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Product Launch: The Ultimate Guide

Read Product Launch: The Ultimate Guide. It's packed with great launch insights and thinking tools to get you on the path to a successful product launch. 

Product Launch and Marketing Glossary

A glossary of commonly used terms and acronyms used in the development of software products. 


The point in time a product is announced to the public.


It's a milestone that signals communication with a target audience begins. The timing of when to announce can vary considerably. A product with a very long sales cycle might get announced long before it’s generally available. In other cases, an announcement might occur at the same time as Release to Marketing (RTM), Limited Availability (LA), or General Availability (GA)


(See also GA and LA) - the point in time when a product is available to the public. 

Battle Card

A battle card is a one-page sales tool that helps a salesperson navigate a competitive sales situation. It provides a summary of your product, the competitor and the competitor's products, the target buyer (see buyer persona), its strengths and weaknesses, ways to engage in a sales conversation, a proof points of why your company/product is better (see unique value proposition).


Typically defines a testing phase for a product when the product is stable enough to share with a limited audience. Beta can also be used to validate Positioning, Unique Value Propositions, and stress-test operations. 

Beta is a milestone when real users get to use a product in the real world for the first time and provide feedback about their experience. A beta test program is typically offered to a limited number of customers, who are likelier to test a product more thoroughly and provide constructive feedback.

The Beta program isn't just for product testing. It's also a time to refine positioning and discover which features customers value the most, which feeds into value-based pricing. 

Buyer Persona

A fictional representation of the people who are involved in a decision to buy a product or service. A Buyer Persona is developed from factual information about people through interviews and observation. 




Buyer Personas are the atomic element in a buyer's journey. Their needs, desires, and requirements factor into buying criteria, which form the acceptance criteria of a buying decision. 


Buyer's Journey

The typical steps buyers (see Buyer Persona) take to purchase a product or service is a Buyer's Journey. It is much more detailed than a sales process and more expressive of what buyers actually do. It can also be referred to as the Buying Process.

A Buyer's Journey maps the path different buyer personas take along the way to making a buying decision. There are typically different buying roles, including the economic buyer, technical evaluator, user buyer (sometimes called a functional buyer), and researcher.


The sales team often equates the economic buyer with the decision maker. Technical evaluators look at a product or service through the lens of compliance. It either matches or it doesn't. The user (functional) buyer views a product or service through the lens of functionality. That is, will it help us to do our job better? And the researcher is the Buyer Persona tasked with finding a solution to a problem. 

Buying Center

A group of Buyer Personas involved in a decision to buy a product is called a Buying Center. Contrary to popular belief, a Buying Center is rarely an organized group with a common agenda. Often the Buyer Personas in a Buying Center operate independently and provide their feedback as they engage in their part of the Buyer's Journey. 

Buying Criteria

Buying criteria is the set of attributes or qualities a buyer persona uses to evaluate one product over another. Buying criteria range a spectrum from nice to have to must have. 

Campaign (Marketing Campaign)

A series of connected activities designed to bring about an accelerated result. A simple email blast-no matter how large the list-isn't a campaign. The most effective marketing campaigns are multi-channel.

There may be several email sends, social media outreach, advertisements, sales plays, and so forth, coupled with automated nurture streams, common look and feel, and outreach tools for a sales team. 


Channel Partner

A channel partner is typically an organization that sells your products and services on your behalf. They sell your product as is (Reseller or Retailer), add other products or services to service a niche (Value Added Reseller), or they can do the above on your behalf (Distributor). The path from you to your customers is called a distribution channel. It's how your products get to your customers. Some distribution channels are very short, and some are very long.

Every node in your distribution channel wants to make a profit, so remember to factor that into your pricing strategy. 

Competitive Landscape

A summary of all potential competitors (rivals) capable of solving a similar set of customer problems. Used to identify threats and market entry points, develop value propositions, and position a product offering.

Having deep insight into competitors and their products is critical to positioning your product and re-positioning your competitors. Most competitors have a quality or other attribute they position as their strength. The goal of re-positioning competitors is to make them look less attractive to buyers. 

Continuous Delivery

A software development practice of pushing new features to a clone of the system which has passed automated testing. Software releases in the clone are ready for manual testing. New features are often delivered with feature flags.

Continuous Deployment

A software development practice of pushing new features into a live system which have passed automated testing. The new features are often deployed with feature flags to allow them to be turned on and off. Depending on the state of the feature flag, new features can be available to all customers or limited to select customers. 

Continuous Integration

A software development practice that merges the code of all developers into one code base. 

Customer Advisory Board (CAB)

A group of customers or other influencers who provide feedback on company/product direction. In times past a CAB was used as a mechanism to get feedback on which features to build next. Over time CABs evolved to be a component of a customer retention program. 


Customer Profile

Another term used for a Buyer Persona.

Dark Features

A software development practice of releasing features to a subset of customers. The features can be validated and modified as needed. This group of customers may not know they are being tested (they are "in the dark").

Demo Dolly

A lighthearted term that is used to describe someone who conducts a demonstration of a product.


A basic, conceptual structure that provides direction and guidance. E.g., development framework, design framework, testing framework, messaging framework, or go-to-market framework.

General Availability (GA)

A term that denotes that a product can be sold and revenue can be recognized. Used widely in the software industry. 

Golden Master (GM)

Borrowed from the days of burning a software product onto a CD or DVD. It's the final version that is released to manufacturing (RTM). 

It's a development milestone that signals the development team is finished. It is a formal handover to the (product) marketing team. The term originated in the days when software was burned onto diskettes, CDs, and DVDs.


Go to Market (GTM)

"Go to market" is an umbrella term used to describe the set of activities involved in bringing a new product or new version of a product to market. Some organizations use Go-to-Market and Product Launch interchangeably.

A Go to Market Strategy anchors a go-to market effort. This focuses primarily on how awareness and engagement result in sales leads and how a sales team is prepared to have discussions with prospective buyers.

Go to Market Strategy (GTM Strategy)

The overarching approach (stratagem) taken to introduce a product to a market in order to achieve a business goal. Developing a Go-to-Market Strategy requires identifying ideal customer profiles, target market segments, communications channels, partnerships, distribution channels, competitive landscape, business models, and pricing models.

Launch Canvas

A one-page summary of a launch plan that incorporates launch objectives, KPIs, advantages, obstacles, resources, and budget. There are two uses of a Launch Canvas. One is as a thinking tool. The other is as a communication tool with a launch team and key stakeholders.















A free copy of the BrainKraft Launch Canvas is found in the Member's Area Worksheets and Templates folder. Note there are PDF, PPT, and Keynote versions. 





Read the article Product Launch Planning with the BrainKraft Launch Canvas to learn more about the Launch Canvas.    

Launch Director

The individual who is accountable for launch success.

Launch Readiness

The state that exists in an organization when all parts of the organization are ready to do their part to achieve the launch objectives. 


Launch Objectives

Launch Objectives define the parameters of a successful product launch. The big three launch objectives are Win, Keep, and Grow. Win represents new customer acquisition, Keep represents customer retention, and Grow represents increasing purchases from existing customers. 


More on the launch objectives of Win, Keep and Grow can be found in the article Defining Launch Objectives: Win, Keep and Grow. 

Launch Plan

A launch plan documents launch objectives, launch strategy to achieve the objectives, launch readiness efforts, and the performance metrics to track launch performance. 

The Launch Canvas is a simplified one-page approach to think through the process of a product launch and document the "big rocks" that need to be moved to have a successful product launch.

Launch Readiness

A cross-functional effort to prepare an organization to promote, sell, deliver, and support a product. More information on launch readiness is available in the article  The Four Dimensions of Launch Readiness

and Product Launch: The Ultimate Guide

Launch Roadmap

The tool to help you communicate the launch status with your executive team is a Launch Roadmap. Generally speaking, a roadmap is a guide. It shows how something gets accomplished. A Product Launch Roadmap fills that definition of a product launch. 



The article How to Build a Better Product Launch Roadmap That Actually Delights Every Stakeholder has a more detailed explanation of a product launch roadmap with an example and a downloadable PPT. 

Launch Strategy

Leveraging available internal and external resources to achieve launch objectives. Launch strategy guides launch tactics, not the other way around. A launch planning sequence begins with defining launch goals, then building a launch strategy, and then the launch tactics. 

Limited Availability (LA)

The state of a product when it can be sold but only to select customers. LA is used to control the delivery of a product and is often used to get reference customers in advance of a product launch. 

It's a milestone when a product is available but only to a limited number of customers. Typically LA is used as a way to control access to a product when there are concerns that going GA would be detrimental or too risky to the business in some way.


Marketing Asset

An artifact, skill, knowledge, or quality that helps achieve a marketing objective, e.g., increase conversions, educate buyers, or retain customers. The term market asset is often used to refer to tangible things like website pages, articles, podcast episodes, recorded webinars, white papers, ebooks, analyst reports, and sales tools. 


Marketing Plan

A strategy document that documents the go-to-market objectives, strategy, tactics, and performance metrics.


Market Position

A place in the minds of potential customers to occupy. It allows potential customers to compare your product and other products.


Market Segment

The meaning of a market segment is that it is a group of people who share common needs or problems, common behaviors, common preferences, and reference each other. Market segments refine the focus for development, marketing, and sales efforts to optimize resources for a higher return.



The practice of developing a message potential customers understand and will respond to in a positive way. Also referred to as a Primary Message. It is developed as an output of a positioning process.

MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead)

An abbreviation for Marketing Qualified Lead. An MQL is a sales lead that meets a set of qualification criteria before handing it off from the marketing team to the sales team. The qualification criteria are typically a combination of marketing automation pattern identification along with input from the sales team. 

Organizations that have a Sales Development Rep team will receive the MQLs from the Marketing team and further qualify the MQLs, rejecting some of them and passing the rest on to the Sales team.

NPI (New Product Introduction)

A product launch specific to a new product.



Positioning is a form of communication. It's the practice of developing a 'position' in the minds of buyers that leverages perceptions a buyer already has. More commonly, positioning refers to the process of connecting a potential customer's needs and preferences with the strengths of an organization (people and products) to get customers to take action.

Positioning also includes re-positioning of competitors, which is to cast competitors in a less-than-desirable light. 


The practice of implementing a pricing strategy.


Product Launch

A coordinated effort to bring a product to market that accelerates business objectives. Not to be confused with a product release. A synonym for launch is "go to market", "GTM", "new product introduction", or "NPI" in some organizations. 

Product Launch Strategy

Leveraging all available resources (internal and external) to achieve launch objectives. Product launch strategy guides launch tactics, not the other way around. A launch planning sequence begins with defining launch objectives, building a product launch strategy, and then the launch tactics that support the strategy.


Product Management

The discipline of moving products through a life cycle from idea to creation to growth. Titles in this discipline include product manager, offer manager, product marketing manager, and many other clever derivatives.

The day-to-day activities of a product manager can vary widely from company to company. At the core, a product manager's role is to identify opportunities to solve problems for groups of customers (market segments) that support a business strategy. They gain support internally by gaining resources and the budget to build and maintain the thing that solves the problems they've discovered. 


Product Marketing

The discipline of bringing a product or service to market and driving it to its potential. Product marketing includes developing a go-to-market (GTM) strategy, positioning, making the market aware of a product offering, pricing, packaging, preparing the sales team, and launching a product. 


Product Release

A version of a product completed by the Development team. In the software world, releases don't always require a launch. For hard goods, a release is associated with a new model of a product, and the frequency is far less than software. 

Release Candidate (RC)

A release candidate is a development milestone when testing is nearing completion, and the product could be made generally available to customers. It’s common to have multiple Release Candidates (RCs) before reaching Golden Master.

Release to Marketing (RTM)

RTM can also refer to release to manufacturing. The term has been changed to reflect today’s reality. RTM means that the product marketing team can begin promoting a product as the product development is complete.



A strategy document that results from a roadmapping exercise. Often erroneously considered a commitment document by everyone outside the product team.



The planning practice for identifying and sequencing product capabilities, market opportunities, and events (more on roadmapping from Product Growth Leaders).

Roll Out

Roll Out, as in "When is the Roll Out of the product?", typically refers to the activities that support the announcement and availability of a product. Sometimes Roll Out only refers to internal activities that are associated with launch readiness.

Route to Market (RTM)

A Route(s) to Market is the path(s) taken to efficiently achieve sales objectives. This may involve a combination of a direct sales force, resellers (channel partners), and e-commerce. Route to Market is often abbreviated to RTM, which confused it with the term Release to Marketing or Release to Manufacturing. 


Sales Enablement

The practice of preparing and verifying a sales channel is capable of identifying a qualified sales prospect and guiding the prospect through a decision to buy a product.

The term "sales enablement" includes the selling infrastructure, methodologies, processes, knowledge, and tools. In a product launch, sales enablement most often refers to educating the sales channel on a product (or suite of products) that addresses a need in the market. 

Some organizations have a dedicated Sales Enablement team, and in others, the activities of sales enablement are the responsibility of product marketing or product management. 


Sales Engineer

A role that provides technical pre-sales support. Often abbreviated as SE. A sales engineer has a deeper knowledge of a product than a salesperson and is a technical expert in the field. Activities a sales engineer performs include giving product demos, working with a sales prospect's technical team, and assisting with the technical aspects of a sales proposal. 


Sales Funnel

A common representation, the graphic of a funnel, of a sales process from a lead to the close of a sale. There are many depictions of a sales funnel. Terms like "top of the funnel" and "bottom of the funnel" refer to areas of the sales funnel. Top of the funnel is where new marketing qualified leads (MQLs) are introduced. The bottom of the funnel is the last stage of a sales process before a customer makes the final decision to buy. 

The steps in the progression of a sale in a sales funnel typically follow the sales methodology adopted by a sales team. 

Sales Opportunity

AKA "Opportunity". It's a potential customer that has expressed interest in your product or service and meets the qualifications established in a sales-qualified lead (SQL). 


"Scrum is a framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value." Go to the SCRUM website for details. 


Show Up and Throw Up

A term used to describe a presentation or a demonstration of a product where the prospect's problems are not known or taken into consideration.

Spray and Pray

A marketing practice that employs unfocused methods in an attempt to find a qualified lead. Companies employing 'Spray and Pray' spend a lot of money and have a low return on investment (ROI). 

Sales Accepted Lead (SAL)

SAL in some organizations fits between an MQL and a SQL as part of a multi-step lead qualification process. An MQL meets a minimal set of qualifications and is passed to an SDR (Sales Development Rep, aka BDR) to further qualify the lead. Once it passes the SDR lead qualification step, the MQL is deemed a Sales Accepted Lead and passed along to a salesperson.

Sales Development Rep (SDR)

A sales development rep (SDR) is also known as a business development rep (BDR). These are the people that do first-level sales filtering of marketing qualified leads. If the SDR determines a high enough level of interest, the lead is passed on to a sales rep. The result of the work of an SDR is either a new sales opportunity or it is rejected.

Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)

An SQL is a sales lead that has been accepted by a Sales team and becomes a Sales Opportunity. (not to be confused with Structured Query Language). An SQL is a sales lead with clear intent to buy. 

Unique Value Proposition (UVP)

AKA Unique Selling Proposition. The unique, differentiated thing you offer your customers. It's what sets your company or product apart from the competition. A UVP is only unique if customers believe it's unique. 

Value Proposition

A value proposition is a promise to a customer to deliver a set of benefits.

general availability
Limited Availabilty
Buyer Persona
Buyers Journey
Buying Center
custome advisory board
go to market
Lanch Readiness
Lanch Plan
go to market strategy
unique vaue proposition
Launch Objectives
Buying Criteria
Launch Canvas
Launch Strategy
Launch Roadmap
markting qualified lead
sales qualfied lead
sales accepted lead
Positioning Canvas
Battlecard Worksheet | BrainKraft
Battle Card
Buyer Persona Canvas a tool for developing buyer personas
Product Launch Canvas from BrainKraft | Plan a successful product launch
Define objectives of a successful product launch with the BrainKraft Objectives Worksheet
Product Launch Strategy
sales development rep
Sales Opportunity
Channel Partner
Route to Market
Release to Marketing
Product Launch
Market Segment
Launch Readiness