Icebergs & Solution Launches

By Steve Robins

It’s what lurks below that drives solution launch success

Icebergs:  pretty, grand, glistening in the afternoon sun.  The stuff of movies.  And even disasters like the sinking of the Titanic.

And yes, these icy wonders share more than a few traits with solution launches.

The process of launching a new solution is much like an iceberg.  The most important trait?  Just like an iceberg, you see only 10% of the effort above water.  Up top and above the water, everything looks shiny and crisp.  Pretty even.  But just like an iceberg, a launch’s success is based on the 90% of effort, the foundation below the surface — the planning and preparation that sit well below the surface, invisible to the public and to many of your colleagues.  Oh, and yes, just like an iceberg, a bad launch can, well, sink a ship.  Yikes.

Let me explain.   

When you do a launch, “above the water” sit your press release, press and analyst coverage, website, social media activities, your ads, events, datasheets, public presentations, etc.  These are the flashy, shiny things that get all the attention and glisten in the sunlight, much like the tip of an iceberg.  And the most important piece is results, the gold that shines for you, your executive team, and shareholders alike.  Results like awareness metrics, the count and quality of new leads, and deals influenced by the launch and associated marketing efforts.

Most folks outside marketing think that marketing is all about what they see “above the water.”  But that is, after all, just the tip of the iceberg.  After all, in marketing – and especially in solution marketing – what lies beneath is actually more important because it determines the success of what lies above.

In fact , that shiny stuff above the water should be an end-result of a much longer process.  Sure, you’ll probably spend more than 10% of your effort, budget or time on the final assets, tools and campaigns.  But certainly, you also need to make a significant investment in the invisible foundation that lurks below the surface.

So what lurks below?

Below the surface sits solution marketing strategy; the full development of a solution encompassing corporate and partner products, information, business processes, and services; organizational alignment and commitment; an understanding of business problems;  development of compelling messaging and value propositions; sales enablement; selection of relevant communication channels; budgeting and more.  Much more.

Over the years I’ve seen many a launch that lacked a solid foundation beneath the surface.  The results were usually the same:

  • Muddled messages
  • Inability of sales to effectively sell the solution
  • Dissatisfied customers, the result of sales people who overpromised and under-delivered solutions that didn’t meet their needs or expectations
  • Internal confusion, infighting and finger-pointing
  • And as a result, poor marketing and sales results

So, the next time you go to launch a solution, start by building a solid foundation of strategy, planning, messaging, sales enablement and alignment, and you’ll be on the way to great results.

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Filed under SEVA - Elements of Solution Marketing, SIVA - Elements of Solution Marketing, Software marketing, Solution, The Solution Marketing Blog

4 responses to “Icebergs & Solution Launches

  1. Pingback: Follow These Product Marketing Professionals | Smart Software Marketing

  2. Love the analogy!

    I’d be curious to hear how the analogy might apply to startups with a low budget (read: can’t pay for anything lol)

    any ideas on how to set up a solid foundation on the cheap? Other than having a problem-free product, I suppose.

  3. The best product launches look natural and effortless. Marketing is often considered to be just the announcement and pizzazz. But most product marketing work is “below the waterline”.

  4. Pingback: Software Marketing Tweetables - 7 November 2011 | Smart Software Marketing

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