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It’s not so complicated: Launching a product
About this episode
Are you overwhelmed by the process of launching a product?
Well, that's normal.
Product launches are part of broader go to market strategies and incorporate product, market and channel strategies.
In this episode, Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré is sharing with us her experiences after 100s of product launches!
What they talked about:
- Common misunderstandings about product launches
- Product hunt pre-launch initiatives and relevant mistakes
- Value proposition design
- Language market fit
And all this in less than 15 min!
Nichole Elizabeth DeMere: Hi, I’m Nichole Elizabeth DeMere, also known as Eithiriel DeMere, and I am a B2B SaaS consultant. And I specialise in go to market strategies as a product marketer. And I’ve been with GrowthMentor from the very beginning. And I’m very excited to talk to you all about go to market and launching a product.
Spyros Tsoukalas: Welcome. Nichole, I’m excited to have you to big GrowthMentor funds in the same discussion. So let’s hit it. What do most people misunderstand around product launches?
Nichole Elizabeth DeMere: So what I’ve noticed, particularly over the last 10 years, is that there’s this misunderstanding that product launches kind of exist in a vacuum and that they happen within a day. And within in reality, a product launch is part of a broader go to market strategy. And with your go to market strategy, you really want to have a product strategy, a market strategy and a channel strategy. And your product launch should encompass all of those strategies. And a site like Product Hunt, or Indie Hackers, or wherever you decide to announce your your products is just one part of a channel strategy. It’s just it’s just one channel within your channel strategy. And so it’s not your entire product launch strategy.
Spyros Tsoukalas: These are very interesting thoughts. And thanks a lot for highlighting the differences between among product strategy, market strategy and talent strategy. I want to ask the following. So there are companies that are launching new products, completely new products, and like already existing companies that are releasing new versions of their products, sub products, new services, how do these launches differentiate?
Nichole Elizabeth DeMere: So you’ve got new companies entering the market every day, and often they’re going to be your early stage companies, and they just did a round of beta testing and or they are looking for more beta testers. And then you have companies that are already established like Shopify, Envision, Notion, Intercom and so on that have new versions coming out, or they have so products coming out. And they they’re either iterating on or pivoting on an existing product, or they’re releasing a sub product as part of a product lead growth strategy. There’s a lot of thought going on behind the existing products and their decisions to use channels like ProductHunt again, and again, that’s still part of a broader go to market strategy. In my opinion, a company at any stage, even enterprise companies like HubSpot are always going to market so they’re always releasing new features, new services, new products, and so on. And for each one of those, they’ll still want to have those strategies in place that I mentioned before.
Spyros Tsoukalas: Great, thanks for clarifying that I perceive the same process in a very similar way. So let’s imagine that we have a listener who is willing to like plan their product launch or their broader go to market strategy. If we could summarise a few steps that they should have been they shouldn’t be taking into account. Like it could be 5-10, whatever, I don’t know. How would you summarise the plan that they have to take care of?
Nichole Elizabeth DeMere: So I wouldn’t summarise a broader go to market strategy because you’re going to be looking at 9-12 months out or even more, and that’s going to take a an entire go to market team. But if you’re talking about a checklist for a channel like Product Hunt, I would ensure that you’ve conducted jobs to be done interviews, which means that your understanding customer needs and through those interviews, I would go through business model canvas and your value proposition canvas, depending on the stage of your company. Honestly, I would probably revisit both of those every year, even if you have an enterprise company just because the business model can can continually be changing. And then your value proposition can also be changing depending on what’s going on with the market. For example, you have outside influences happening with the market, like COVID just just happened. And that changed a lot of value propositions and business models. I would, after working through those canvases, update the value proposition, update the positioning and copy on the homepage, I would find a CRO expert or conversion rate optimization expert on GrowthMentor to do a teardown of your website and you can either you know, you can look at your data from Google Analytics or Hot Jar or what have you. But if you don’t have a lot of that data yet, it’s great to go on there and get some tear downs from some of the amazing experts on there. And I would definitely have a very strong community led growth strategy in place in which you are connecting with your ideal customers and also the people in the communities in which are a part of the channels in which you intend to launch your products. And I could go on and on listing things here. But those are very vital. In my opinion, I feel like language is extremely important and it gets missed out on a lot.
Spyros Tsoukalas: Is this link with one of the activities that someone can see among what you have been doing your career, which is about language market fit?
Nichole Elizabeth DeMere: Yeah, absolutely. So as a B2B SaaS consultant, I work with early stage startups and help them to reach language market fit. And aside from the value proposition canvas, there’s all kinds of ways to approach that which have to do with the market strategy and the market research aspects of that strategy. In terms of looking at industry reports, looking at keyword research, conducting customer interviews, interviews with prospects, doing social listening, there’s doing competitive analyses, looking at sites like GQ and Capterra, and looking at how the customers of your competitors are reviewing those, those platforms and the language that they’re using. So there’s all kinds of sources that I would really take into account to kind of capture the language of the market.
Spyros Tsoukalas: Okay, this is this is like, the voice of customer or the voice of our competitors customers is something that is often forgotten in my understanding, and it’s it’s very valuable, but you share that. So going back to launching a product, like what mistakes have you observed taking place around like the companies you have worked with?
Nichole Elizabeth DeMere: So there’s a couple of them. And one of the main ones being that the value proposition is very vague. It isn’t there at all. So when somebody submits a product, to me to review for a Product Hunt for example, I’ll go to their website to check it out. And I don’t know what their product is for what what problem it’s helping solve what what is the solution? I’m not sure and the value proposition that they have, often could be a value proposition for several other kinds of companies so they aren’t getting niche enough. Other than that, there, there’s very long explainer videos. They’ll have like a five minute explainer video and if you’re gonna have a five minute explainer video, you probably want to be further along in your company process like Intercom they can get away with with those five minutes because that’s a person probably trying to understand their product even more. Whereas, if you’re just now getting out into the market, you want to keep it short and memorable.
Spyros Tsoukalas: I guess I guess that the video is more of a problem when companies launch their products on Product Hunt itself, I guess. I have I have lately been listening, we’ve been learning about gifts or other types of graphics that should be being used within Product Hunt. So, last time thing, I got very curious when I was preparing this episode, and I got very curious about the value proposition design part of your activities. Could you help us understand what this mean?
Nichole Elizabeth DeMere: Yeah, so value proposition design is the process of making your value more explicit, it’s communicating the story of how you’re creating value for your customers. So through those open dialogues with your customers and prospects or their shops to be done interviews, for example, you kind of you start to get a picture of the customer profile. And that is part of the value proposition canvas as well. And with that customer profile, you visualise, test and track your understanding of the people and companies in which you intend to create value. And on the other side of that, you create a value map and list the products and services your value proposition builds on. And you describe the ways in which these products and services and features are pain relievers and game creators, a.k.a. benefits for that customer profile that you’ve constructed. And you address the jobs to be done. And those jobs can be functional, like getting from point A to B, or they can be social, like impressing friends and colleagues, or they can be emotional, like gaining peace of mind. And you really want to take all of those kinds of jobs into consideration. Because if you only speak to the functional jobs, then you aren’t speaking to a human to human kind of level where and you lose sight of that emotional connection that you can have through your positioning and value proposition and that that social connection that you can have, as well. And those aspects can have a really big impact in your copy, you don’t want your copy to be really dry, right? You still want to have an emotional connection. Even if it’s B2B, it’s still human to human. So it’s all about like designing all of that and pulling it together to create an experience when your ideal customer lands on your website or your social media, or wherever that they understand right away that your solution solves their biggest pain points, and also what the benefits are, and also how it’s different than everything else out there on the market.
Spyros Tsoukalas: That was wonderful. I loved I loved how you addressed the matter. So last question before we let you continue you your wonderful day. Is there any tool that you have enjoyed using lately?
Nichole Elizabeth DeMere: I, this has been probably a few years now. But I’m really in love with Notion. I put everything in there. My career’s in there and my life is in there. I talk friends into collaborating in notion with me for fun. So I would definitely say Notion. And then also, there’s this really cool company right now called ShareTheBoard. And they are doing a lot with whiteboards, but you can still use your traditional whiteboard. While it’s also interactive with people using the app and it records both what’s on a traditional whiteboard and what people are doing any whiteboard version of or the digitised version of the whiteboard on their mobile devices. At the same time, there isn’t anything else like it. It’s mind blowing.
Spyros Tsoukalas: Thanks for sharing that. Yeah, I think that on top of being huge GrowthMentor funds, we share a passion about Notion as well. So thanks, everyone for listening. This was Eithiriel and I hope you enjoyed this episode as much as I did. Thank you very much.
Nichole Elizabeth DeMere: Thank you!
In this episode
As an early-stage B2B SaaS Consultant, Go-to-Market Strategist, and Product Marketer (with a CX focus), I take startups from idea to problem/solution fit and market-language fit to market-product fit. I help with product launches.
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