How to market a new product to the new generation of first time leaders?

Best practices from our Be-novative Partner Hub

Empowering lower level leaders needs us to find the right value proposition. Just by creating a program on ‘team effectiveness’ might not be enough in this fast-paced world to make Generation Z fully engaged and feel like the program has been designed exactly for them. Taking in everyone’s insights from our global expert network of the Be-novative Partner Hub gave us 15 potential value propositions for how we could be innovative in our approach to working with first time team leaders at their level (and still be effective).

How to market a new product to the new generation of first time leaders?

🗣 The problem: The protagonist of our session is an expert in Leadership team effectiveness offering Dialogic Team coaching solutions to teams of all-size organisations. The company has built a scalable digital solution for first-time managers, newly appointed team-leaders to empower them with leadership skills to reach team effectiveness but looking for best ways to narrow down the value proposition and service offering for Gen Z lower level newly appointed leaders.

Being appointed as a team leader for the first time is an exciting and scary experience. When you become a new leader you take on a huge responsibility, one that might exceed your ability to manage effectively. Sometimes managers are not selected for their emotional intelligence, problem-solving skills,ability to connect and motivate people, but for being the ‘best sales person’ — which might not be the best indicator that the same person should lead teams.

A study from the Leadership Quarterly found that as few as 15% of teams are considered effective, compare this to 80% of teams with ineffective leaders. Other research found fairly similar results, summing up that only 15–20% of teams are effective.

With that said, we have to add that it is not a manager’s job to build trust, but a teams’ job. So our protagonist designed a team coaching program for the entire team, without taking out the team lead. They designed an online experience for both first-time managers and their team in a virtual format that is as human as possible.

❔The question: How to find the right value proposition to equip first-time-managers with the skills and ability to lead effective teams? We are searching for service offerings and communicational elements for an 8-week-sprint for a web based service for newly appointed team-leaders, who are young, ambitious, first timers in a position within a company — a generation of youngsters. What would make the program feel like “it was created for me?” (Taking into account that in this case the target persona might not be the same as the buyer — as so often in our industry).

🔆 Our process: We have followed the steps of the Reflective Solution Focused Practice and at the end it was not just our protagonist, who came up with this question, but all of us geared up with new ideas, tools, thoughts and inspiration. Elvira Kalmar, our Partner Hub Program Facilitator in the Spark Creativity online sessions facilitated the session. Participants were from different continents as always, allowing a diversity of perspectives to cross-pollinate from all over 🇦🇷 Argentina, 🇨🇽 Brazil, 🇪🇸 Spain, 🇭🇺 Hungary and the 🇺🇸 United States.

🎯 Here is a collection of our best practices:

1. INVITE TO A HUMAN EXPERIENCE: How you promote your product should reflect the core idea of it. In this case it is a human experience so making it personal and ‘human to human’ will tell them a lot about the nature of it. Tell them what it is in a video message ‘I have created this for you!’, or TikTok, Instagram, Youtube or on your own Website, show pictures of attendees, introduce the coaching team who is behind the experience.

2. THINK WITH THE USERS HEAD: Creating a before-after Empathy Map may help define the value proposition. What will change in what the target persona thinks, feels, does or says before and after the event? This will help you answer all the questions about the main question: ‘Why do I need to be here? Why do I need this product?’ Think about their journey comparing the before-after Empathy Maps.

3. SUMMARIZE YOUR INFO IN A PICTURE: This generation is living on Instagram and Tik-Tok. Create marketing material on these channels or material that looks like it is made for these channels. Try to be as brief and to-the-point as possible.

4. USE HUMOR AND FRESHNESS: An element of fun mixed with humour will bring the audience closer, specifically if they are Gen Z, they appreciate a lot if your don’t try to be super strict even when it comes to your product and marketing materials.

5. BITE-SIZE CONTENT: This generation has a bite-size attention span, so create really short learning materials. The more your audience can learn from even a few minutes-long content the more they will connect to you as an expert.

6. PRODUCTIVITY HABITS: They are moved by habits of highly successful people and developing routines they can insert into their mornings, evenings or starting the week with that will generate more productivity, alignment on goals and achieving more in less time.

7. SELL BY THE PURPOSE not just EFFICIENCY: Relate development to their own purpose and even more importantly, their team’s or even to the company PURPOSE — Millennials are all about the ‘Why’, connecting them to a company Purpose will make them driven by the right results.

8. LEARNING BY DOING: Gen Z will not be engaged by theoretical knowledge, hypothetical situations or long tutorials. They like to experiment, fail or succeed by practicing in real life or clicking through an app on their own. This is why usually a 8-week sprint is a great idea where in-between the sessions they can try different methods and reflect on how far they have reached. Starting the session with a reflection on what has happened since last time helps them to gain real experience.

9. SELF-KNOWLEDGE-DRIVEN: They usually like to use bullet journaling techniques to track their progress and see their journey towards their goals visually.

10. INSTANT FEEDBACK — They are thirsty for relevant, human feedback to learn from. They appreciate if feedback comes in real-time without waiting weeks for the results of a personality test. With that said, tailor-made feedback and future-proof assessments are vital when it comes to first-time managers. Use long-tail-characteristics rather than a short one-time badge or characteristic they either have or they don’t make sure all statements are up-to-date for 2021, as this generation is specifically sensitive to being compared to 20th century leadership types. The world moves on, and leaders of the 21st century are empowering ones. They are rather coaches of the team themselves, driving productivity with the team, which happens best if they know how to listen well.

11. PEER-TO-PEER MENTORING — First time leaders are often left alone with responsibilities, so they are lonely in their challenges. A peer-to-peer mentoring session has double advantages, because it makes them relieved that they are not alone with their questions and with the challenges they face and yet, compared to others in a similar situation, they can find out more about their own leadership styles.

12. DISCOVERING SUPERPOWERS — Gen Z is driven by getting to know the best version of themselves even when it comes to leadership skills. So translating the notion of ‘developing leadership skills’ to ‘discovering superpowers as leaders’ can be a good idea. This way they feel they become heroes of their own teams. ‘Yes, we want you to become superheros. I know, that is a bold statement…but that’s our mission. We help to turn your team from the most common denominator of “average” into superhero’.

13. DESIGN A RISK-FREE VIRTUAL WORLD: Holding your training in a virtual game environment, like on a League of Legends platform has its unique risk-free element where it is easier to create a safe space, where participants can get instant feedback from each other (while they immerse in their own story).

14. BECOMING INFLUENCERS: Empower them how to share real-life stories and cases with other people. This generation listens to their peers and to stories they can relate to either internally within their company or on social media — so make your happy users your influencers.

15. PREPARE THEM HOW TO SELL IT TO THEIR BOSSES: As it is more likely they will not be the ones paying for it, remember, their bosses are more likely driven by different language or results, so you can give first-time managers an extra hand if they can download a support guide on how to reason and rational about paying for their membership tickets.

+1. VALIDATE AND REFINE YOUR PITCH WITH MILLENIALS — As it is the case always in Design Thinkinging, you could think of developing both a program and its communicational materials together with your target clients. Ask for their insights and feedback on what makes sense, what moves them. Refining your selling pitch by validating it with the new generations will make it truly feel like the program was designed for them.

✨ What we gained in the experience?

We all had to think a bit with our protagonist’s head and understand the challenges they are facing targeting the younger generation. It has inspired us to think about our own businesses and how we engage with younger generation leaders, decision makers — are our services designed for them? How do we build relationships with them and how does validating or co-creating it based on their insights and feedback change our services, product offerings and processes?

“Are your services fitting the needs of the new generation?”

If you have an important question or topic, or would like to learn together with our experts, just reach out to us applying to our Be-novative Partner Hub.

Gathering knowledge and best practices through Collaborative Learning

🌐 About the Be-novative Partner Hub:

The Be-novative Partner Hub is an ecosystem of people and resources whose main goal is envisioning, accelerating and scaling the success rate of both organizational and product-development, creating impactful projects and meaningful solutions locally or globally. We share knowledge, inspire people and actively co-create new methods. We contribute to a better, more creative Earth.

The Be-novative Partner Hub members, consultants in people experience, organisation design and development, Design Thinking, innovation consultants and management consultants from around the globe are committed to learning from each other and with each other about the future of facilitating workshops and improving consultation impact and scalability in a remote world, so we focus on finding what works, we are non-judgmental, curious and tentative, rather than absolute in our sharing.

Each participant at our online biweekly meeting introduces the topic or case that occupies their mind and thoughts and chosen the method that would fit it best:

  • Deconstructing success: a new use case or step with clients or achievement in the organisation, that went really well

This session was about wisdom seeking on empowering Gen Z first-time managers.

We will meet online again on the 6th of April - let us know if you would like to join our expert network or take part in the Learning Community.

Be-novative is a Design Thinking and Innovation platform that helps organizations build breakthroughs collaboratively. http://be-novative.com @benovative

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