"We told our client that announcing a product at the World Congress wasn't a great idea. It's too hard to get above the noise. So they're announcing three instead of one new product. The media won't even take my calls so I'm pitching something different to get their attention."

I overheard this conversation last week. I had to laugh. Some things never change, which is why we still have such a problem with product press releases - the noise that clutters our customer value.

For decades we all announced products to strut our stuff and prove our advanced capabilities. Especially in technology or more complex product fields. The idea was (and still is) that if you build it and flaunt it they will come. Uh huh...

Even though many claim the shift to customer-focused messaging, the above conversation surely isn't a shift. We seem to be stuck in the age old chest thumping practice of press releases for ego. So what if our buyers (and our media) just don't care. We do!

The Noise is Deafening

Take the big trade event referenced in the above comment. Over 1,500 vendors will display their wares and promote their products at this event. Talk about noise! Do we really believe that any of the attendees will make their buying decisions based on product press announcements? Seriously? They won't even read them. How can they? It's too much noise for any mind to handle! 

Beyond the noise factor is the caring factor. As in who cares about your new whizbang product press? Probably no one. Your prospects care about themselves and the problems they need to solve. So does the media that serves them. Pitching a product press release these days is like trying to get someone to buy an abacus. Nobody cares. Yet how many of those releases are shoved onto the wire every single day? 

So here we are, still throwing out product press releases for every event, tradeshow or just to make us feel productive. It makes me crazy, and sad at the same time. How far we've come with technology, how far we can fall behind with old school marketing think. 

Shift to Your Audience

Product press releases are yesterday's news.  Please read that again. 

If you want to get media and audience attention for your new solution, try focusing on the following:

1. Work with early buyers to gather hard evidence of your new product value.

The idea that we announce a product and then start selling is not the path to success. As I share in my Rolling Thunder launch ebooks, we all need to flip the process and our thinking.

Sell and install your products in key target buyers before you ever launch them. Gather evidence of the impact on their business (specifically lots of hard quantitative evidence) then use that evidence as the platform for your product announcement. Focus your media outreach and initial marketing on results and impacts as they relate to important buyer issues  - not on your cool whizbangcoolfactor. 

2. Focus on sharing problem/solution stories featuring those early buyers and their results.

By focusing on what's important to your buyers, you gain credibility as an expert with both your audience and the media. The more you can educate everyone, the more they view you as an expert. Especially when you can shed light on new approaches and thinking that have led to powerful positive results in real world customers. 

These stories are not about you and your great solution. They are focused on the problem buyers faced (or the opportunity they wanted to capture), how they viewed their situation, lessons learned and new approached leveraged, quantitative results and any other educational information you can share. Above all, mention your product  one time and then - let it go. Focus on the results for your customer and how others can gain those same benefits.   

3. Create simple ways for your potential buyers to see how they can benefit from your solution. 

Too often product press releases guide vendors to focus on long lists of features, expecting their audience to apply those features to their own situation. That's probably not going to work, for a number of reasons. 

It's our job to apply our features and value to our audience's problems. Not the other way around. Just as your segment your audience - segment your problems and solutions. Using the Rule of Threes, identify and focus on the top 3-5 problems (or opportunities) that will compel your audience to pay attention to your value. Then apply your features/benefits to those problems  - focusing on the benefits and evidence, not that cool feature.  Do the work for your audiences so they can quickly and easily see themselves in your stories. Do not make them work to find the "So What?" for them within your product stories.  

The Bottom Line 

Product press releases are more for our own egos than they are for our buyers or the media, who could care less about our chest thumping product features. 

If you want to get attention with your new product - focus on solving buyers' problems, opening the doors for them to leverage new opportunities or both. Instead of flaunting your cool features, share quantitative evidence of your products' value in real world customer sites. Share new ideas and approaches to solving the problem that will help your buyer's (and the media) make better decisions. Apply your value to your buyers' worlds so its easy for them to see what they get by trusting you.

This simple shift will compel your buyers and the media to engage and come to you.

Just think how much money and time you'll save when you stop forcing those product press releases onto deaf ears.