It’s as old as the chicken-and-egg conundrum – in order to sell a new product or enter a new market, you need relevant references, but you can’t get these references until you’ve been accepted into the new market, or until the new product is established with your customers. Sound familiar? Most marketers face this paradox at some point and must tackle it with creative thinking.
As they plan to launch a new product or enter a new market, marketers must assess the various assets on hand. Often, one of the most daunting challenges involves sourcing advocates to support the launch. Obviously, in the case of a new product, a stable of satisfied customers does not yet exist. And in a new market, reference assets derived from other markets may be viewed as not entirely relevant due to regional or cultural differences.
Here are some ways to address this issue:
- Look for logical product extension possibilities. Tell a credible story about how a similar existing product has helped customers with comparable challenges. Ask the sales or services team for insights into how customers are using your current products, and look for ways to transfer credibility from the existing product to the new product.
- Search your advocacy asset library (and the supporting notes from customer interviews) for clues that might allow you to expand existing assets to support the new product. This is often overlooked, since the focus at the time of asset creation was on a different product or customer issue.
- Ask customers to outline the anticipated value of the new product. Although not as valuable as a realized-value case study, an anticipated-value case study can paint a vision of how other customers are expecting to leverage your solution. Follow up on the story once the customer achieves real value.
- Look for advocates in unexpected places. Existing advocacy assets might not have the credibility in a new market that they do in existing markets. However, by scrutinizing the customer base, marketers may be able find existing customers that are based in traditional markets but have operations in the new geography. If these customers use your product in the new market, they may prove to be valuable in-market advocacy contacts and a productive source of assets.
- Don’t ignore the possible advocacy contributions of beta customers. These are often one of the most fruitful sources of new product/new market advocacy and can provide compelling early-stage customer use stories. Product management can help advocacy teams identify likely candidates for early-success stories.
Finding advocacy assets to support a new product or new market launch can be daunting for marketing teams, but these assets are critical to the success of a new product or entry into a new market. Marketers need to use their imaginations to uncover these critical advocacy assets, leaving no stone unturned.