I hate to admit it, but most product launches don’t work. 😬 Usually [Product] Marketing compiles an overwhelming checklist of deliverables, and 6 months later the launch didn’t make a dent in prospect awareness, customer cross-sell, sales literacy, or pipeline. Sound familiar? Here’s how to spot product launch mistakes.
The Four Ways Product Launches Go Wrong
We never had a plan. We did a couple things in a panic. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
- The usual suspects: These launches are common from tiny/early teams.
- The subtext: Often Product Marketing is also Product Management, and delivering the roadmap consumes every hour. Sometimes PM is more tech-focused and dismissive of launch tactics all together. (“Good product sells itself” is a telltale warning.)
- The result: Product Marketing Managers (PMMs) get fired. ::sad trombone::
The strategy looked great on PPT, but we never delivered.
- The usual suspects: These tend to be from top-heavy or siloed Product Marketing teams.
- The subtext: Product Marketing looks competent in the board meeting, but is completely unmoored from the realities of getting messages into market. They’re siloed from demand gen, PR, Sales Ops, and Marketing Ops. If the launch plan lacks clear pipeline targets, it’s probably “dreamy.”
- The result: Product Marketing loses credibility.
We had a thorough plan, but no amount of budget/effort yielded success.
- The usual suspects: These are usually from savvy, but product-centric Product Marketing teams.
- The subtext: The launch highlights every feature for every persona. If we’re honest, the creative/messaging was lame and we can’t articulate why.
- The result: Product Marketing is confused, with no new ideas for the next launch.
They’re Type A
We had a 200-line project plan. We “did everything we could”, therefore it was successful. Right!?
- The usual suspects: These tend to be from the biggest and most sophisticated Product Marketing teams.
- The subtext: The pace of the roadmap, and the scale of the usual launch playbook, leaves everyone sprinting to just cross things off the list. Every tactic is “good enough” and Product Marketing is more a factory than a think tank.
- The result: Product Marketing burns out and dreads the roadmap.
Feeling doomed to these product launch mistakes? Read the next post, A Simpler Product Launch Playbook >
Real talk: hope is not a strategy! This 42-page campaign planning workbook helps you comb through stats, coordinate the team, and answer marketing’s toughest questions: What worked? What content do you need? And what can you afford?