John Gargiulo

John GargiuloShare

Head of Global Product Marketing, Airbnb
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John Gargiulo
John Gargiulo
Head of Global Product Marketing, AirbnbNovember 30

It's always easier to sell in new things to an existing audience than try and build a new one. It also depends on your philosophy. If it is like Airbnb's original, "Get 100 people to love you rather than a million people to sort of like you," you should focus on your existing users. If you feel like you need to grow your user numbers quickly however, by all means leverage that new product to generate some external buzz. 

John Gargiulo
John Gargiulo
Head of Global Product Marketing, AirbnbNovember 30

Great question. Having a compelling insight into why a product is truly worth using is arguably the most important part of a launch. A launch is like building a tower. If the ground underneath is soft, it's not going to end well. Finding solid ground is easier said than done. Sometimes there is no quantitative data because no one has put out anything like what you're considering. In that case of course you lean on qualitative research and your instincts. Ideally though, there are lots of data points to sift through. As you synthesize the research, remember to keep it super simple. While you may have weeks to pore over things and get into the weeds, many of the stakeholders who will see your work will be seeing it for the first time. It's a hugely important skill to be able to boil all of what you learn down to a syrup. 

John Gargiulo
John Gargiulo
Head of Global Product Marketing, AirbnbNovember 30

Research is so important. The closer you are to your customer, the more credibility you have. If you're fortunate enough to have a research org at your company, even better. My first weeks at Airbnb were in large part spent sitting in with the research team as they interviewed our users. 

 

In terms of timing, the earlier you develop that understanding of and relationship with the customer the better. Great research leads to well-informed, strategic insights that will serve as the bedrock for your launch. 

John Gargiulo
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! 

John Gargiulo
John Gargiulo
Head of Global Product Marketing, AirbnbNovember 30

B2B

 

- The foundation of any successful launch is a compelling insight. This is especially true in B2B. To get to that golden nugget, even if you have a research group and/or an awesome, collaborative sales team - meet the customers. There is nothing like first-hand experience when it comes to truly understanding customer. That's where your aha moment is most likely to happen.

 

- On the creative delivery front, remember that in B2B your LTV is typically extremely high, especially if you're at the enterprise/10,000 employee level. Instead of a "campaign" or broad approach to marketing the message you've developed, imagine what you would do to reach one, specific large client if you had $1000 to spend. Come up with creative ideas and ask yourself if they're scalable. 

 

- Make sure the sales team is on board with the messaging hierarchy. They are your biggest clients and they are the one in the trenches every day hearing the same things from customers. Be sure to listen. Include them. The insights you develop and the way you reach your shared audience should get them excited.

 

B2C

 

- For either B2B or B2C, once you get alignment on the key value props and messaging hierarchy. share it out like crazy. I'm a fan of actually printing out the top three value props, in order, and posting them on the wall. That hierarchy should serve as the Source of Truth for everything and anything related to communicating the product. It can't do that if it's sitting on a proverbial shelf i.e. in a Google Doc no one has opened in five weeks.

 

- In B2C the messaging hierarchy is critical, but I notice a lot of people fall down on the creative delivery. Finding where in-product you want to tell the story (and it better not just be a company blog post) and the external channels is not the end. If you're just throwing together creative that has the words you want to say and the brand colors, you're missing a huge opportunity. The bar for creative excellence should be just as high as the bar you set for strategic positioning. If you don't feel like you're the creative type, partner up with someone who is to ensure your message gets to customers in a compelling way. 

 

- Because they're public-facing, B2C cross-functional teams are often wider and everything gets a bit more scrutiny. Start bringing people into the process early and over-communicate the state of the launch, creative and results. 

John Gargiulo
John Gargiulo
Head of Global Product Marketing, AirbnbNovember 30

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, iterative test-and-learn attention. Sometimes you need all of the above! As long as you have a diverse Product Marketing team with different strengths, you'll always be able to send in the right hitter for the right moment in the game. 

John Gargiulo
John Gargiulo
Head of Global Product Marketing, AirbnbNovember 30

Great question. Post-launch is the most underrated parts of the cycle. You've spent months aiming the rocketship, putting fuel in the tank and blasting off - now you've got to steer. Let's break it down into three steps:

 

1) ANALYZE

The first thing is to immediately begin watching not just usage of the product, but which parts of the product. How are people interacting with your features? Where are they dropping off? Where are they spending their time? This will give you context and clarity to move onto step two.

 

2) PLAN

Now that you know where your hypothesis was roughly right or wrong, develop a plan to go after those areas. Our team uses a one-pager that is incredibly simple, laying out the problem we're trying to solve (ex: the pricing is too high, awareness is too low) and mapping out in specific detail, right down to the deliverable specs, how we plan to solve it.  

 

3) EXECUTE

Especially soon after launch, when blemishes become clearer in the light of mass user feedback, we aim to move quickly. If you're still talking about a major problem with the way the product has been positioned or messaged two weeks later it's been way too long. Standups with your cross-functional team including creative shouldn't end at launch! The fun is just beginning...

Credentials & Highlights
Head of Global Product Marketing at Airbnb
Product Marketing AMA Contributor
Lives In San Bruno, California
Knows About Product Marketing Soft and Hard Skills, Product Launches, Self-Serve Product Marketin...more