When Spectacles, Snap Inc.’s set of connected sunglasses, finally went on sale in November 2016, people went nuts. Teens and twenty-somethings braved long, cold lines to get their hands on the highly anticipated glasses. Selling out in every city in which they were sold, Spectacles became the unlikely must-have gadget of the holiday season.
What’s noticeable is how closely the go-to-market tactics remain true to Snapchat’s quirky-and-somewhat-exclusive brand and how the company made decisions with its Millennial and Gen Z audience in mind. Instead of selling Spectacles in mass retail stores, for instance, Snap sold them through eye-popping vending machines—creating a sense of serendipity and adventure. And to become owners of these glasses, everyone—including journalists, tech bloggers and influencers—had to line up. At $129 per pop, Spectacles were also priced strategically for its younger market.
The success of this launch demonstrates what happens when can tailor your go-to-market strategy to a deeply understood buyer.
In this blog post, we’ll explore how to follow Snap’s lead. In the same way that customer intelligence can help inform market planning, it can also strategically inform your GTM approach. As you launch your product to market, consider these three ways of tapping into engaged customers.
1. Refine your marketing messaging
Instinct, years of experience and creative genius used to be sufficient to come up with messaging that resonated with customers. But consumers today are constantly re-evaluating their needs, so it’s risky to simply assume that you understand their motivations and aspirations.
The key to creating a customer-centric message is to start with a deep understanding of your customers—by creating usable and actionable personas. As you develop these personas, you need to trust data over your gut. Insight that comes directly from customers can be particularly useful here.
Once the product is in the market, you need to constantly validate your positioning as the market evolves. You can’t do that with transactional data alone. The best people to ask are your current customers, who can tell you whether your message is consistent and how they perceive competitors.
2. Define your pricing strategy
“The root of all innovation evil is the failure to put the customer’s willingness to pay for a new product at the very core of product design,” said Madhavan Ramanujam, a board member and partner at consultancy Simon-Kucher & Partners, at the 2016 First Round CEO Summit. According to Ramanujan, postponing pricing decisions often leads to a long process where product marketers aren’t really sure whether the product will be profitable or not.
“You can ensure your product not only stays alive, but thrives,” offered Ramanujam, “by talking with customers early in the product development process.”
Or put another way: pricing should not be a last minute decision. Your product’s value to customers should be well understood and baked into every product decision on your way to launch. Value-based pricing can generate one to three percent revenue increase compared to a cost-plus pricing model. Only through regular communication with relevant customer groups can you understand the true value of the product.
Your product’s value to customers should be well understood and baked into every product decision on your way to launch.
3. Optimize your channel strategies
Maximizing sales and optimizing your budget allocation requires knowing the media consumption habits of your target personas. Afterall, 57 percent of consumers expect promotions to be consistent across online, offline and social touchpoints. Unfortunately, many marketers don’t have real-time insight into their customers’ media habits. Product marketers tend to allocate campaign and advertising budgets based on general market reports and past performance—an approach that often leads to mediocre results.
To optimize and refine channel strategies, you need data that’s specific to your product, your company and your industry. Tapping a customer intelligence platform where you can talk to customers helps ensure you have direct access to feedback as you optimize promotion spend across different channels.
Don’t launch to market without your customers
A successful go-to-market strategy—like what Snap was able to achieve with Spectacles—relies on developing accurate and usable personas. It requires having the right information to make the right decisions at the right time.
That said, many sources of customer insight don’t provide the contextual understanding of what the customer wants. They can be slow, not providing the agile information needed. Ad hoc surveys provide only a snapshot of your customers’ lives, and in-person focus groups are hard to scale and keep consistent.
Real customer engagement requires a two-way, ongoing conversation between you and your customers. Using customer engagement to define and validate GMT strategies is critical for successful messaging, pricing and channel strategies.