Continuing with my discussion of marketing tactics, I’d like to touch upon the factors that go into launching a product.
Let’s explore the basic procedures involved in launching a product to market. I understand that this is a bit of a broad, sweeping topic. So today, I will only cover the basics.
Two Types of Launches
The process of launching a product in the market is hard to break down because of the various definitions of ‘launch’. A soft launch invites a small group of users (often for a trial-period), to have a go at their product. As users test out the product, the company will gradually tweak features and respond to feedback. On the other hand, a hard or direct launch involves a brazen and intense approach: pushing your product out there, to the masses, for everyone to see and use.
Which of these two launch approaches do I recommend?
Honestly, I recommend a mix of the first and second; something like a publically announced test period. This means that you should engage in early marketing, public documentation and outreach for your product. At the same time, provide applications/invitations for specific users to try the product in a closed group.
This generates public awareness, and demonstrates the product in use. But only by those people who have received invitations, not by the entire general public. You also have a solid, final focus group to perform last minute testing on (don’t roll your eyes, testing is important!)
This marketing tactic also builds anticipation. People will see examples of your product in use, they will know it is limited to a few lucky individuals, and they will want to get their hands on it. Mild envy and excitement almost always play into the desires of people to attain your product.
Be aware, though, that there’s a point of diminishing returns. Overstretching time between hype and purchase will cause a reverse psychological effect to occur “the product is so unattainable and it will take such a long time before it’s put on the market, I don’t even want it anymore”. Google has made this mistake with their Google Glasses. Nobody really cares about the glasses now, despite the initial hype. The fact that the product was only available to so few, before it even officially existed as a purchasable product, annoyed many potential buyers.
Another product launching tip is wide dispersal of product info. Hit the widest audience you can; go with trending topics on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Post on Reddit and Tumblr. Expand into PPV marketing on both web and mobile spaces.
Along with an official, thought out, set of statements on your site, you should include white papers, case studies and clear documentation about the product. This is the main resource for your product info.
A good, solid launch into the public requires a set pace, product anticipation and balance. Once this cycle comes to fruition,
you will be received well and widely.
I’ll talk more about how to launch a product into the market in the future. I plan to touch on offline issues as well as some alternative online approaches. Stay tuned for more.