product launches?

4 Answers
Caroline Walthall
Caroline Walthall
Quizlet Director of Product MarketingJanuary 15

Beyond the 5 “don’t”s I listed in another question, here are two others:

  • Not having tight enough clarity and communication about what the launch stages look like for all stakeholders. Sometimes it’s fine to have a more decoupled feature/product release and marketing launch, but oftentimes that creates a poor experience for users and steals some of the thunder from your "moment." Not to mention, it tends to create some internal churn and chaos. This one seems like a given, but it's common for engineering, product, and marketing to interpret launch terminology differently. Even if your system for tiering launches is super codified, you’ll often have new folks on the team and so it is really important to work with your PM or PO to explicitly describe the scope and rules for each stage of rollout. It’s also important for those folks to update your changelog as those things happen, since many other parts of the launch are dependent on these stages. A lot of teams use a PMM launch “tiers” rubric to better define this, but I see that as just a starting point. I recommend you make the scale and scope really explicit for each launch, and check in for alignment, often. 

Here’s how I think about some of the options - but this is only a starting place as every launch is different, with different goals and requirements. 

  • Minimal launch - Usually this is more of a direct release that doesn’t involve much from marketing except updating a few evergreen marketing pages/placements. Decide if this will be a rolling launch or if it will be released to everyone at once.
  • Beta launch - When you are investing more into a product and want to continue making improvements prior to your moment of big fanfare, you can launch in beta to get feedback before going big. These can be closed (by invitation) or open. Decide if this will become a minimal, soft, or full launch following the beta period. Decide if beta participants will be part of creating buzz and influence at your real launch or if it’s mainly for research and development.
  • Soft launch - Pick one or two channels and/or scope your target to portions of your audience who will appreciate it most. Decide if this will be a rolling launch or if it will be released to everyone at once.
  • Full launch - Go big with your message through as many channels as are appropriate for your target audience and through a strong concentration of internal team resources and alignment. This should ideally be launched to all eligible users at once (post QA).

  • Not investing in the right creative and using too many words. As much as we wish it, people don’t read. Distill your message down to a simple story and then find a way to communicate that with very few words. Test out different approaches with marketing and product design to illuminate the value. If you’re reading this, you probably already know this key point, but I’ll say it anyway because we all need reminding: demonstrate benefits, don’t yammer on about features.
1337 Views
Vanessa Thompson
Vanessa Thompson
Twilio Vice President Product MarketingApril 22

Using a formula. Lets face it, product launches are a formula. You have a new thing, you position it, and take it to market. You can do all the research and testing in the world and you may not be successful. On the other hand, you might launch something in stealth mode, but Elon Musk tweets about it and suddenly you are everywhere (Clubhouse! Congrats to that team BTW).

What I'm saying is that you can't predict everything. And the biggest mistake I see companies making is spending years with products in beta testing and they never make it to GA or a formal launch because of nervousness around the launch. I spent years working with IBM on their new email experience. The user experience was awesome, I personally liked it a lot more than Microsoft Exchange and Gmail. But the team took years to bring it to market, and by the time they finally did, the bottom had fallen out of the IBM email business, so it didn't matter.

3269 Views
Victoria J. Chin
Victoria J. Chin
Asana Chief of Staff, ProductApril 29

The most common mistake I see is not laying the foundation for effective internal coordination, which is critical for every product launch, and even more so for distributed teams. Despite companies’ best efforts to recreate what worked in the office in a remote setting, global workers continue to spend 60% of their time on coordination rather than the skilled, strategic jobs they’ve been hired to do (source: Anatomy of Work Index ). 


Effective internal coordination requires: 

  • Aligning global teams on a single platform for orchestration and collaboration
  • Establishing clarity and accountability into who’s doing what by when
  • Providing visibility into real-time progress across teams

At Asana, we use our own product to manage launches and track progress. Product marketing launch templates make it easy for our team to get started quickly and follow a consistent process. 

1823 Views
Anna Wiggins
Anna Wiggins
Bluevine Sr. Director of Product Marketing, Content, Customer ResearchNovember 8
  1. Lack of internal alignment 

  2. Lack of central GTM POC 

355 Views
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