This week I find myself preparing for a new consulting offering launch. Over the next couple months, we will be launching into an innovative space. I have significant product launch experiences, going back to my first launch at J&J in 1997 (Nicotrol Inhaler®).
A key learning over the years is that while many things are critical in a launch, one challenge that continues to surface is the messaging.
Your go-to-market messaging is critical because it will be the first thing your customers hear about your product. Like personal introductions, your first :30 seconds will determine how your product is remembered. Of course, your messaging should always be based on your positioning.
So, having said that, I find solution launches an even greater challenge than a product launch. Unlike a product launch, there are no detailed package inserts or mechanical specifications. A solution, by nature, is custom. Another challenge is that there is no other solution in the market today that fits into the competitive framework. These challenges are both threats and opportunities for our messaging.
So I created a messaging ladder specifically for solutions to capitalize on this opportunity. This is a worthwhile tool in crafting a message for any product, but has a greater application in the services/consulting industry.
5-step Messaging Ladder
[in chronological order]
- Client Need – the apex of all marketing, what is the true (stated or unstated) need?
- Utilize a reference point – if you’re first to market, use well known products/solutions in related categories as references… but quickly focus on your outcomes
- Differentiate (unique) – easier said than done, but why will you deliver on the outcomes you’re promising while no one else can
- Substantiate your claims – move beyond theory, difficult in a launch, but use pilot, projections, or past experience (team, solution set, tools, etc…)
- Why is this urgent now? – The number one barrier in solutions is NO DECISION… your marketing needs to overcome this barrier at launch
I’m finding this a very useful and practical model. And while I’m sure it’s not perfect, it will get you 80% to success…. The rest is up to you… thoughts? Challenges??