This article was orginally written for and published by MarTech Cube.
The road to product success is filled with twists and turns. In one lane, customers and market innovations demand faster product introductions. In the other, economic and labor uncertainty tighten resources and drag on launch timelines.
How can teams add speed and power, while simultaneously reducing resources? I propose we take a lesson from the world of cycling where tandem bikes do exactly that.
A Cycle Hypothetical
Imagine two cyclists—Penny the product manager and Mike the marketer—each on their separate bikes riding from their factory into town for lunch. At times, Penny and Mike ride side-by-side and shout over the wind about which way to go.
Sometimes, one rider makes a determination that the second implicitly knows to follow. Even when they both know the direction, it is ultimately the strength and stamina of each individual rider that determines how fast and how far the pair can go together.
Both Penny and Mike are pushing the full weight of their bikes, using energy to navigate the terrain, and fighting headwinds separately. Staying together can prove difficult, especially when the road gets tough.
One bright day, Penny and Mike try a tandem bike instead. While it requires more coordination to properly balance and pedal, they find that collaboration is far simpler than riding separately.
Sitting on one bike together, they can chat constantly throughout the ride and easily synchronize their efforts. Since the one tandem frame is lighter than two solo bikes, their combined power gives them a big speed advantage—20% faster according to the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Penny and Mike benefit from each other’s strength and streamlined approach to make it to lunch faster and less winded than ever before.
Winning the Race to Customer Adoption
Similarly, new product launches benefit from tandem teams that synchronize manufacturing and marketing within a single product platform to race together for success.
According to Inc’s proven techniques to accelerate product adoption, one of the biggest challenges is just informing customers about the new products. “Coupling a new product with a marketing and awareness campaign is critical. It's simple: if they don't know about it, they can't buy it.”
Although this seems intuitive, it begs the question—how does marketing know about the product? If they don’t know about it, they can’t sell it. Too often, though, teams are battling strong headwinds in finding the right information.
Traditional launch cycles give the appearance of coordination, but waste effort, just like two single riders. They wait until a product is complete, fully defined, and released for production to start building the marketing campaign. Then, the handoff of information from manufacturing to marketing is the equivalent of shouting into the wind.
Often, basic specifications are put in a spreadsheet and emailed or loaded in a shared drive. All context around the product is lost.
Marketers have little information about target customers, inspiration, intended use, or benefits, so they recreate the wheel. They enter a new customer-facing version of product content into a separate system with descriptive copy, selling attributes, and digital assets.
Although riding side by side, each team is still bearing the full weight of data management and separate workflows. When the inevitable twists and turns happen, product information from the disconnected teams is quickly lost.
Instead, consider the power that a single platform brings to the product journey:
- Go Faster: Combined with the time saved on skipping the hunt for product data, marketers also start to craft the customer experience earlier—in conjunction with product development, rather than as an afterthought.
- Go Further: Customer-facing content is not only developed faster, but the resulting deliverables are richer because they were derived from in-platform contextual collaboration with full visibility to accurate, updated information throughout the entire product lifecycle.
- Lap the competition: Working within the same platform allows product teams to access continuous customer feedback tracked by sales, marketing, and service teams. Development teams can therefore improve products and services based on direct customer needs, extending the product-customer relationship.
In a fast-paced, increasingly digital market, providing richer customer experiences sooner than competitors is paramount. With people and product data all connected, running launch processes in tandem is simple.
Learn more about what drives consumers to choose a brand (and remain loyal)—check out our article What Matters Most to Consumers.