We all want a successful launch, which begins with a definition of success: Product Launch Objectives. You also need market knowledge of your customers, competitors, and a message that resonates with buyers. But what about your launch strategy?
A strategy is a plan, method, or series of maneuvers or strategies for obtaining a specific goal or result. There are many strategies you can use in a product launch.
What if I told you there are proven strategies that serve as building blocks for building a winning launch strategy?
I call these strategy building blocks Launch Plays. Truth be told, I borrowed it from our friends in Sales. They have Sales Plays that help them consistently improve sales outcomes.
A Launch Play is a packaged launch strategy that produces surprisingly consistent results. Launch Plays are connected to the launch objectives of Win, Keep, Grow, and Steal.
Everything we do in a product launch can be simplified into four objectives: Win new customers, Keep the customers we win, Grow the customers we Keep, and, when market conditions are favorable, Steal customers from competitors.
Launch Strategies for a Win Launch Objective
A Win launch objective is about winning new customers and growing market share. The Win launch objective has two launch plays: Stealth and Rolling Thunder.
Stealth Launch Play
Use a Stealth Launch Play to quietly build organizational readiness and customer references in markets where buyers require references to make a purchase. Consider this Launch Play when entering a new product category or an unfamiliar market segment or when your promotional budget is limited.
Rolling Thunder Launch Play
Use a Rolling Thunder Launch Play when you have a strong product offering but are unsure about the right market segments and buyers. Start with an educated guess at a target market segment, conduct a targeted campaign, learn, and adjust. In each cycle, ramp up campaign reach and volume.
Launch Strategies for a Keep Launch Objective
A Keep launch objective is about keeping the customers you win. The Keep launch objective has two launch plays: Adoption and Retention.
Adoption Launch Play
An Adoption Launch Play focuses on stickiness. Consider this Launch Play when your launch objective is to proactively increase renewals. This launch play is often used to increase usage (DAU) and with a feature launch that adds new capabilities to your product.
Retention Launch Play
A Retention Launch Play focuses on renewals and is used to respond to a higher-than-acceptable churn rate. A Retention Launch Play works best when the root cause of churn is identified, and action is taken to correct it.
Launch Strategies for a Grow Launch Objective
A Grow launch objective is about growing the customers you keep. The point of these strategies is to increase revenue from existing customers by selling them something new or expanding the usage of your product to more people within a customer organization. The Grow launch objective has two launch plays: Expand and Migrate.
Expand Launch Play
An Expand Launch Play is used to either increase the number of users of your product or to sell them a new product. In the former scenario, you might use an Expand Launch Play to grow revenue from existing customers when a new feature expands the types of users for your product. In the latter scenario, you want to increase customer revenue by selling customers something new.
Migrate Launch Play
A Migration Launch Play is a careful orchestration of moving customers from a product they have been using to a replacement product. This is a common scenario in the software industry but extends to many other sectors. In this situation, you have a customer base on a product you want to migrate to a replacement product, but the transition will be challenging. The risk is losing enough customers that it negatively impacts revenue or company reputation.
Launch Strategies for a Steal Launch Objectives
A Steal launch objective is about stealing customers from competitors. There is one launch play for the Steal launch objective.
Assassin Launch Play
An Assassin Launch Play - as morbid as it sounds - refers to weakening or removing a competitor that is already weak. A market segment always has a set of competitors. Identify the weakest of those competitors and focus sales and marketing efforts on eliminating them as a competitor. It is not recommended to use this launch play if you are the dominant competitor. The market frowns upon it. Using this launch play to go after the dominant competitor is also not recommended.
Different Market Segments, Different Launch Plays
As you become familiar with the 7 Launch Plays, you'll notice that some are complimentary and some are not. You should strive to choose the fewest set of Launch Plays needed to reach your launch objectives.