how would you launch Google Home in Canada?
+1 vote
in Product Launch by (725 points) | 854 views

5 Answers

+4 votes

First, I would share my understanding of how Google Home works right now (Product features. Who’s this popular among in the U.S. etc) Given the historical information available on Google Home, one can answer some of these questions without asking the interviewer: Google Home is a smart speaker that works like a personal assistant in your home by helping you complete certain digital tasks at home by directly speaking to the smart speaker. Examples of such tasks are: checking weather, asking to play a music, checking the news, asking for time, setting alarm, checking bank account balance, etc.

Then I will try to determine what the goal of the product launch in Canada is. I would assume that the goal is to drive adoption of Google Home in Canada. There are a few things that come to mind when thinking about the goal of the launch:

– Creating awareness about Google Home is a key step in the process as there are currently no smart speakers in Canada (Alexa and HomePod have not launched in Canada yet). Google has to explain to the public what smart speakers are and why Google Home is the preferred smart speaker.

– The initial buyers of Google Home will be early adopters and technologists who enjoy buying new gadgets

To launch Google Home in Canada, there are a few things we can do pre-launch, during-launch, and post-launch:

1. Pre-launch

a. Product Preparation:
– Integrate Google Home with a few Canadian service providers whose US competitors have proven valuable use cases with Google Home in the US market. Examples: banking on Google Home.

b. Raise awareness:
– Publish a press release, informing the media and the public of the launch date to create awareness

– Advertise in popular Canadian magazines to announce the launch of the product

– Target Canadians with ads on YouTube and TV and introduce what Google Home is and showcase its use cases (benefits)

– Ship a few Google Homes to influential Canadian bloggers and reviewers and ask them to share their experience by posting a blog, commenting on forums, and recording a YouTube video.

c. accept pre-orders
– Set up a page that allows the Google Home fans to pre-order their Google Homes ahead of the product release date.

2. During Launch:

a. Raise awareness:
– Organize launch events / parties to excite in the enthusiasts about the product. Encourage the event attendee’s to share Google Home on their social media in return for a chance to win a Free Google Home

– Offer a discount for the first set of orders coming from the Google Home website

– Announce list of Canadian companies that have integrated with Google Home as a way to showcase the use cases and utility of Google Home

– Connect with the Canadian popular figures in technology and celebrities and invite them to raise awareness about Google Home by social media marketing

b. partnership:
– Distribute product among retail partners that are popular among the early adopters (e.g. Best Buy, telecom providers, etc)

– Set up a website that enables people to directly buy Google Home from Google

– Provide a list of retailers that sell Google Home as a way to allow people to walk to a store and purchase Google Home

3. Post Launch:


– Keep track of number of units sold to ensure that Google maintains a strong position in the market and growing in terms of popularity

– Measure % of returns and compare against the US numbers. A high return rate indicates that the lack of native Canadian on Google Home has eroded the value of the product in Canada.

In summary:

Given our main objective is to drive adoption of Google Home, creating awareness about the product and the product launch is the key strategy in achieving our goal. As I’ve presented in detail above, I suggest that most of the activities during the product launch focus around introducing the product and its benefits to the Canadians, making Google Home available via consumers’ preferred channels (e.g. electronic retailers and Google’s website) and leveraging influential marketing to drive demand for the product.

by (281 points)
Hi there,
Thanks for the answer. I think it’s a good answer that follows the proper structure of answering a Go to Market question. Great work.
Nice analysis. I would just add an assumption that Google is the 1st mover and there are no competitors. In reality, Alexa is already in Canada based on a video that I saw on social network where the observer in Toronto was evaluating Alexa’s features and responses.
+2 votes

Hi ,
In addition to the answers above , one of the biggest factors with launching a hardware product is supply and logistics. You have to make sure your manufacturing partners are primed up to supply the volume you plan to sell and at the quality and price point you expect.
Next you need to worry about the logistics – both forward ( getting the product to the retail partners or consumers) and reverse logistics ( handling returns) . Do you have those partnerships and processes in place.

Another factor missed was customer support , who is going to support the customer , have you trained your CS agents in enough quantity. Have you trained the sales staff at your retail partners to help “sell” the product and answer any customer questions.

Good points. Thanks for the feedback.
+1 vote

How is this answer?

The main objective of the launch of Google Home in Canada is to sell a large number of units of the product. Given that other competitors such as Amazon Echo and Homepod are coming to the market soon, Google wants to sell as many units as possible to establish its position as the leading smart speaker in the Canadian market and gain momentum.

There are a few strategies Google should consider to help it achieve its goal. I’ve listed them here:
• Offer incentive for people to purchase their Google Home today rather than wait for other companies’ smart speakers arrive to have more options. Discount pricing for limited time can be one way to drive purchase now
• Google Home is more useful when it has a larger developer network. Given that many apps are local and are only available in certain countries, Google should ensure that the viral / highly usable applications are available as much as possible at the time of the Google Home launch in Canada
• It is fair to assume that Google Home will be more popular among the Android phone owners. Given Android is usually not chosen by Apple (iPhone) fans, it is fair to assume that Google Home’s main competitor among the Android users will be Amazon Echo while Google Home’s main competitor among the iPhone users will be Home Pod. This might mean one needs different strategies to encourage each segment of the market to purchase Google Home.

Here are some ideas for having a successful launch of Google Home in Canada:

1. Before product launch:

• Send email campaigns to all Google users in Canada and inform them of the product launch
• Send Google Home devices to Canadian influential tech bloggers and thought leaders to encourage them to write reviews of the product and share their experience
• Organize hackathons in Canada to engage with the developers and to have them develop applications that are particularly useful for the Canadians
• Advertising (TV, newspaper, online) can also help drive awareness of the product launch
• Either offer a freebie as an incentive for people to purchase Google Home (e.g. free Google Music for 6 months) or offer a discount for a limited time
• Work with retailers to enable pre-orders for Google Home
• Ensure that there is a French marketing campaign in place for the French speaking Canadians
• Ensure potentially popular Canadian apps (e.g. radio stations and news channels) will be available on Google Home starting day one
• Enable setting up Google Home in French language for the French speaking Canadians
• Use historical data in the US and other parts of the world to estimate demand and to ensure that retail partners do have sufficient units to meet the consumers’ demands

2. At the time of product launch:

• Publish a press release and run a PR campaign to ensure that Canadians are aware of the Google Home product, what it does, and its release data
• Advertising (TV, newspaper, online) can also help drive awareness of the product launch
• Work with retail partners to ensure that their stores do have sufficient quantity to meet demands
• Organize launch parties by inviting the Canadian influencers in the technology space to the party
• Partner with telecommunication companies to offer Google Home at a heavy discount to anyone who purchases a new Android device

3. After product launch:
• Compare initial sales data in Canada vs other countries to predict Google Home’s sales volume in the coming months and to ensure that retailers do have sufficient units to meet demand
• Continue working with the Canadian developers, provide information on the adoption of Google Home, and ensure that they remain engaged and continue developing new applications on the platform
• Measure the volumes / units sold in the market to determine Google’s estimated market share once competitive products arrive to the market. If the market share is below target, increase marketing resources to drive sales of Google Home in Canada

Hi there,
Thanks for the answer. The answer and its structure are good. I think you could have picked a broader objective for the launch. While sales is important at the launch date, the long term impact of the launch is also important. I like the first answer’s objective more (driving adoption of Google Home). Also, you can wrap up your answer with a summary highlighting the goal, strategy, and your key activities. Hope it helps.
0 votes

For any type of launch, here’s a quick checklist.
It will work for Google Home type of product or any other hardware/software combination product.

1) Pre-launch activities – Internal 
a) Pricing – including bundling
b) Marketing – Social Medial, SEO, Landing Pages, Social reviews, HOW_DOES THIS WORK videos, tutorials
c) Advertising – TV, Social media,Radio, Video
d) Market sizing
e) Competitor messaging, positioning,
f) Internal teams are ready: Customer Service, Legal.
g) Launch date is set. Keep competitor launch in mind.
h) Accept pre-orders with a special pricing (if needed)

2) Pre-launch activities – External
i) Suppliers are ready
ii) Retailers are ready
iii) Market demand is understood
iv) Training has been provided”

3) Post-launch activities – Internal 
a) Track key metrics
b) Follow-up with customers to get early feedback
c) Get daily metrics from Analytics team, CS team, and from retailers
d) Incorpoarte fedback into Product Pipeline
e) Inform & congratulate the larger team once launch is on it’s way

0 votes

Clarifying Questions –
1. Is Google Home already launched in other countries? USA?
2. What’s the feedback from the launches so far?
3. What the primary motivation behind launching this in Canada? Let’s assume it’s increase the reach and launching in an international market.

So this is more like an international launch of a product which is already launched in USA or other parts of the world. I would consider the following:

0. Goal of the launch- Increase market share, more revenue.
1. Pre-Launch – This is all about planning and strategy. I will consider the following:
1.a – Target Customers – This is a broad based consumer product which will appeal to most people – kids and above.
1.b – Target market: All of Canada.
1.c – MVP/Full Launch- Full Launch
1.d- Partnership: Tie up with various large retailers – BestBuy type, Amazon(if they let sell home), other local e-com players, Tie with some local player for repairs/returns, sell thru google store
1.e- Buzz- News, Social media, traditional and digital ads, try to popularize by offering some discounts thru referral, Tie up with large businesses if they want to give Google home as holiday gift etc…
1.f – Rollout- Pick holiday season or whatever is most relevant for Canada
1.g – Competition- See what competition(Amazon Echo, Sonos etc..) is doing and fine tune strategy accordingly

During Launch – This is all about execution so ensure pre-launch activities are handled well and product is adequately stocked

Post Launch- Measurement and Post-Mortem. KPIs to consider –
a. # of units sold by region(in Canada)
b. # of returns
c. Reasons for returns
d. Customer feedback score
e. Expert reviews
f. # of units sold by channel
g. # of units sold by referral
h. Customer acquisition by marketing ()channel

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