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How does mindset figure into the launch of new products?
In this blog, I’m assuming we know go to market (GTM) strategies that align sales, ops, and development; that create value propositions focused on the customer. That we know about value chains, supply lines, frequent release strategies, and the use of digital platforms and influencers to create momentum for a product.
All of those things matter when we bring a product to market. I’m not focusing on them because lots of people already have. In this blog, I’d like to explore what I consider an overlooked element of a GTM strategy: the mindset of the people developing that strategy – specifically, the value proposition and the roll-out.
We all know when we focus on the value of a product – its value proposition – we need to see that value from the perspective of the customer. Not, why do we think this product is valuable? but would our customer feel it helps them?
Simple right? But though we intellectually know that, what people tend to do is make a case for the product from their own point of view.
That makes sense. We believe in the product. We see clearly its need in the market. We understand how much better off people will be when they adopt it. So we develop our GTM strategy based on what the customer should feel about the product. But anything that begins with “should” is almost guaranteed to fail. Why? Because how we think people should feel, and what they should do, is very rarely how those people act and feel.
The best way I know to take a product and bury its uniqueness is to roll it out the way our industry usually rolls-out a product.
Your product is unique. If is isn’t, why are you launching it in the first place? Because it’s unique, how you roll it out says a lot about what you think about it. And that sets the frame for how your customers think about it. If you doubt that, take a look at Steve Jobs’ roll-out of the iphone back in 2007. Pay attention to how he sets up the “three products” and blends them into one (around 2:00 to 3:30). That’s a master of the roll-out walking his market through a cognitive leap and creating buzz at the same time.
The New Product Mindset Rub
And here’s where we get to a new product mindset. Because what makes a value GTM strategy work is our ability to move out of our own way and see the world from someone else’s perspective. What makes a roll-out GTM strategy work is our willingness to acknowledge how we always do things, and stretch ourselves to see further. To think differently.
Those are easy things to say and much harder to do. My suggestion is the thing that makes it hard is the mindset we hold.
GTM Strategies and Worldview
Our mindset is made up of our experiences, beliefs, and values – our worldview. What I’m advocating is an ability to step out of that worldview to see the worldview of our customers. I’m asking the same when it comes to roll-out, but here I’m asking us to step out of the worldview of our business and industry so that we avoid doing what we’ve always done.
To do that takes genuine curiosity and flexibility of mind – two attributes of a leadership mindset.
A Real World Example
Enrique Dans’ insightful article in Forbes give us the best example I know of a GTM strategy that embraces genuine curiosity and flexibility of mind. Elon Musk has never really been in the car business. As Dans tell us, his product is the potential of Tesla’s batteries to power the future.
The strategy of Tesla is to prove the technology by using it to power cars. And with each car it sells, it proves that technology a little more. First to a small (rich) audience with its roadster and Model S. and then to a wider audience with its financially accessible Model 3.
The most revolutionary part of Tesla’s GTM strategy is that it isn’t a strategy for selling cars at all. It’s a strategy for selling a clean energy future.
We can’t all be Elon Musk, be we can all think differently. It doesn’t take a skill or a technique. It takes a willingness go through a sometimes uncomfortable stretch, and to land at a new product strategy that scares us and excites us in equal parts.
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What to dive deeper?
Check out The Six Attributes of a Leadership Mindset by Joe Britto
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