When you think about launching a product to the market, you tend to think about how complicated everything is. What if I tell you that product launching is a rather intuitive process that you already know?
Finally! You have “the product” or “the solution” that you think will change your customer’s life. You feel ready to go talk to your prospects so the first thing that comes to your mind is to immediately start a marketing campaign with a beautiful image of your product and a catchy phrase. Stop! Take a step back and ask yourself: Have I validated if my solution solves a real problem? Have I taken the time to find out what my potential client’s issues are? If the answer is negative, beware! Because I am sure you do not want to develop a product that will not be used.
So, how do you achieve have a more customer-oriented approach that helps you make the best decisions during your product development process? There are several approaches including “Design Thinking” which is one of my favorites. But rather than going into techniques, I prefer to explain this through a situation already experienced in your life.
The marriage analogy
So, let us go back to when you were a young adult and started dating. Do you remember having an incremental and empirical approach? No? Here is an example (in my time at least):
First meetings in which there is not too much compromise. Rather, you have a light posture in which you show your best, but you do not ask for too much.
In your product approaches, this is equivalent to exposing yourself to the different ways and formats and identifying the favorite ones by your target: an article, a video, a conference … identify the occasions in which you have had more engagement. Also, listen to better identify the real needs of your customer.
“Private” knowledge phase
You are sure you like the person, but you are not ready to introduce them to friends or family. Yet you continue in the exploration phase and providing small moments of exchange in which you have more information from the other person. In this stage, only-couple activities are commons in more fancy places. At this point, you have enough validations to confirm that there is mutual interest. So, you take more risks.
“Public” knowledge phase
Right now, you have enough evidence to say that you are proud to be in a relationship. So, you are comfortable including your boyfriend or girlfriend in your group plans. Either with family or with friends, you are ready!
When it comes to a product, you are on the stage in which people are comfortable making recommendations. They have already experienced a significant change in their life thanks to your solution and they are ready to share it. Now is the time to ask them for a little social media engagement or testimonial without making your clients uncomfortable.
Engagement phase: get engaged or married.
Almost everything is confirmed! Now is the time to take it to another level. It means to formalize your relationship by moving out with the person or getting married. Whatever the choice, the important point here is that you have accomplished your partner’s commitment thanks to a value discovery journey. And in the case of personal relationships, it is known that it must be done in both ways. Advice! As you can imagine, this is not the end of the road, because you must always work on the relationship. This means, that you should constantly adapt to make it work.
If you think of a product, you can imagine people who are truly “married to a brand”. For example, “Coca Cola” fans or those who exclusively buy “Apple” products. This is the ideal stage for a product, but it is not easy to get there, and it is difficult because your product must stay above the expectations of your users.
What marriage teaches you about product launching?
- Take the time to know your target and identify a pain or problem in which you can provide a solution.
- Don’t ask for a high-level commitment (like marriage) on the first date. Go through iterations, and in each one makes sure you do small “value generation and capture” tests.
- Listen to the market, but also to your prospects and your competition. Do not forget to document your findings and adjust your actions according to new information.
- Be patient! Do not ask for recommendations or referrals if you do not have confirmation that your customer really likes your product.
- Avoid falling in love with your solution. And keep in mind that the customer has the final say. In this sense, be prepared to change your product or explore different ideas.
- When you already have a client who has committed to your solution, keep him interested and try to continuously innovate to including improvements to increase delivered value.
Have you realized that I am not telling you anything new? You just need to listen to your instincts and keep a simple approach. If you are interested, I co-created a game with La Fabrique_A to explain the agile and lean approach during marketing initiatives. I would be happy to share it with you next time.