Just like not all launches are created equal, not all companies will take the same approach to categorizing or prioritizing launch tiers. However, there are certainly patterns out there. Here are the most common variables I’ve seen:
Based on answers to those questions, you can then assign launches into different tiers. Again, this will look different at every company, but here’s a general framework for thinking about it:
But, with all frameworks come exceptions: PMM is usually responsible for both internal and external launch activities, and you might consider a given launch in different tiers internally versus externally. Having a launch tier framework is super helpful most of the time, but you should be willing to be flexible on the specific tactics based on the nature of a specific launch.Here’s an example: say that you’ve received high user demand for a feature that your biggest competitor already offers. Internally, this launch is a big deal: it will likely support better retention, and you’d definitely want your customer-facing folks to know about it! But, you may not want to “go big” with it externally, since you wouldn’t want your competitor to point to your press release and say, “We’ve had this for 3 years, and they just launched it last month”.
In my answer to the “not all launches are created equal” question, I laid out some options for communications channels to pursue based on the tier that you assign a given launch. (This best applies to B2B SaaS organizations, since that’s the sector in which I’ve spent my entire career.)As far as demand generation or running paid campaigns goes, I don’t have personal expertise in those areas, so I can’t provide insight into how to choose advertising channels. But, the best thing you can do as a PMM if you don’t own that function is to give the people who do own it as much information as possible so they can make some decisions: all your persona research, your SWOT analysis, ideas for keywords to research, your competitor list, etc.
When I interview candidates for PMM positions, one of the “x factors” that I always look for is humility — but not just because I want to hire good team players.
People with intellectual humility know that they don’t always have all the answers, which gives them the openness to new information and new ideas that is so key to long-term PMM success. If you don’t have intellectual humility, you’re at risk of making assumptions that can come back to bite you later on.
So, my top 5 “don’t”s are all assumptions to avoid:
I’ll finish off this answer and build on #5 with a mantra that I find myself returning to over and over again: Your marketing isn’t for you — it’s for your customers. Tell them what THEY are going to get, not just what YOU are doing. Simplistic example, but consider these two subject lines. Which email would you be more likely to open?
Oh, to be so lucky as to have a long beta period for everything! A beta is a blessing!When planning for any launch, we don’t know what we don’t know. Beta periods are fantastic because they give us, as PMMs, the opportunity to make those “unknown unknowns” known.If I were lucky enough to have a new product on deck with a comfortable beta period, here’s how I would approach creating a launch strategy:
To answer your follow-up question, my hope is that your product would only change significantly between beta and launch as a result of something you learned during the beta. Don’t be afraid of that — there’s nothing wrong with responding to customer needs. Document what you learned and use it to justify future beta periods for future launches. :)
I cannot claim expertise in FinTech or in the DACH market, so my best advice here is to research launch plan frameworks and pick one. Product Marketing Alliance, Pragmatic, and Sirius Decisions all have their own frameworks and launch plans, though they’re behind logins. See if you can set up a free account and go from there. There are also plenty of great Medium blogs and posts out there that you should be able to access for free as a starting point.Once you’ve done some research and chosen a blueprint, your biggest hurdle will likely be in arguing internally to follow that blueprint. Organizational inertia is a real thing. Be ready for some pushback that sounds a lot like “We’ve always done it this way, so why should we change?” As far as how you make the internal argument, I would say, “Let’s follow this blueprint for our next launch, and then reassess.” You don’t need to institute a big sweeping change as your very first act. Show the team that you’re open to feedback, but that you also have skills and ideas that will help level up their work.This won’t be the easiest task, but it sounds like the company brought you on to build out the PMM function, which means that at least one person in a position of power already understands the value of PMM on some level. Find that person and enlist them as your advocate. You shouldn’t be alone!
Seems like whoever asked this question may be a bit familiar with my world over at Yext! :) In the 6+ years I’ve been lucky to work here, we’ve transformed from a single-product location listings company to a search platform. Saying this transformation has been easy would be a lie. It didn’t happen all at once, but rather through a series of steps — some big, some small. To our executives’ credit, the vision has been clear since the beginning. This means that our employees generally understand the context and the big mission, which has made incremental changes feel less scattershot and easier to navigate.If you’re in a company that is also undergoing a transformation, the biggest piece of advice I will give you is that you don’t need to communicate the full vision to every external audience from the very beginning. The majority of your product marketing, your sales materials, and your GTM team’s time should focus on how you can solve your customers’ problems today. But, there are big benefits to sharing the overall vision when the audience and the time is right. At Yext, we have a vision deck that lays out the trends we see in the market, upon which we’ve based the vision for our product roadmap. A small team is qualified to present it in an Innovation Day-type setting. For customers who are interested, it’s a fantastic supplement to a sales cycle, especially for innovation-minded buyers.
Honestly, the less “flashy” launches are often my favorites, because these releases may have a smaller audience than a major launch would have, but if you do them right, it’s sooo fun to watch those audiences lose their minds out of happiness when they hear about a new feature that will make their lives easier! I made some recommendations for specific communication tactics on Tiers 2 and 3 in my answer to the “not all launches are created equal” question. Generally, the name of the game with these launches is to meet your audiences where they are. That often means using your product itself to get the word out! Here are a few ideas:
I think it’s very familiar in PMM to be combing through everything the night before a launch and feel a little anxiety! We typically handle this “pre-mortem” work in two ways:
I’m lucky to partner with a great Enablement team at Yext, so I cannot take credit for everything I mention in this answer! But, we’ve treated our best enablement efforts sort of like a “compliment sandwich” — start with the simple message, then open the hood to see the context and relevant details, and close out once again with the simple message. Wash, rinse, repeat.I think it’s very common in PMM to be afraid of sharing too much detail — we all know how busy our colleagues in sales are, and we want to keep them focused on spending time with customers, rather than distracting them with too much content. But, we shouldn’t hide things from them. They are smart people!Another strategy here (once you’ve enabled them on the core messaging, of course) is to make sure they know that details are available and where and how to find them, rather than making them learn all the details right from the outset. This allows them to decide when they’re going to check in and learn on their own schedule.