In a traditional marketing “hard launch”, you build up to a crescendo. The whole market trembles with excitement for the minute your product comes out, pulls out their credit card, and buys. You make 7 figures in one day, synchronously. This is particularly common for something like a highly anticipated event with limited availability of tickets. Often this requires significant planning, operational gymnastics, and making sure all of your ducks are standing in a row.
Hard launches try to take advantage of extra components of Cialdini’s principles of influence by building everything up at once. If there is a lot of buzz on a particular date, this helps with generating social validation for the product. Word of mouth intensifies.
Not A Soft Launch
A soft launch is the opposite. You try to avoid making a big splash all at one moment. Instead, you introduce the product to new people incrementally, to expand your product reach as you are certain you’ve ironed out the technical problems with the product. Soft launches are a good tool if there is a very high level of technical uncertainty, particularly from the founders’ perspective
Instead, you iteratively release and notify groups of prospects, and then work with them to perfect the product. It’s continuous improvement in the sense Toyota and other Japanese manufacturers originally pioneered, just in the context of introducing new products. As you feed customer feedback into the product, you make it increasingly attractive to the next batch of prospects.
Not A Rolling Launch
To some extent you could also compare it to a rolling launch. In this case, the same product is just re-introduced to a completely new set of prospects at a different place and time. So if the initial launch was at a local chamber of commerce meeting, and then the product is shown again to similar prospects at a business breakfast networking group, the new set of prospects will think it’s just being launched now just for them. The fact that the second launch happened later doesn’t really make a difference to that second group.
In most cases, a rolling product launch doesn’t really affect total profits, compared to trying to reach all of the same prospects to launch on one day. So in fact, we put unnecessary scheduling pressure on our team to release products on a specific date. If we stagger release dates, from a marketing point of view it still generates additional value. The added benefit of perceived scarcity of being the very first adopter is limited.
In fact, because the launches are spread out over time, it provides an extremely powerful feedback loop for both the marketing and for the product development team. Customers who buy can be interviewed for greater insight into why they bought, what they find attractive, and how they describe the benefits of the product in their own language.
So what is an Extreme Product Launch, then?
You figure out who you’re targeting. You put up a landing page. And you try every possible approach you can to drive relevant traffic to that landing page. Measure results. Get conversions. And prove who is actually willing to pay for your product and how to reach them. You figure out how much time or money it will cost you to acquire each customer type.
You can do this without a product. All you need is a landing page. And you can get started tomorrow. Details in Launch Tomorrow.