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5 Tips for Launching New App Features

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5 Tips for Launching New App Features

Plan the release. 

While you’re still in the planning phase for a new feature, it’s a good idea to also think about how you will release it. This is something often done within the design process.

Things you should incorporate into this include: 

-Who will see this feature first? (Are there internal or external beta groups?)

-What is success for this feature?

-Who will see the feature once it’s in a steady state? (Is this for VIP customers or everyone?)

-Is there important timing tied to this release, such as an event or special time of the calendar year?

Tools that will help you with this include product delivery and tracking tools

Build awareness.

Awareness around a release is important for both internal and external groups. Within your organization, do teams have the support they need to be successful? Think about what your sales, marketing, customer success, or any other team will need in terms of understanding the feature being released, and how to answer any questions they might face. Externally, awareness should be tied back to how you will measure success. 

Tools that will help you accomplish this include go-to-market plans, centralized information repositories, and any other tools that will help your teams (and customers!) stay connected, informed, and collaborative. 

Measure your release.

After the release has happened, how will you know if it was successful? Because you already thought about success metrics in the planning stage, you should be ready to measure whether or not it was successful. 

Tools that will help with this include those that surface sales and ops metrics. Also, it’s important to consider these together—look at performance and monitoring metrics, support requests by volume, and qualitative feedback from customers and prospects.

Celebrate and recognize.

Take time to celebrate your wins. Shipping software is like a muscle, the more frequently you do it, the easier it is to execute. If you ship less frequently, the process begins to atrophy and the action becomes more difficult. Celebration (even for small wins) provides motivation to continue practicing the act of shipping, and results in more stable services and products.

Reflect and iterate. 

Software is never done, and neither is a process for software delivery. After the release has occurred and you’ve paused to enjoy the moment, now it’s time to reflect back on what went well and what didn’t. Reflect on both process and product.

Tie process back to culture—consider the tools that you use for process, what enabled you to do more and what was a hindrance? Use this feedback and apply what you learned from measuring success in the planning phase for the next release. Learn how you can adjust and improve upon what you shipped.

 

Adam Zimman, VP of Product and Platform, LaunchDarkly

Adam has over 20 years of experience working in a variety of roles from software engineering through to technical sales. He has worked in both enterprise and consumer companies such as VMware, EMC and GitHub. Adam is driven by a passion for inclusive leadership and solving problems with technology. One additional objective is to be a part of a diverse and equitable company. Not simply an organization that accepts diversity, but one that actively pursues a more diverse and inclusive team as an imperative for building better products and services. Adam is also an Advisor for a number of startups and nonprofits. His perspective on life has been shaped by a background in physics and visual art, an ongoing adventure as a husband and father and a childhood career as a fire juggler.

What Is Your Definition Of Success? 5 Tips To Find It.

While building and maintaining a thriving business may not be easy, experts in entrepreneurial endeavors say that building a personal brand first is key. In fact, some studies show that today’s consumers trust big brands less and prefer buying from a person they view as authentic and relatable. But before building a personal brand, it’s important for an entrepreneur to define what constitutes their own brand of success, says Ngan Nguyen (www.nganhnguyen.com), an intuitive strategist and author of Self-Defined Success: You Have Everything It Takes.

“Fulfillment and extraordinary results only come when you strive to achieve your authentic success,” Nguyen says. “The key is figuring out what that is and navigating that path. The good news is that we each already have everything it takes to navigate that path. It is essential, because we each have unique gifts, passions, and talents that can create amazing impact in the world and differentiate ourselves and our businesses.”

Nguyen offers five ways to define your own brand of success that can lead to running a successful business:

Get unstuck by unleashing your inner self. “We feel stuck when there is a lack of clarity and the path in front of us is not aligned with our authenticity,” Nguyen says. “Stagnancy and negative happenings force us to look inside ourselves at who we really are and what we really want. Detail those things, and now you’ll have the blueprint to create change and growth. Getting clear on this enables us to lead ourselves and our business to forge ahead on a new path.”

Act on your new authenticity. “Our full potential comes out when we are fully committed to creating a result that fully expresses who we are and what we love,” Nguyen says. “Without that clarity and without acting upon our newly discovered authentic selves, there will always be a bit of reservation. And with that reservation comes lackluster results that are not a reflection of our true potential.”

Keep the vision in mind. Nguyen says much of our untapped potential lies in unused intelligence. “Leaders who leverage their vision can effectively navigate a path to success in a competitive marketplace,” Nguyen says. “Any vision that we can imagine, this infinite intelligence knows how to bring about. The question is how we go about influencing our subconscious in the right way so that it serves us. We do this by holding and keeping an image of a life we desire, and feeding it through repetition long enough that our mind goes to work to aid us in creating it.”

Make your passion your fuel. “The power to create extraordinary results requires this critical ingredient,” Nguyen says. “Passion is contagious, ignites the heart, and motivates the team. It energizes and sparks the pull forward through all barriers, uncertainty, and challenges.”

Have the will to make decisions that move toward your dream. Nguyen says the difference between those who make their dreams happen and those who don’t isn’t always a matter of intelligence but often is a matter of consistent will in decision-making.

“You must have the intention to keep moving forward,” Nguyen says. “There is an energy shift that is experienced in the decision-making process, where a desire goes from wanting to being because you’ve concluded that the dream must come true no matter what.”

Ngan Nguyen (www.nganhnguyen.com) is the author of Self-Defined Success: You Have Everything It Takes, and the founder/CEO of Cintamani Group, an executive coaching and consulting firm. Nguyen coaches on leadership and empowers entrepreneurs as an intuitive strategist. With over a decade of business strategy experience as an advisor to Fortune 100 companies, Nguyen is also a certified master-level intelligent leadership executive coach with John Mattone and was an analyst for McKinsey & Company. Nguyen graduated with a double honors degree in biochemistry-biophysics and bioengineering from Oregon State University and completed a research fellowship at MIT in nanotechnology.

5 Reasons Businesses Should Bare Their Souls To Customers

We live in the information age — aptly named because we have unprecedented access to information through many platforms. Researchers estimate that between television, radio, the internet, email and social media, the average person receives the equivalent of 174 newspapers worth of data every day. That means consumers have a lot to sort through and choose from when shopping for virtually any type of product. And studies show they demand more transparency from companies to help them make an informed decision. 

“This is especially critical in digital marketing,” says Jonathan Musgrave, owner and chief digital marketer for Steep Digital Marketing (www.steepdigital.com). “With information so abundant and readily available, companies are becoming increasingly transparent in an effort to engage the potential customer. They’re inviting potential customers into their world rather than talking at them.” Musgrave offers five ways that being transparent in digital marketing can win over customers:

Builds trust. “You deserve more than someone playing games with you and withholding information,” Musgrave says, whose digital marketing agency specializes in seminar advertising, lead generation and marketing automation for financial advisors. “The consumer expects and is entitled to know exactly what they’re signing up for. The financial advisors my firm works with, for example, tell us that they build such good rapport with their seminar attendees before the event occurs because of the way they’re featured on the event landing page. There’s a lot of ‘gotcha marketing’ going on in the world today, and no one likes to feel like they got fooled.”

Develops loyalty. Surveys show that the vast majority of consumers will be loyal to a brand that practices transparency. “Brands now have the enhanced opportunity to show their personalities and values due to the internet and social media,” Musgrave says. “So consumers expect to know more about companies than ever before. And if you give them transparency, they’re willing to pay extra for it.”

Shows authenticity. “To do digital marketing right,” Musgrave says, “companies need to take a deep dive into who they are, where they’ve been — warts and all — and show a vulnerability that potential customers can relate to. People can see themselves in what you truthfully present. The whole objective is to create a human interaction, and being authentic in this way is one of the most powerful things you can do.”

Pairs a great offer with great value. “Regardless of what you’re selling, there is some ulterior factor we’re using as an advertising carrot,” Musgrave says. “An example would be a time-share presentation; get a free cruise if you sit down and listen to them talk about some product they’re trying to sell you. But the carrot blinds you from the actual intent of the event. In order to be transparent and build good trust, the offer has to be paired with value.”

Increases efficiency. “Becoming more transparent through digital marketing can greatly improve a business’ efficiency by spending less time talking around product limitations and sidestepping customers’ concerns,” Musgrave says. “By not embellishing your results, you save time for more productive work.”

“Giving consumers access to all the information they need to know without masking your intentions is a proven way to build better relationships through digital marketing,” Musgrave says. 

Jonathan Musgrave is the owner and chief digital marketer for Steep Digital Marketing (www.steepdigital.com), which he founded in 2017. Musgrave got his start in the direct mail business, using his communication skills to craft powerful marketing messages that reached more than 1,000,000 households each month. He’s started his own wholesaling company that brought digital marketing tools to the financial advisor space for the first time in 2013 that were responsible for doubling sales for three consecutive years.

How Traditional Marketing Can Benefit From A Digital Twist

At one time, marketing meant using such tactics as buying commercial time on TV or radio stations, advertising in a newspaper or magazine, or sending your message through direct mail.

All of those remain options today, but they are joined by a plethora of digital alternatives for reaching potential customers or clients, who spend a lot of time hanging out in the digital world.

“Websites are optimized for sharing content with others, and people are getting on social media to be educated or entertained, so delivering on those ‘needs’ is super important for any business or professional who wants to remain relevant,” says Jonathan Musgrave, owner and chief digital marketer for Steep Digital Marketing (www.steepdigital.com).

Yet, Musgrave says many businesses and professionals don’t always take advantage of what digital marketing offers, instead falling back on what worked in the past, either out of habit or due to a lack of understanding of the power of digital.

And that’s no way to move forward, he says. But choosing between digital or traditional approaches to marketing isn’t an either/or proposition. Musgrave offers a few examples of how the two can be married to produce great results:

-A text instead of a call. Musgrave says one of his clients, a financial professional, would buy TV time each month for a show in which he would talk about money issues. At the end of each segment, in an effort to generate leads, his firm’s telephone number would be displayed so viewers could call if they wanted more information. “I suggested that instead of a number to call, they should show a number that people could text,” Musgrave says. That change might appear insignificant on its face, but it proved to be extraordinarily consequential. The financial professional went from receiving about three responses per show to about 300.

Billboards and digital calls to action. A message on a billboard provides the same opportunity to elicit a digital response from anyone who sees it. Once again, instead of urging people to call, urge them to text. You can also include your website address in your billboard ad so those intrigued by what you have to offer can learn more there, Musgrave says.

-Work digital connections into all marketing materials. Likely, you have business cards, brochures or any number of other marketing materials that people can hold in their hands. All of those should let people know how they can find you online, whether it’s on your website or on social media channels, Musgrave says. By the same token, if you have speaking engagements, you can put that information on a display poster or include it in a PowerPoint slide. “Since people always carry their phones, if they see how to find you on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or wherever, they may follow you right then and there,” he says. 

“The most dangerous thing I hear people say is that digital marketing is the future,” Musgrave says. “That’s not quite accurate because the future is already here. Advertisers globally spent more on digital advertising than any other medium in 2017, displacing TV at the top of the chart for the first time. If you keep kicking the digital can down the road, by the time you catch up to it again, your competitors will have already passed you.”  

About Jonathan Musgrave

Jonathan Musgrave is the owner and chief digital marketer for Steep Digital Marketing (www.steepdigital.com), which he founded in 2017. Musgrave got his start in the direct mail business, using his communication skills to craft powerful marketing messages that reached more than 1,000,000 households each month. He’s started his own wholesaling company that brought digital marketing tools to the financial advisor space for the first time in 2013 that were responsible for doubling sales for three consecutive years.