A few weeks ago, we launched a new e-book in partnership with the content experts at Kapost. The e-book explored the problems plaguing modern product launch marketing, and offered up a simple solution to the increasing number of failed product launches: content marketing.
With the emergence of content marketing as a discipline, product marketers have a secret weapon in the launch process. The reality is that a launch begins the moment the product team green-lights a new development process. Because of this extended timeline, the product marketing team can begin priming the pump as far before the actual launch as needed.
– Rob Bois, Director of Product Marketing, Plex Systems
As Rob goes on to explain, the days of creating a data sheet and an FAQ to support a product launch are gone. Today’s product marketing is about building an integrated content marketing plan that can help buyers better understand your product in the context of the problem they are trying to solve. But not only that — it’s about enabling your internal teams to better market, sell, and support your new product.
Let’s take a look at the content development process that marketers should progress through as they prepare for a product launch.
1. Frame the larger problem your buyers are trying to solve.
Content has the potential to impact your buyers at every stage of their purchase journey — but in order for it be effective, it needs to be relevant to your buyers’ needs and pain points. Instead of focusing on the new features of your product, work backward until you understand the exact problem that your product addresses. This will form the foundation of your product launch messaging. Then, create content that tackles those topics and moves the buyer through the sales cycle toward purchase.
Keep in mind that different buyers have different preferences, and your content should cater to the ways they consume information, the types of content they prefer, and where they like to access it.
Personas have preferences about what content they like and how they like to receive it, whether it’s print or digital, podcasts or videos. Within any given audience, there are consistencies in the way personas like to consume information. You want to ensure that you are delivering content in the ways your audience wants to consume it.
– Rebecca Kalogeris, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Pragmatic Marketing
The diagram below illustrates some of the types of content that can help support your product launch goals, from gaining your buyers’ interest to securing their confidence. Developing a content mix that focuses on the problems your buyers are trying to solve can help you target them at every stage of their product research process.
2. Clearly and accurately explain how your product helps solve that problem.
Once you have a concrete understanding of your target audience, you can begin the content development process. The team at Kapost recommends using a “content pillar” system that can help feed each of your marketing channels. This involves creating all of the following:
- An “Appetizer” asset, which is typically delivered through top-of-funnel channels like social media and blogs. These are fun assets like a SlideShare or an infographic. The call to action drives to a related, gated content asset, known as the “Entree”.
- An “Entree” asset, which is your main content asset and is delivered both at the top of the funnel and at the middle of the funnel (through emails targeted to relevant segments within your database, paid advertising, etc.). A solid Entree asset provides actionable advice that addresses your audience’s pain points without actually pitching your product, and can be broken down into a number of smaller assets, from blog posts to infographics and podcasts. The call to action in the Entree asset drives readers to the “Dessert” piece.
- A “Dessert” asset, which is distributed at the bottom of the funnel. The Dessert asset is product-specific (think data sheets, PDFs, and demos), and covers exactly how your product meets the needs of the buyer.
These three assets can be broken down into a number of “derivative assets.” Take a look at the chart below to learn more about the different types of content that are appropriate for each stage of the sales cycle, and the channels that can be used to distribute them.
3. Enable your sales team to sell the product (and your other teams to support it).
Content isn’t just about supporting the needs of your buyers. Your company has likely invested tons of time and resources in a go-to-market plan for your product — make sure everything goes off without a hitch by enabling your internal teams with the content they need to market, sell, support, and pitch your new product.
A great way to kick off this internal enablement process is by creating an internal launch email with every go-to resource that your teams will need prior to launch. Include a rundown of your launch plan, links to any relevant landing pages, talking points for each team, a prewritten email template for your sales team, and any other relevant information. Make sure to also store these materials in an easy-to-find place.
The chart below provides a simple guide for the types of content that may be needed for each of your internal teams. Be sure to touch base in the weeks prior to launch to determine exactly what each of your teams needs to be successful.
Content can and should be utilized at every stage of the product launch process, from your buyer’s first touchpoint to the moment of purchase — and beyond. If you’d like more information on modern product launch marketing, including post-launch content development and measuring product launch success, be sure to download the full Blueprint of Product Launch Marketing by clicking on the banner below.