Are you ghosting your products?
Updated: May 16, 2022
Many of us have experienced ghosting at some point.
That person we dated a couple of times then poof! No more calls or texts. The promising interview for a perfect-fit job, then no response from the hiring manager after several follow up emails. Maybe even a friend who one day just stopped communicating.
There’s another type of ghosting: Ghosting products after they launch. I call it Launch and Leave.
It’s when, over time, you begin to ignore the performance of existing products in favor of launching new products. It seems to go like this:
We find a new product opportunity, build the product (maybe an MVP), plot out a feature roadmap, then launch. You get some interest. Maybe a few sales. But it’s not the blockbuster you thought it would be.
Another idea, customer demand, or competitive threat leads to another new product or major feature, which eats up your time, attention, and resources. In the meantime, existing – now languishing - products are waiting around for some attention.
We often ghost products when customer adoption and sales don’t meet our expectations. But expectations need to be grounded in market research, competitive analysis, reasonable revenue assumptions and some patience if new products are to succeed.
How to avoid ghosting products or services
Before you build anything, ask: Why are we building this? What problem are we solving and for whom? And is solving that problem important enough to our target prospects?
Did you launch with the right set of features (features that support the value we promise to deliver)? Or did we launch only with the features we had time to build because we lacked sufficient resources or had to meet a launch deadline?
Is your product well positioned for the market you are targeting? Or do you come across like every other competitor in your category?
Is your product messaging on target? Is it focused on your customers and the benefits your product delivers? Or is it focused on your product and all of its features?
Are you devoting enough marketing resources to this product? Today, with so many options in just about every B2B category, products don’t sell themselves.
When you consider the time and resources that go into product planning, development, and marketing, launching and leaving is rarely a good course of action.
So before you continue ghosting, consider these options:
Keep at it but improve. Based on the questions above, perhaps you can improve your product’s feature set to better deliver value. Evaluate your product positioning and sharpen the messaging. Invest in more - or perhaps better - marketing. Establish product goals and KPIs and measure progress on an ongoing basis.
Pivot: You may have invested a lot in developing the product, but perhaps you're focused on the wrong market, or your pricing strategy needs an overhaul, or maybe you'd be more successful selling through a different channel. If you choose any of these routes, can you leverage existing product capabilities? And will your pivot lead to higher revenue and a path to profitability?
Sunset. Don’t waste precious time and resources on a product that you’ve objectively determined won’t make it in the market. Instead, implement a sunsetting plan and process. If you have paying customers using the product, carefully plan a communication strategy. This includes how and when you’ll eliminate or stop supporting the product, alternatives they can consider, refunds (if applicable) and any other elements to keep customers happy and open to other solutions you may offer in the future.
If you have a product marketing initiative or challenge that you'd like to discuss, book a 30 minute complementary meeting here to see if we can help.