Define marketing goals for the product development and market introduction phase

Based on Defining Your Product Life Cycle Marketing Goals by Tom Whatley.

Business benefits

Progress from introduction to growth as quickly as possible to start turning a profit.

Produce pre-launch documentation to build clarity and belief in your product within your own team, and get everyone on the same page.

Document the benefits of your product and how it differs from your competitors’. Consider creating:

Develop your document for the customer’s perspective. Consider how they’ll perceive the product and the value they’ll get. Customers are much less interested in you than they are in themselves.

Look for gaps in the market that product marketing can exploit to differentiate your product and generate awareness.

People must start discovering your product, why it exists, and why they should buy it. Your teams must be able to communicate this messaging.

You should already know your ideal customer from work done by product marketing and development teams.

Start with customer research to establish customer goals and pain points. Use qualitative research methods like surveys and interviews to find out how customers are currently meeting their needs.

Run competitor research to find out how your competitors position themselves, who typically buys their product, and what customers think of it.

Gather these insights by:

Keep your marketing consistent with clear messaging guidelines across multiple channels.

Your message must continually drive home the benefits of your product for customers to remember it.

In his book Successful Advertising, Thomas Smith suggests that people need to see a message 20 times before it sticks.

The 1st time people look at ad, they don’t see it.

The 2nd time, they don’t notice it.

The 3rd time, they are aware that it is there.

The 4th time, they have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it before.

The 5th time, they actually read the ad.

The 6th time, they thumb their nose at it.

The 7th time, they get a little irritated with it.

The 8th time, they think, ‘Here’s that confounded ad again.’

The 9th time, they wonder if they’re missing out on something.

The 10th time, they ask their friends or neighbors if they’ve tried it.

The 11th time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.

The 12th time, they start to think that it must be a good product.

The 13th time, they start to feel the product has value.

The 14th time, they start to feel like they’ve wanted a product like this for a long time.

The 15th time, they start to yearn for it because they can’t afford to buy it.

The 16th time, they accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future.

The 17th time, they make a commitment to buy the product.

The 18th time, they curse their poverty because they can’t buy this terrific product.

The 19th time, they count their money very carefully.

The 20th time prospects see the ad, they buy what it is offering.”

The Financial Brand.

More recent studies put the number at seven.

Develop messaging guidelines that include your:

Example

For example, Skype’s brand book gives a clear idea of how to talk about and present the brand online. This ensures the messaging customers see is the same at every touchpoint and interaction.

Choose a go-to-market strategy: sales-led, marketing-led, or product-led. Use what you know about your market and target audience to make a choice and develop the strategy.

The basic options are:

  • Sales-led strategy: Best if you aim to adopt a small number of profitable users. However, customer acquisition costs can be high.
  • Marketing-led strategy: An efficient way to scale but relies on strong communication and data-sharing between marketing and sales. Some methods, like PPC, can be costly in the early days.
  • Product-led strategy: For SaaS companies, using a free-trial or freemium product can help scale awareness using features and usage to drive acquisition while reducing marketing outlay. It’s a strategy used by companies like Slack and Grammarly.

Pick a call to action based on which go-to-market strategy you picked.

  • Sales-led strategy: Get the customer in touch with the sales team. For example, pushing demo requests.
  • Marketing-led strategy: Find ways to make contact with the customer through marketing. For example, pushing for email signups.
  • Product-led strategy: Get the customer in front of your product. For example, encouraging users to take advantage of a free trial.
Example

Basecamp’s homepage uses a product-led strategy by offering a trial.