#45: Product Launch Confessions
The secrets behind the most successful product launches
What’s your favorite product launch?
We all have one. Maybe it’s the one with the all-nighter. Or the one that landed you the promotion. Or the one that got you product of the day on Product Hunt.
Product launch is one of the most integral parts of a product marketer’s role and, I’d argue, one of the hardest to get right.
There’s an endless amount of moving pieces, tricky stakeholders and strategic decisions. But, there’s no better feeling than knowing you’ve nailed it on launch day 🚀
Gather ‘round the bonfire for a good ol’ campfire confessional, all about product launch lessons.
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Product Launch Confessions
Andy, Jason and I are launching a new cohort-based course called Ready for Launch, the PMM’s Guide to Product Launches (don’t miss the kickoff on Oct 31).
To prepare our slides, we each analyzed the details of some of our most and least successful launches. Today, I want to share three that stood out.
Launch #1 - Klue acquires DoubleCheck
Jason is the founder of Productive PMM and previously led product marketing at Klue, Chili Piper and Uberflip.
In January 2023, the competitive enablement platform Klue acquired the win-loss research agency DoubleCheck. Jason had several interesting challenges in front of him. How should he:
Launch a service-based product without product images to showcase in collateral
Merge two brands and categories
Evolve the value proposition of Klue
Here’s what he did. First, the team decided to run the regular product launch playbook, even though it was a service and not a software product. As Jason says, it still needs product positioning and sales needs to be enabled to pitch it.
But, instead of relying on product videos or an interactive demo, they designed a compelling graphic that would show the vision for how it would fit into the Klue platform (for example, how a win loss report would fit inside a Klue battlecard).
Next, they designed another image that connected value between Klue and DoubleCheck. This helped to demonstrate the new competitive differentiation that was unlocked through the acquisition.
My favorite detail from this launch? They branded it the “all-in-won” compete platform. So clever, I wish I had thought of it first.
What can we take away from Jason’s launch?
Show (don’t just tell) customers how your value will evolve with your new feature or product.
Think outside the box when representing your product visually. Don’t have product images? Build an infographic instead.
Consider how the launch impacts your product’s name. Has the value evolved enough that the name needs to evolve too?
Launch #2 - Kajabi launches the AI Creator Hub
Coincidentally, it was also January 2023 when the Kajabi product team was considering integrating AI into the product. But, we knew it would take time to build it properly (it was scoped for a 9 month build).
My PMM team was asked to test positioning and messaging so that when the product was ready, we’d have the language ready too. We took it one step further. We wanted to not just test positioning, but also the prioritization of use cases on the roadmap too.
To do this, we built a sidecar product called the AI Creator Hub. We started small with one use case - a course outline generator - and shared it via a quick landing page in our customer community. We used the initial feedback to narrow in on a target market that had a high interest in AI products and then built 5 more tools to suit their needs. This gave us a very strong early signal on both segmentation and use case.
From there, we built out the hub - a free tool that lived on our website, completely outside of the app. We offered it for free and launched on Product Hunt because we wanted to drive awareness, word of mouth and large scale feedback.
Fun fact: this page quickly became the second highest converting on our entire website and hit top 3 products of the day on Product Hunt.
Here’s the main takeaways from my launch:
Identify quick and affordable ways to test messaging ahead of building the product.
Get an MVP into the hands of early adopters as fast as possible. Let their feedback guide your future development.
Bring insights to the product team to help prioritize the roadmap (we quickly saw that one of the 6 tools was most preferred, and the team shifted their efforts to build that in app first).
Introducing Ready For Launch - the PMM's Guide to Product Launches
This 4-week cohort-based course will help you master the art of product launches — from research and strategy, to execution and measurement.
Join Andy McCotter-Bicknell, Jason Oakley, and me as we share the tools, processes, and frameworks we've used to run dozens of successful product launches at companies like ClickUp, Unbounce, Klue, Kajabi, Chili Piper, and more.
The cohort begins October 31 - get the details and claim your spot today.
Launch #3 - ZoomInfo acquires Chorus
Andy is the creator of Healthy Competition and head of competitive intel at Apollo. Previously he built competitive intel programs at ZoomInfo and ClickUp.
His tale takes us back to July 2021 when ZoomInfo acquired the conversation intelligence leader Chorus. He had a similar challenge to Jason in that they needed to meld two go-to-market categories and two separate brands.
This required a ton of cross-functional work by teams at both ZoomInfo and Chorus. A few of the questions Andy was considering was:
How does the competitive advantage shift now that they owned both companies?
When was the right point to bring Chorus into the conversation with prospects and customers?
What was the largest opportunity to make an impact?
They quickly discovered that they had a massive opportunity to unlock market share just by selling into their own customer base. At the time, ZoomInfo had 20,000 customers - the next largest conversation intelligence player only had 2,000. If ZoomInfo could sell Chorus into even 15% of their base, they’d be way ahead.
What can we take away from Andy’s launch?
Clearly define the launch opportunity to maximize impact. Rather than launch a generic campaign, ZoomInfo was able to double down on a customer-focused launch.
Enable your teams with a clear goal and the information they need to be successful.
We cover these launch lessons and more in our 4-week cohort-based course Ready for Launch. Join us on October 31 and take your product launches from good to great 🔥
🎧 Playlist: Dig deeper into product launch lessons in this week’s episode of Healthy Competition with Andy, Jason and me. We spill the tea on our favorite launches (our own and from other companies) plus share our go-to tips on how to master product launch.
🗓️ Activity: Mark your calendars for Compete Week on Nov 8th and 9th - two free days of virtual learning for go-to-market leaders who want to learn how to close more deals (hint: that’s all of us).
🍯 Snack: I had a life-changing biscuit this week at Fixe Southern House in Austin. I came for Marketingland, left with a belly of biscuits and honey butter.