People Don't Care Enough About Product Launches

Written by: Ty Magnin Ty Magnin 

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Product launches are overlooked in software companies. It baffles me.

Launching new product is intrinsic to what software companies do. They exist entirely to give more value by consistently launching incrementally better software. And that’s pretty much it.

This definition pins product launches at the center of software companies, but somehow so many just aren’t killing it in that category. Many are in the rut of making mistakes like these:

  • They just simply deploy new product and hope people find it
  • They suck at coordinating across teams
  • They lack vision behind why they built their product
  • They post their updates on their public blog in list form
  • They publish a press release on their product when no one cares
  • They don’t leverage their beta user group enough
  • The worst: they forget to take their features out of beta!

It’s ugly. But it happens every day. Here’s why:

Why companies lack a better process

They’re not sure how to measure a launch’s effectiveness

Lead gen often takes center stage as KPIs for a marketing team because it’s the easiest thing to measure as an effective source of revenue. Measuring marketing’s ‘influence’ over a buyer’s journey is more difficult, even though the opportunity for impact may be greater.

Product launches typically fall into the ‘influence’ category. Thus making them less important to a team’s perceived performance.

They misjudge the feature’s importance

Sometimes product people or developers live for the epic releases, and don’t see some of their day to day work as impactful. But the fact is, sometimes the smallest releases have the largest impact. And it’s important to communicate these incremental changes as well as the big ones.

Conversely, sometimes epic features are wrongfully assumed as intuitive. Those shipping aren’t of mind that they don’t want to over-communicate the value of the product. But these features often end up under adopted.

No one owns the launch

In some organizations, there’s no one taking charge of product launches. Perhaps some fault this due to the fact that they are ‘scaling,’ and haven’t hired a product marketer yet. But even if a company is getting communications out in some way, shape or form, it’s important to make someone directly responsible for the entire release. This will help that person release each in conversation with the last. Even if it’s one of the ten things that person is in charge of.

They’re missing best practices on how to launch product

And it’s entirely an individual’s fault that they are unsuccessful. There are hardly any good resources out there to learn from. That’s why we’re going to tackle the best practices in the product launch playbook.

But the benefits of a successful product launch are huge

Product launches can help drive traffic

Launching features doesn’t mean you can only talk about them to customers and prospects. Nor do you have to talk about them as “new features” explicitly.

You can drive traffic by writing a killer post or working with press in the problem space that your new feature aims to solve. And the traffic generated from these posts can drive new leads down your funnel. And that’s just another reason why product launches are so important.

They can influence the bottom line

People buy shiny things. And shiny things can move a prospect further down the funnel or all the way to close. The bottom line is that you are now providing more value than you did when you initiated conversation with that lead. That sets up the expectation of continual value-add, which can create the sway your sales team needs.

Product launches can also be released in limited fashion. This requires customers to upgrade their subscriptions to access the product. When orchestrated effectively, they can have an enormous impact on your company’s bottom line.

Feature adoption can drive user engagement

If you have new cool features for your users to adopt, they are going to end up spending more time in your product, or at least getting more value from it. This increased engagement will help prevent churn and add to the LTV of your current and future customers, which is a huge win for your entire organization.

Are you stoked on product launches too?!

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So what I’m saying is…

Product launches are essential to a software company’s success, but they’re often overlooked. So we’re bringing in the experts on product launches to consolidate best practices and help you move the needle for your org. Here’s some of what we’ll be publishing over the next 6 weeks:

  • How to Generate New Leads with Product Launches
  • A Guide to Maximizing Upgrades through Product Launches
  • Measuring Product Launch Effectiveness
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