Nailing your climate tech product launch messaging
The value of your product launch messaging goes far beyond the launch itself. As well as attracting customers, partners, investors, and potential hires, a good product launch marketing strategy boosts your overall brand awareness and helps firmly position you within your target market. It can also spur a sense of ownership within your company by helping everyone on your team understand exactly what you’re building and how to communicate it, driving awareness and adoption. So with such far-reaching potential benefits, where do you start with product launch messaging, and how do you make sure it appeals to your ideal customers?
Jason Demeny is a marketer with experience launching products and developing messaging for companies like Microsoft and Patch. We sat down with him to discuss why it’s crucial to understand your customer needs before developing a new product, to get your target audience’s perspective on your product, how to develop the right product messaging, and other important pieces of advice in the run-up to your launch.
Start as early as possible
If you want it to land, you can’t just tack on your product marketing strategy at the last minute - it needs to be built in tandem with the product itself. Your product marketing team and your product team should work together from the start to develop a product and set of messages that are interconnected and closely reflect each other.
Make sure your product and company messaging align
Your company messaging is all about your business’s purpose, the value that it delivers to the market, and how you want to portray its story to the world. In the climate sector, that means communicating how you’re addressing climate change, and how you’re supporting your target customer, your community, and other key stakeholders to do the same.
Meanwhile, from a product launch standpoint, messaging focuses on the product itself, who it’s for, and the value it delivers. You’re trying to drive awareness of your product among your target market and pique their interest in learning more, hopefully culminating in a purchase.
While these two messaging strands might seem distinct, your product messaging shouldn’t be disjointed from your company’s overarching story. It should either move your company’s broader messaging forward, or adjust it in an intentional way - if there’s a total disconnect, your target audience will be confused.
Early on in your product development, evaluate whether the product aligns with what your business is already delivering. If it’s a big departure, the company messaging may need to be updated at or before the product launch to reflect changes.
Put in time with your target audience
Product marketing should be directly aligned with product development - you need to understand what your customer wants and needs, and design specifically for those things. So, you’ll need to get out of the office and identify and prioritize their challenges and understand the outcomes that they want to achieve.
These conversations might result in a list of many problems - filter out the ones you're not going to address intentionally and focus on a key few. You’ll use this to both inform the development of the product and to start developing your messaging framework. If your product has capabilities that are aligned to problems 1, 2, and 3, you can then turn these into key messages: your company has delivered product X, that enables A, B, and C.
Then, engage friendly customers within your target audience again, and start testing out ways of communicating your product’s key qualities that make sense to them. Confirm that the messages are clear and differentiated, and resonate with them. Make sure you’re meeting people at their level, and that your language reflects the world as they see it.
Don’t ignore the alternatives
You need to know who your competitors are, but you also need to understand the alternatives - ways your target market is already trying to address the problems you’ve identified. For example, think of how a smart person with Excel can, with some effort, achieve the same results as a newfangled piece of software. When you’re developing your value statements, you’ll need to differentiate yourself from these alternatives as much as possible without referring to them directly.
To do so, call out the problem that still exists with those alternatives in your product announcement - you might say, ‘today, it’s really difficult to do X, Y, and Z’ - and specifically highlight how you address those problems. You don’t have to say outright that you’re better than the competition - just explain the difference in your approach, and the results it delivers.
Adapt your message to appeal to different audiences
If you’re targeting multiple audiences, you can tweak your content so it's more appealing to each group, but every piece of collateral should still be part of the broader message you’re communicating around the product. They should be complementary, not in conflict with each other.
Before the launch, you should test your messaging with people in your target audience who’ve never seen it before to make sure it won’t fall flat - and modify as appropriate. You’ll also need to figure out the channels you want to use to announce your new product, which will depend on your specific brand and how you want to communicate with your audience. This might include LinkedIn, Instagram, or your company’s website.
You might also choose to distribute press releases, but keep in mind that established companies with marketing teams who’ve been engaging with the press on an ongoing basis will have a much easier time getting coverage than startups. To stand a chance of being written about, the product you’re releasing will need to be exceptionally interesting.
And remember: the evolution of your product messaging shouldn’t end with the launch of your product. If you don’t maintain it, your messaging can go stale very quickly.
We’ll do a deeper piece on these aspects of a launch in a future piece with Jason, coming later this year!
Jason has spent the last 2 decades in Product, Marketing and Business development roles in software organizations of all sizes – Microsoft, Apptio, Qualtrics and Patch. A husband, dad and outdoor enthusiast - Jason is dedicated to leaving a planet for future generations so they can do the same.