Traditional new product launch has included catching a new product as the development organization tossed it over the fence. Product marketing would dust off their launch check list and make sure that all the tactics were accomplished. They would book appearances at trade shows, write press releases, design data sheets, plan direct mail campaigns to current customers, research advertising opportunities in trade publications and other assorted tasks on the checklist.
The pendulum has shifted to the buyer. The internet enables buyers to research the market, understand options and narrow choices without ever interacting with a salesperson. Product marketing must reach beyond current customers and talk to the market and uncover non-buyers.
The role of the new product launch has to change to meet this evolving market. It has to enable the buyer to “find” the new product by placing relevant educational content on the internet where it will be found. The new model includes blogs, e-books, videos, case studies, webinars, white papers, customer reviews, and an active social media presence.
Sirius Decisions recently wrote about this in their post “Product Launch Has Changed, Have You?” They end this post by saying, “the cadence of launch will change. Planning must accommodate the longer lead times required to build content that frames buyers’ issues.”
These educational activities take time. In order to coordinate an effective product launch, the product marketing team must be embedded with the product managers to understand the new product features and the timing of availability. The way to overcome these longer lead times is to become more involved in the upstream product planning process. Product Marketing cannot wait for the product to be finished and tossed over the wall or the launch will be at risk.
Looking in from the outside, Product Marketers now, more so than ever, not only need to be closely integrated with the sales process, but also need to be intimate with the product managers. While building trust. While avoiding politics. To ensure a successful product.