When launching a new product into the market, there are two strategies that product managers and marketers can use. You can either opt for a soft launch, which is when you introduce the product to the market in a discreet manner and to a small and targeted audience. Or, you can opt to launch the product with a hard launch, making a large entrance and utilizing excitement to spread product awareness, quickly. As with all marketing strategies, each has its own pros and cons and scenarios in which one strategy will be better over the other.
The cons with a soft launch are that it can have a lot of overhead as you will need a substantial budget to cover all expenses while you are gaining customer feedback and fine tuning your application. This means you will need to cover development costs, hosting fees, the initial marketing, and the cost of submitting your product to market.
The cons of a hard launch are that it is more expensive as you will need to reach a wider audience through multiple channels and place more capital into advertising resources to receive a quick return on investment. Your product will also be harder to tweak and making changes will be more expensive on a finished product. Finally, your audience will have higher expectations due to the buildup of interest that your product has created.
Contrary to popular belief, not all products need to be launched in a grand and boisterous way. A product can benefit from a soft launch if you are a small team and are in the market for the first time, require time to test the viability of your product, or you need to refine your product’s features by utilizing feedback from a small target audience. Beyond this, a product is well suited to a soft launch if you need to check price acceptance, need to test features, or need to test how much marketing is required to get your audience to engage with you.
On the other hand, you should go all in with a hard launch if you are 100% sure you can deliver your product on time, you have a product that is stable and reliable on all fronts, and you have eliminated all critical bugs and issues. When you are a large and trusted company, hard launches work well, especially if you have a detailed marketing plan and you have created enough “buzz” or “hype” around the product.
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