Candice Lewis-Steinman is an accomplished marketing executive and product marketing expert. She boasts a proven record of leading and executing successful go-to-market campaigns for brands such as Workrise and Expedia. Lewis-Steinman is currently serving as the Head of Marketing at Workrise, a supply chain management platform designed to support the advancement of the energy industry.
Given Lewis-Steinman’s strong background in product marketing for technology-oriented organizations, I knew she would have fantastic insights to share for our Marketing Insights from Executives series. During my interview with Lewis-Steinman, we covered what she loves, likes and would advise against when coordinating a product launch. Let’s dig into the valuable takeaways from our conversation.
Love It: Transition with Intention to Exceed Customer Expectations
When describing a product launch experience she loved, Lewis-Steinman recalled a launch where two separate platforms were merged in order to enhance the overall customer experience. The original platforms were playing a crucial role in daily business operations for customers and her team recognized the potentially disruptive nature of launching the new experience. To ensure a seamless transition, they meticulously planned a launch centered around customer needs.
This success hinged on the collaboration of multifunctional teams, including Sales, Customer Success, Marketing, Product, User Experience Design and Engineering. Their collective efforts were devoted to understanding customer needs, distinguishing non-negotiable elements and determining the messaging that would resonate most.
“A lot of teams came together to get a robust understanding of what our customers needed – what was not mutable, what couldn’t move, what could move, how we could move it and the best way of communicating the value of the transition. All teams were in alignment on the right way to approach each aspect of the launch to ensure that we were building a product that best addressed the customer’s needs without disruption and that we were talking about it in a way that would clearly communicate value,” said Lewis-Steinman.
Central to the success of the endeavor was the real-time monitoring of customer sentiment throughout the launch. By staying attuned to customer feedback, the team could quickly address any negative responses. All launch goals were met – 100% of customers were retained and the company saw rapid growth post-launch. Overall, the launch achieved highly successful commercial results and delivered a gratifying customer experience.
Like it: Build a Strong Foundation with Key Components for Product Launch Success
Lewis-Steinman explained the importance of building a strong foundation ahead of any product launch to set the stage for success. Let’s break down these essential components:
- Setting Clear Goals: Lewis-Steinman stresses the need to document commercial objectives and their precise measurement criteria as the starting point for all product launches. Complete alignment and understanding among stakeholders on how to achieve and measure these goals is vital. As she puts it, “This is a super important piece of the puzzle that sometimes gets skipped over. Folks think that they have a shared understanding when they don’t.” She recommends workshopping these objectives as a team to ensure everyone is on the same page, preventing issues down the road.
- Conducting Audience Research: She advises delving deep into understanding your customer base. It’s essential to know not just who your product is designed for, but also why they would choose your product over alternatives.
- Testing New Initiatives: Lewis-Steinman advocates for a cautious and iterative approach. She recommends testing your way into new initiatives rather than diving in headfirst. Alpha and beta testing are key stages in ensuring your messaging and product are refined before launching them to a wider audience.
- Collaborating Across Departments: Establishing a solid relationship between the go-to-market team and the technical team is crucial. Lewis-Steinman highlighted the importance of not assuming all team members share the same understanding of key elements. Reviewing the product scope in detail as a cross-functional team can lead to improved launch outcomes. Additionally, using a shared project management system like Jira is a practical way to centralize requirements for engineering, product, marketing, sales and customer success, ensuring all parties have easy access to essential information and fostering seamless collaboration.
With these foundational components in place, product launches gain the support they need to thrive.
Leave It: Prioritize Your Customer’s Needs Above Internal Goals When Developing New Features
When I asked Lewis-Steinman to share a launch practice she would avoid, she cautioned against launching a product or feature to serve internal goals versus prioritizing customer needs and requirements.
To drive home this point, she shared a real-life example. She described a scenario where an organization launched a product designed to capture critical data that could be restructured into insights. These insights would ultimately be provided back to customers to improve their operations. However, during the development process, they failed to fully research their customers’ pain points. This lack of understanding led to low adoption rates – meaning the company couldn’t capture the critical data required.
As a result of this approach, the company had to abandon the project because they attempted to build something and push it to market without adequately understanding the market’s needs and the operational dynamics of their customers.
This example shows that even with the best intentions, it’s easy to become entangled in creating features that enhance the company’s ability to provide a better customer experience and lose sight of addressing a customer’s actual pain point along the way. Nonetheless, Lewis-Steinman reinforces the best practice of allowing the customer’s needs to steer the course of product development.
Product Launch Lessons Learned: Insights to Takeaway
Lewis-Steinman imparts valuable insights for future product launches, emphasizing the need to exceed customer expectations during transitions, establish a robust foundation with core best practices and avoid losing sight of prioritizing customer needs in product development. As you embark on your own launch endeavors, we encourage you to embrace these key lessons to shape an impactful experience for your clients.
If you need a partner to streamline your launch planning and execution, look no further. With over two decades of experience and a track record of 60+ successful launches, Launch Marketing specializes in creating effective strategies that drive results. Contact us today for a marketing consultation and let us help you achieve your launch goals.