Matt Lawton

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Matt has over 25 years experience in marketing services agencies across the UK, US and Australia, working with clients like Australian Payments Plus, Lenovo, Activision,, Patron Tequila, NBN and FutureFeed.

Matt is the Managing Director of Five by Five Global, the founder of the Launch Marketing Council and is an advisor to several Australian startups.

Matt Lawton on Launch Marketing

Here we ask Matt Lawton, from Five by Five Global three key questions on Launch Marketing, in light of new trends in tech.

At Five by Five, you define the key stages of a product launch, where the first stage is Launch Alignment. What would be a typical example where well executed alignment leads to an effective launch?

One of our smart home security clients had been an established product in the US. Its launch into Australia in 2016 was an exciting campaign for us to manage. At that point, they only had a Country Manager in Australia and our marketing contacts were all in Los Angeles.

We had to align the client with objectives we felt were realistic given some of the demographic, cultural and legislative differences between the US and AU market. That team then had to ensure the rest of the business had expectations managed and those inputs helped shape the release schedule and priority of future products. 

That discussion then informed our KPI’s. It’s critical there’s a high level of honesty in those early discussions and we knew there would be a big education job to be done using media relations, partnerships and social channels. 

When you allow people to drink the kool aid, things never work out well. The approach we took generated high, early trust in the relationship which continued for almost 4 years on retainer until their sale to Amazon. By then they’d nailed Australia, NZ, the UK and other markets beyond their North American home base.

Concerning Roger's Adoption Curve, what acquisition channels have you noticed work well with innovators and early adopters?

I always think the early part of the adoption curve is under-represented and founders look to rush through the first stage, bedazzled by the riches beyond. Acquisition is emphasised way too much, or at least ‘intentional acquisition’. 

During seed stages, it’s better to work with relatively small numbers of customers / users to study their behaviours and talk to them about their habits and the utility they gain from the time they spend with your product or service. 

We’ve paid people just to use a new product and give us continual feedback and I’m just not convinced ‘early adopters’ exist as a segment any more. That’s because typical laggards use smartphones and social networks the same way as anyone else with access to the same utility. 

Trust in a new product is less of an issue for people because new experiences are delivered on platforms they already trust: e.g. Google Play, Instagram, App Store. If I’m 65 and into lawn bowls, would I be interested in an AR experience that mapped different pathways for my next bowl? Well, regardless of whether the answer is yes or no, it has less to do with my feelings about technology and more to do with how competitive I am. 

So, to answer the question, the best acquisition channels to use once your seed stage(s) gives you the data on your target audience are whatever channels those people can find instant relevance with your proposition.

We know there are only five types of launch. Each uses a different blend of marketing activity and selecting the right one depends on budget, level of advancement, competitive pressure, knowledge of audience and market dynamics.

Web3 presents a new set of dynamics. What key differences in product launches are you noticing with web3?

Marketers of products leveraging web3 are launching products in much the same way at the moment: with an almost complete focus on community building and activation.

In many ways this is entirely appropriate and aligned with a classic grassroots launch strategy. Online communities with a passionate interest in DeFi, Blockchain games, Crypto or Metaverse experiences are a captive and informed audience active on platforms that reward sophisticated community engagement.

So strategically, the early players are getting their launch marketing right, but the execution seems a bit off to me. Too often we’re asked to produce ‘sexy looking assets’ to tease audiences in a pre-launch phase that is designed to build hype. I don’t subscribe. I think audiences, particularly gamers, are very savvy and while they and the marketing teams driving this approach may have been conditioned by former campaigns that released trailers as gradual reveals to build excitement, I think it’s more in their interest to focus on explaining the relevance of the new product.

Bringing that utility to life with less hype and more genuine commitment to first customers is what will drive adoption. So, key differences in product launches with web3? At the moment, they’re cookie cutter and falling short on inventiveness. New web3 products are generally being launched by technicians not marketers and propositions could be much clearer. 

Web3 has a long way to go to catch up, but one thing is for sure, it will catch up quickly.

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