Nearly a month since the release of her album "25," Adele continues to mesmerize the world with her heart-wrenching, soulful voice, and more importantly—her business strategy.
It isn’t solely the fact that she can make you wonder “could they have been the one” about someone you accidentally bumped into in the Christmas decoration aisle of a Menard’s last Saturday (if you’re reading this, please call me); it’s the refined and meticulous planning that Adele and her team put in to ensure an epic release to this year’s biggest hit.
This formula can transcend your small- or medium-sized business into an industry giant.
Lay the Foundation
"25" is not Adele’s first rodeo. Before she was breaking necks and cashing checks on the Billboard, she released her debut "19" and then "21." She learned from these albums and her style built the powerhouse "25."
Your business needs to thrive off what was done in the past to shape the future.
Look at what has worked well and what hasn’t worked well and use them to provide the foundation of your next project. One of the best ways to analyze this data is through a combination of internal and external feedback. Employees who work day in and day out can escalate a product to the next level. Your customers can also be a crucial source of what your product needs to survive.
One way to do this is through idea portals. An idea portal that is managed directly through the product team can be a quick way to generate feedback. Companies likeSalesPad have hit the ground running with this channel and it has been a hit with customers, partners, and employees. Use different and industry bending ways like this to communicate better and build a concrete foundation.
All aboard the hype train. Building momentum goes right along with laying the foundation. Your product needs to get people excited. When Adele announced "25," she did it with this note.
In addition to my 72-year- old grandmother bursting into tears upon hearing the news, social media exploded.
Adele can do this a little bit easier because of previous successes but so can your business. Take your successes whether you’re attending a new event, adding a new glorious benefits package for employees, or pushing how your product changed someone else’s business.
But with all of this it is important to remember the quality of a product. Momentum only goes as far as the quality. Overwhelmingly negative reactions can bring the hype train to a screeching halt. Come up with a juggernaut of a product and make sure everyone knows it.
Time Your Release
Adele released her single “Hello” nearly a month before the release of "25." All of the kinks had been worked out and a solid product was already in motion to be released.
When releasing a software, it is essential to run the product through the ringer to make sure that your consumer can enjoy the product the way it is intended.
As Adele has different people listening to her records and producers help developing the product, you can do this with your business. Before your next release consider these strategies:
- Run multiple Beta tests.
- Try different environments (you never know what you’ll run into)
- Examine situational scenarios
- Consider the aptitude of different users (account for the learning curve of someone who hasn’t used your products before)
As of today, Spotify still doesn’t have "25" in its library. This isn’t a swift attack on Spotify for not paying royalties (blunt pun intended). Adele’s team knew that it would be trouble for sales if she released the album to early on the streaming service. Holding back this content didn’t only build more momentum, it encouraged my grandmother to get off the couch and buy it. Just kidding, she doesn’t know how to stream. But for those who are well-versed in the digital age, purchasing the album was the only way to get the full experience.
Now, it is important to make sure you aren’t too selective; you don’t want to hold yourself or your company back. But analyzing your strategy to give content to certain users and partners isn’t always a bad idea. Fermenting the process longer and brewing up a solid, precise sales and marketing strategy is a good chunk of the battle against competitors.
Move the Window
Since Adele was selective in her process, she ended up changing the game a bit. Game changers are all the rage when it comes to marketing, getting sales, and becoming an industry veteran. Adele has not only done this by being selective but by flat out breaking the rules.
You’ve seen this with Apple creating their own chargers when every other cell phone brand is nearly compatible with the same USB chargers. Don’t be afraid to move the window, rather than shatter it. By trying different strategies you can not only change the game but issue a new standard in the market. If you don’t try something riskier, you may be rolling in the deep seeds of products’ past.
Support, support, and more support. If the documentation, how-tos, tutorials, FAQs, marketing literature, and proper support staff aren’t ready to go then you aren’t either.
You have to embrace that even though you “get it” when it comes your software, not everyone else will. Instead of skating by without these materials, use them as the best part of your process.
Nothing is more rewarding than having a customer pick up your software and learn it through your materials. Hiring an instructional designer, technical writer, and/or a support engineering can be a great place to start for getting materials created.
Intuit currently has an entire writer-trainer network built to organize content and arrange materials. As your business grows, you can establish these additional channels.
Adele will continue to adapt her strategy to stay nimble and sell more of her product. Make sure that you follow in her footsteps and do the same to change the market. But after all of this, if your strategy doesn’t work, well at least you can say that you tried.
— Jarrett Weber
Jarrett Weber is a technical writer at SalesPad.