6 Steps to Shipping a Product to Your Most Important Customers

August 24, 2012

Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of blog posts by LinkedIn’s amazing summer interns. Today, we hear from Vicki Slavina who is currently an MBA candidate at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business.

The largest marketing campaign I’ve ever worked on launched to tens of thousands of recruiters and hiring managers in July. But I’m a newbie here at LinkedIn! For a more seasoned LinkedIn marketer, that’s nothing as they are reaching out to millions of members everyday.

This campaign was a part of my intern project this summer, which focused on the launch of Sponsored Jobs – a new product that allows companies to highlight job recommendations in ‘Jobs You Might Be Interested In’ or JYMBII (one of the many new acronyms I learned to spin with ease this summer). You’ve likely seen JYMBII on your LinkedIn homepage (and no, that is not my finger):

JYMBII has already changed the way professionals find jobs. For example, based on my current role as a Product Marketer in Mountain View, CA, LinkedIn automatically shows me marketing jobs at various San Francisco Bay Area companies that I might also ‘be interested in,’ as the name suggests. This feature allows our members to discover new and relevant opportunities. JYMBII is responsible for more than half of the roles filled on LinkedIn.

So how do you get the word out to the right people about a new product? Here are 6 steps I learned to take this summer:

1. When launching a product, tell your most important customers
We spent hours brainstorming the most relevant recruiters and hiring managers to tell about  this product. We used our data to identify and target power users who would be excited about the new feature.

2. Iterate, talk to customers, iterate, talk to customers
Our customers were the ones who gave us the idea for this product. As we were approaching launch, we went back to ask them what they thought of our presentation of the product online, and made changes immediately. Luke Baxter, the Online Product Marketer for LinkedIn Jobs, and Sachit Kamat, the Product Manager for LinkedIn Jobs, met several times a day to ensure there is a product-market fit for every part of the member experience. This includes everything from relevance of job recommendations to feature names that resonate with members.

3. Detail makes perfect
When something is being launched to thousands of people, you better check the fine print. Again. And again. Then ask someone else to. Then, again.

4. Data is your guide
“Wouldn’t it be interesting to know how many members…?” Almost every conversation about members ended with me going back to my desk and to find the answer in our enormous data warehouse. Let me tell you – “big data” is really BIG.

5. Test everything
Tech is one of the only industries where you never have to hypothesize what could be better – just build both and let them fight it out in an A-B test! I have become such a testing addict this summer that I now want to test everything in my life. I even suggested to my housemate that she A-B test invitations for her upcoming wedding. (This might have gone a bit too far.)

6. It’s not done even when it ships
Just when you think you’re done, someone (often yourself!) will have a new idea for the ‘next play’. There is always something left to innovate on!