This article analyses a recent launch event for Treeka giving insight into the complex challenges of putting your idea ‘out there’. There are two parts:
- What (not) to do when it comes to your launch event – and some of the lessons we’ve learnt about what to do instead
- Why a traditional approach to a launch may not work – and how to successfully bring your product to market based on what we’re currently learning
What are not seeing now that, after the event itself, we’re going to wish we had seen?Said the intelligent entrepreneur
We carefully asked ourselves this (million dollar) question in the weeks preceding our launch.
Impossible to answer, but really good to ask, this pre-mortem question helps you think through possible pit-falls for your project or strategy. As Tom Greenwood, one of our directors shared:
“A key piece of feedback we had afterwards was to start with the commercial benefits to capture interest, and only then talk about the ‘How’, and even then try not to get too theoretical. Keep it simple!”Tom
This was our central learning; that it’s the simple impacts and commercial benefits that people are interested in. People want to know how your product or service will change their world.
What (not) to do when it comes to your launch event
- expect that people (or ‘the market) are ready for you product or service
- expect people to buy on the basis of a snazzy launch event
- offer a solution and an opportunity for people to solve their problems
- create meaning, connection and possibility in the stories that you tell
- generously help others become ‘who they seek to become’
We had a lot of fun at our launch and yet we (or perhaps just I) definitely expected our services to be selling like hot-cakes once we had introduced ourselves officially to the market.
This didn’t happen. Instead we had a lot of encouraging interest and good conversations, but no sales.
What we are learning is that our services are something quite new and different – cultural architecture is an emergent field and so it takes some time for people to really understand the solutions we’re offering.
We’ve learnt that it’s a long game, that meaningful relationships are more essential than sales, and that the more generous we can be in inviting people on a journey they want go on the better off we’ll be in the long run.
Why a traditional approach to a launch may not work
- build your product or service in secret
- focus on yourselves or your flashy new business offering
- Ask ‘what are we not seeing – that after the launch we will wish we saw?’
- In what ways can we make our customers the heroes or heroines of our launch event?
- Share your Minimum Viable Product with your Minimum Viable Market as soon as possible
By a traditional approach to a launch I’m referring to the technique of polishing your service or offering, getting all the snazzy branding done, finishing things (or so you think) and then bringing this work to market.
Far better is to place your attention on your customers as early as possible and get into a co-creative conversation with them. Send out an ‘expression of interest’ or survey your mailing list to explore interest. Seek out collaborations with those further along than you.
This move requires courage and vulnerability. You need to be OK with sharing your progress and building things in the public / professional domain. Not only is this effective in building something that really works; it’s also great marketing as you’re automatically bringing people along on your journey with you.
We mostly operate within the B Corp community. This tribe is an epic place to hang out and is full of thoughtful, caring and supportive people who are ready to give advice, feedback and suggestions.
Where are your customers and how can you take your product to them at the earliest possible step?
What’s your Minimum Viable Product and where is the smallest group of people you could start helping?
It’s easy to be very harsh with yourself should a launch event not go to plan. As founders and directors we see our mistakes more clearly than anybody else so bring a fair degree of compassion and patience. You did your best with what you had available to you at that time.
Seth Godin suggests that:
“Marketing is the generous act of helping others become who they seek to become. It involves creating honest stories – stories that resonate and spread.”
My suggestion would be to approach your launch like an introduction to a great story, or an invitation to a journey. Be curious, gather interest and be as generous as possible.
We feel we actually did this quite well. It’s just that our journey was more mysterious and magical than people might have needed in order to take that leap of faith.
Lastly, ensure that you actually help people with something concrete during your launch while understanding that this is just the beginning of your relationship.