Deep Fried Turkey Edition: Breathe life into product launch content with storytelling

 Credit Mikkel Bergmann

Credit Mikkel Bergmann

When launching a product, it’s easy to fall into the patterns of the past.

Like many product marketers, you’ve spent your career launching products, dominated with a blend of data sheets, whitepapers, and product guides. These are essential elements, but they are not enough.

If you create landing pages, event content, ad campaigns on a foundation of “speeds and feeds” you won’t stand out from the competition.

Storytelling can help. Let’s take a look.

Time to go on a journey

“No Turkey yet?” We’ll get there…

You are living your story.

Your customers are living theirs.

All are on a journey through life.

Your job is to bring these journey’s together. To find a way to have your customer’s journey include you. It may sound simple, the hard part is planning and executing effectively.

A strong foundation helps.

Getting prospective customers to care about your product is the name of the game.

You approach this by working to understand their context, their challenges, their needs.

You consider who your customers are, why they should care about your product more than the competition, than cheaper alternatives, than not doing anything (AKA apathy).

Start by understanding their story. Don’t leave anything on the table. Grab that value proposition you worked so hard to build. How can you help people? Beyond your product. How can you make their lives easier? What content can you create that supports them, that adds value – regardless of if they buy your product or not?

Content Marketing Strategy

“Where’s the turkey?” Patience! It’ll be worth it, I promise…

Helpful content leads a prospect to realize unmet needs. It also means they can influence their stakeholders and other decision-makers with the content you provide.

You position yourself as a part of the solution.

You help them see it in their lives.

When people can see something in their life, they are one step closer to buying it.

When they buy your product, it changes their life, and they happily go forward into a world shaped by the story you told, the content, the product you created.

They may even become an evangelist.

Take your passion for solving customer pains and apply it to the content you will share.

The right content. The right step of the journey. The right way to get them to care and buy.

Deep Fried Turkey

Aka Six Stages of Human Decision Making

I told you turkey was coming!

When we go from ‘unaware’ to ‘raving fan’ we go through these six stages:

  1. Realize – we become aware of the problem
  2. Internalize – we understand how the issue affects our life
  3. Visualize – a vision of a new future with the problem solved
  4. Decide – we decide on a solution (product/service) to the problem
  5. Justify – we sell the idea to our stakeholders and any other decision makers involved
  6. Evangelize – we become a raving fan

What about the turkey? We like opposites to prove a point.

Therefore, an example of when the content doesn’t take you on the journey…

…is turkey time!

  1. Realize – A friend tells us that fried turkey is amazingly delicious. Crispy yet moist.
  2. Internalize – we can make a fried turkey ourselves, this Thanksgiving!
  3. Visualize – we watch ‘how to’ YouTube videos – and the ‘how not to’ videos (hint BOOM!)
  4. Decide – maybe I’ll just do it the classic way. The hospital doesn’t sound too appealing.
  5. Justify – “Honey; it seems too risky to deep fry. YouTube scared me. Let’s go classic.”
  6. Evangelize – One less person out there promoting deep fried turkey.

The point here is the importance of content influencing a decision-making journey. In this case, a few YouTube videos can put you off of the deep fried turkey path.

Consider these stages for your product launch bill of materials, and you will always be moving prospective customers forward.

Right content. Right amount. Right time.

When you are intentional, you will create the right content and right amount of it for each step.

You will avoid putting too much weight of material at the beginning of the journey “promotional” or ”advertising.”

Likewise, you will avoid weighting too much at the end such as “datasheets” and “white papers.”

You will go beyond speeds and feeds and create a shared story that resonates.

In this blog, we talk more about the structure and approach to put this into practice.

The following questions can help focus your mind when starting to tackle this problem:

  • Which narrative(s) are your customer apart? Big and small.
  • Do you have the content at each stage to bring the journey to life?
  • What stories can you tell through your content to lead customers forward, at every stage?

If you do not intentionally own the creation of a master narrative for your product launch you are leaving it up to your customers to connect the dots. This may, or may not, work out in your favor.

Do you feel good about gambling with your limited budgets?

Thought not.

Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your Turkey (if you eat it). Be careful, if you deep fry it. And good luck planning your next product launch. We’d love to hear what you are planning and what challenges you are running in to.

Here’s an Example: We were helping a large corporation launch a product. For previous launches, the team had struggled to get all the content created, reviewed and published in time. Things didn’t get much better after launch. The competition was still eating their lunch. Growth wasn’t where the leadership team wanted it to be. The hypothesis was that prospects were not moving along the customer journey in the volume or at the rate that was needed. We approached solving this with three pivots. Firstly, we used personas and research to reveal the customer journey. This included the stages and “gates” customers went through when choosing to invest in this product. Secondly, we audited where the historic and currently planned content fit into this model. It revealed a heavy weighting toward the end of the customer journey. Decide and Justify, see above. There was little to no content planned to get prospective customers through the first part of the journey. Who wants to watch just the last 15 minutes of a movie? Exactly. The third step we led the team on was defining what content to create for each stage. Reallocating resources we created content that ushered prospects along. This wasn’t a painless process. There were many stakeholders focused on the old way. Change management is critical. Ignore at your peril. The outcome was very engaged customers (and partners), a successful launch and great market traction for the new, growth goals were attained.