I get the opportunity to talk to a number of fintech leaders every week in my role at Intention.ly, which means I’m in a unique position to catch on to interesting, exciting, and—sometimes—puzzling trends.
Recently, I’ve noticed a new-to-me phenomenon, which is the reluctance of technology firms to market product enhancements and new features externally. Firms are hiding upcoming developments from the broader market, which means that prospects have no idea they’re happening at all.
Since it’s my job to guide market strategy, I’m working on: a) understanding their go-to-market mindset, and b) trying to help these companies see that treating product enhancements as client-only news is a well-intentioned but serious mistake.
I hear the same three most common objections to marketing product enhancements, and I wanted to address them here to help any tech teams struggling with go-to-market think differently about their approach.
Objection One: Our competitors will steal our ideas.
No, they won’t.
I’ll elaborate. Think about everything that goes into bringing a product enhancement or a new feature to market—the hours of development work and the overlying UI/UX design elements. Beta testing, or maybe even a sandbox model and validation testing. The small but critical details of the product or feature. The way it fits into the existing solution.
In my entire career, I haven’t come across a single company nimble enough to pivot from the work they’re already doing and put all of those pieces together with the speed and accuracy necessary to get a solution to market faster than a firm that already has the product roadmap, the data, the infrastructure and the resources dedicated to that very solution.
In short, your competitors won’t steal your idea because, even if they wanted to, they literally can’t.
Finally, if you’re doing something so easily replicable that none of the above applies, that’s a sign there’s a bigger problem to tackle.
Objection Two: It won’t make sense out of context.
As a marketer who has been charged with communicating the benefits of new solutions, I can say this with certainty: It’s your marketing team’s job to make it make sense.
This isn’t always easy. It’s true and logical that to a client familiar with your solution, the benefits of enhancing something they already use are going to resonate more profoundly, more quickly.
But that’s why great product marketing is so important. Your marketing teams need to first deeply understand the nuanced challenges your audience is facing, and collaborate with the product team to articulate how each facet of your solution addresses those needs.
Objection Three: It’s not ready for prime time.
Of these three common objections, this one leaves the most room for interpretation.
Going to market too early with a new feature can put you in the dreaded overpromise and under deliver position. I’ve seen this happen with overeager sales teams, who are (rightfully) excited about the potential of a new feature to sway prospects’ decisions, only to have developers push the release back by months or even years.
Being gun shy about going public too soon makes sense. But waiting until an enhancement is fully baked, integrated and live means you might miss out on opportunities to:
- Gather feedback from the broader market and make adjustments
- Create buzz and excitement around the launch from media outlets
- Prepare your clients for any big changes to their day-to-day operations
Getting the timing right requires putting in place a Goldilocks style go-to-market middle ground —a feat that can only be accomplished via ego-free and buyer-focused collaboration between sales, marketing and product. (If you’ve caught on to a recurring collaboration theme as you’re reading, it’s because I believe alignment between sales, marketing and product is one of the biggest keys to growth. Check this article out for more)
Hiding Product Enhancements from Prospects Does Your Firm a Disservice
One of the most impactful things about continuing to enhance your solution and develop new features is that it shows the broader market that you’re constantly looking for ways to improve. No one wants to work with a technology vendor that’s stayed exactly the same for years. But when you only showcase enhancements to people that are already working with you, your prospects don’t have the opportunity to see you as cutting edge or innovative.
There’s also a strong chance that your up-and-coming features could be exactly the reason a prospect decides to work with you instead of a competitor. If you don’t get the message about your enhancements to the market, you could be too late to sway their decision in your favor.
Like with any core strategic transformation, talking about changing the way you go to market is certainly easier than actually overhauling your current processes—but I believe re-evaluating an approach that doesn’t include prospect marketing can truly help drive better business outcomes. If you have questions, feel free to book some time with me to discuss what you’re seeing at your firm!