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Product Marketing

How to launch a product that differentiates from the competition

3 min

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That new product launch feeling…

If you’ve ever launched a product, the dread that the entire thing will flop likely sets in the moment you hit ‘go’.

And for James Doman-Pipe, that dread became a reality.

In the latest episode of the Competitive Enablement Show, James shared why one of his biggest product launches fell flat, and what he did differently his second go-around to truly set themselves apart from the competition.

So, about that flop…

When James joined Kayako as their first product marketer, they wanted to launch a new product that’d revolutionize the world of customer service.

“We had a really strong vision to take it away from a cost center and instead position customer service as a revenue-generator,” he says.

They began to build their product revolving around this vision, checking all of the boxes you’d do for a product launch.

“We followed all of the best practices… We did interviews. We developed messaging. We tested it with our audience. We launched feeling super confident that we’d done all of the groundwork.”

(Now it’s time to cue the wa wa wa waaa music…)

The whole thing flopped.

We’re talking about going from thousands a day in revenue, to zero. Zilch. Nada.

So, what went wrong?

The biggest problem was that they’d messaged the wrong value to the wrong audience.

“We analyzed who that customer was that we’re seeing on the website, in the sales process, and who are the ones that we’d actually messaged to. They were completely different.

“We’d messaged to those leaders and executives who cared about all of this aspirational value. But the people coming to the website, discovering the product, and championing it just weren’t bothered at all. The buyers wanted messaging that was much more tangible… that would speak to the pains they were experiencing.”

The lesson?

When positioning your product, map out the stakeholders that will be involved in that buying journey and how you’ll message to each persona.

Your product launch messaging must speak to the pains of the buyer - James Doman-Pipe, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Remote

How to do a product launch… take two

On James’ next go-around launching a product at Headstart, the results were a whole lot more positive.

He’d learned the hard way about speaking to the right audience based on the product launch at Kayako. But this time, the messaging not only targeted buyers effectively, but also differentiated Headstart from competitors. How?

By tapping into the pains of their buyer that the rest of the market wasn’t.

In this case, the buyers weren’t just bothered by the pains of today or an immediate business impact, but were socially conscious buyers with a longer-term vision.

“We found that these people were in this role because they wanted to make a difference. They wanted to give every graduate the best opportunities to improve their social standing.”

So, James established three core values that resonated with buyers — business, professional, and personal value — and built those into what he calls the heart and brain narrative.

And while competitors had been hammering the business and professional value to buyers, they’d all skimmed over the most important part: personal value. 

“Nobody else was talking about that in the market. Everyone was talking about the business impact. Nobody connected it back to, ‘What can I, as an individual, do to enact change?’”

This window of opportunity allowed Headstart to connect in a unique way compared to the rest of the market. 

“It was one of the big levers for us that we were able to latch onto relatively early on.”

The lesson?

Your product launch needs to be centred around the buyer. They don’t care about your product, they care about their pains.

And when you find some traction positioning those values that the rest of the market has ignored? Don’t hesitate. It’s time to hit the accelerator.

Catch the full conversation with James, where we dive into a whole lot more, on Apple and Spotify.

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