A Guide to Effective Product Launch Communication
Launching a new product is an exciting endeavor for any SaaS company, but success hinges on more than just the product itself. At the core of every groundbreaking product launch, there’s a carefully crafted communication plan that establishes an aligned vision and cohesive go-to-market strategy.
Without effective communication, your chances of having a smooth (and lucrative) product launch are slim. A fine-tuned launch communication strategy will ensure that your product resonates with your audience and has a basis for continuous improvement and iteration.
In this guide, we’ll explore the various stages of product launch communication, emphasizing the critical distinction between internal and external communication strategies and addressing common pain points experienced by Product, Product Marketing, and Growth Managers.
In the end, we hope to leave you with actionable best practices solutions to streamline and enhance your product launch communication plan.
The stages of product launch communication.
As you embark on the product launch journey, understanding the goal of each launch stage is going to set you on the right track toward creating an effective communication plan.
The amount of effort and stakeholder involvement needed at each stage of your product launch will vary from one product to another. Some will be very lean and require setting up basic launch communication strategies, while others may require extensive preparation, like reaching out to past customers and external partners. Regardless, it is crucial to have a plan in place for each phase of your product launch.
Stage 1: Pre-launch preparation.
Your product launch starts way before the product hits the market. If we think of a product launch day as the opening night of a Broadway show, the pre-launch stage is when the casting, rehearsals, and stage prep happen.
How you handle your pre-launch stage can shape perceptions, build momentum, and mitigate the risks of your product launch. It’s a period of intense planning and preparation where the groundwork is laid for a successful launch. The pre-launch stage is about crafting a strategic communication approach and setting the tone for how internal and external stakeholders will perceive the product launch.
Before the curtains rise on your product, generate anticipation internally and externally. Align with cross-functional teams, tease the launch, and create a buzz.
Stage 2: Launch.
The launch stage is when you execute everything that was planned in the pre-launch. How you communicate with customers and other stakeholders on the product launch day and the first two weeks immediately following it will define your product’s success.
After the launch, your product becomes old news, so you should take advantage of the much-wanted attention of the launch phase to generate interest and engagement. As Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot, puts it: “The next big thing in the product is not a product, it’s the experience around that product”.
At this stage, your goal is to ensure that everyone is on the same page internally to deliver a compelling and cohesive message to customers.
Stage 3: Post-Launch.
Post-launch communication is a critical but overlooked phase in a product’s lifecycle. It’s the period following the immediate excitement of the product’s introduction to the market. This stage is crucial for maintaining momentum, understanding the product’s impact, and laying the groundwork for sustained success.
At this stage, the goal is to analyze the launch’s success, gather feedback, and maintain engagement. It primarily focuses on building communication systems to capture, automate, and understand the overall product/launch performance.
An effective post-launch communication strategy can include:
- Sharing your post-launch story or a timeline of the product’s evolution
- Sharing your product roadmap to show upcoming features or product updates
- Internally reviewing the lessons learned and key takeaways
- Collecting detailed customer feedback from in-app surveys
- Tracking and sharing key product launch performance metrics
The difference between internal and external communication.
Communication isn’t one-size-fits-all. Throughout the stages of your product launch, you will be required to consistently communicate with both internal and external audiences. Most product teams know how important it is to tailor product messaging and communication strategies to target customers, but it’s equally important to make this distinction for your internal audience.
Internal and external communication serve distinct purposes, each requiring a tailored approach. Let’s explore how to communicate effectively with both audiences.
How to communicate product launches internally.
Internal product launch communication is about equipping all members of your organization with go-to-market knowledge, resources, and tools. It involves defining goals and timelines, educating and training customer-facing teams, and anticipating processes for crisis management.
1. Product launch goals
Clearly define internal goals to align everyone on the purpose and objectives of the product launch. This alignment is particularly important amongst customer-facing teams as it impacts how they position, promote, and sell the product. A shared vision fosters cohesion and ensures that there are no gaps in communication.
2. Launch timeline
Establish a detailed timeline for internal communication milestones. Since product roadmaps are always subject to change, it’s important to keep an eye out for delays that can impact the communication plan. Preparation is the key to a synchronized launch.
3. Outline expectations
Expectations around the launch scale, potential growth of the customer base, and its intricacies must be communicated clearly to avoid any frustrations. Each team will be responsible for reporting on their respective post-launch results, so defining expectations will ensure that they’re tracking the right metrics.
4. Demonstrate how teams will be impacted
Outlining expectations goes hand in hand with defining potential long-term impact on teams across your organization. Communicating how the launch or product changes will impact different teams will help them adapt their workflows and processes. Addressing concerns promptly will foster a supportive environment.
5. Internal Requirements:
Specify the resources and support required internally. If the steps above are not overlooked, defining internal requirements shouldn’t be a difficult endeavor. Clear expectations pave the way for a smoother execution.
How to tailor product launch communication for customers.
Navigating the external communication landscape is as crucial as internal coordination. Effectively reaching and engaging your customers requires a thoughtful strategy. Let’s delve into how to tailor your communication to resonate with your audience during this pivotal phase of the product launch.
1. Product benefits
Highlight the benefits of the new product for customers. Clearly communicate how the new product or features add value to their experience. Your value proposition is your highest selling point.
2. Launch timeline
Communicate the launch timeline to manage customer expectations. If your new product is being rolled out in phases, make sure they know when to expect updates or highly anticipated features. Transparency builds trust and excitement.
3. Outline expectations
Clearly articulate what customers can expect during the launch, preparing them for changes, releasing prices, and anticipating support. Provide tutorials, resources, and easy access to support to avoid bumps in the user experience. Addressing concerns proactively ensures a positive reception.
4. Keep users up to date
Provide information on how customers can stay informed about the launch progress. Using a platform like Beamer, you can easily create and incorporate a changelog on your app to provide regular updates and make announcements. Communicating with users in-app is the most effective way to generate engagement around product launches and updates.
The synergy between internal and external communication not only streamlines the launch process but also fortifies the connection between your team and the audience, setting the stage for a truly impactful product launch.
Best Practices for Communicating a Product Launch.
A successful product launch needs a product launch communication plan. Without one, Product Managers and Product Marketing Managers will struggle to manage accountability, assign ownership of tasks and responsibilities, and get lost in the product launch timeline.
Communicating a product launch effectively requires efficient cross-functional collaboration, rigorous attention to detail, and clarity – the bedrock of a successful launch. Let’s delve into best practices to combat communication challenges and ensure a smooth launch experience.
1. Identify all stakeholders.
Identify all the internal and external stakeholders that will be part of or notified about the product launch. To ensure that the communication is coming through the right channel and time, create a stakeholder map to assign titles and responsibilities.
The different types of stakeholders involved in a product launch include:
- Target stakeholders: These are the ones who are at the receiving end of the communication
- Source stakeholders: They are the owners or senders of the communication
Stakeholders categorization: Segmenting between internal and external stakeholders
2. Craft a clear communication plan.
A communication plan will define what will be shared with each stakeholder, when it will be communicated, and how. An efficient and comprehensive plan will include a timeline of communication and will define the appropriate channels for each audience.
For internal stakeholders, it should include:
- A breakdown of assigned responsibilities across departments
- A schedule for cross-functional meetings for all stages of the launch
- Training resources and documentation for customer support and sales teams
- A process for providing timely pre-launch internal feedback
Similarly, for external stakeholders, it should include:
- Plans to notify and engage customers throughout the launch stages
- A breakdown of multi-channel marketing communications
- A list of partnerships and cross-marketing opportunities that will be leveraged
- A communication plan for non-customer external stakeholders, like investors
- A crisis communication plan
3. Leverage automation tools to streamline communication.
From saving time to increasing productivity, automation makes product launches significantly more effective. Other than saving time, it ensures consistency in messaging.
For example, instead of asking your customer support team to send 1:1 emails to collect customer feedback post-launch, you can create an automated system that gathers feedback inside your app. This way, your team can focus on helping customers and creating solutions based on their feedback.
With Beamer, you can take an extra step and use Zapier to create automated workflows and pipelines based on the data collected from user feedback or engagement. For instance, you can set up automatic email responses from Account Managers or Customer Success Managers based on the feedback provided.
Other ways you can automate your product launch communication with Beamer include:
- Sending targeted push or in-app notifications with product updates and announcements
- Redirecting users to customer support channels or helpful resources
- Notifying your team on Slack when users report negative feedback
By implementing these best practices, you pave the way for a successful product launch. Clear communication, collaboration, and automation work together to overcome challenges, making the journey smoother and more effective.
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Product launch communication tools.
Enhancing your communication strategy requires the right tools. Beamer can streamline your two-way communication flow and ensure that no exciting product update goes unnoticed.
Let’s explore the benefits.
- Changelog: With Changelog (and changelog management tools), you can keep your customers on top of each update. It is an always-accessible source of product updates for the customers and internal and external stakeholders.
- In-App and Push Notifications: Push timely in-app notifications about your product to all or a segment of your users without being overwhelmed. Similarly, for offline/past user engagement management, re-engage them through browser-based push notifications.
- Feedback Systems: Beamer Feedback allows you to gather feedback and validate feature requests in one place.
- Roadmap: Keep your customers in the loop on what new features/improvements they can expect. Notify users when the status of their feature requests change, closing the feedback loop and fostering trust.
- Segmentation: Tailor and personalize your messages based on pre-defined customers/past customer segments.
- NPS: Make it easy for your customer to leave feedback and evaluate potential retention and churn rates.
In conclusion, effective product launch communication is a collaborative effort that requires clear planning, cross-functional collaboration, and the right tools. By adopting these strategies and tools, SaaS companies can ensure that their product launches not only meet but exceed the expectations of internal teams and customers alike, paving the way for sustained growth and success.
Remember, communication is not just about conveying information; it’s about creating an experience that resonates with your audience.
Beamer offers a comprehensive solution to streamline your communication efforts. Try it for free and experience firsthand how it can elevate your product launch communication strategy.