LinkedIn principal author Doug Winnie describes a number of release strategies that you can use as a product manager for your product. Ranging from silent soft launches, full launch blitzes to phasing a release over time, you can release your product in multiple different ways to meet the needs of your users.
- With all the work done, and the positioning and marketing in place, it's time to release your product. The type of product you're releasing defines where it's going to be released, but there are different ways to define how it's released. I'd like to share a few that have worked well for me, and which may be right for you. The first is called a soft launch. This is when you release the finished product, but you don't tell anyone. There isn't any advertising or campaigning for the product.
It's just there, for people to find on their own. There are a number of reasons to have a product go through an entire launch process without fanfare, especially products that are released in app stores. A soft launch lets you make sure your product is approved and listed by the ecosystem vendor before you make a big splash about it. You also can see how discoverable the product is and if there are any initial reactions to it. The second way to release is a full launch.
This is when you release your product and marketing at the same time. In this scenario, you do little to no marketing or advertising before the product launches, and product availability is timed with your communication. The full launch pushes everything at the same time, with the clear call to action being to acquire the product. A modified full launch, on the other hand, is an effective way to build momentum and excitement for the product before it's released.
With this method, you can promote features, early beta releases, behind-the-scene stories of how the product is made, and share what your testers are saying about the product before it's released. But you need to strike a good balance. If you promote the product too early, you may be accused of selling vaporware, or a product that doesn't actually exist. If you've already released the product, you might consider a phased release strategy. This is when you initially choose to focus your marketing on a small percentage of users, and then grow that, over time.
This is common practice for web-based products, or apps, where a certain number of users are able to update to the new version of an existing product, while others remain on the older one. The phased release strategy gives you a way to test and evaluate the audience response to a product before it goes live to 100% of the users. These are just of few examples of ways to vary the release strategy for your products. Ultimately, your product and users will define the best strategy.
It's important to test and evaluate responses to marketing and release strategy. Asking your potential customers what works best can have a huge impact on the success of your release.
- Types of products and industries
- Leading through influence
- Understanding your team
- Using an agile or waterfall development cycle
- Managing your product life cycle
- Researching your market, customers, and ideas
- Planning the product
- Building the product
- Releasing the product
- Refining the product
- Understanding when it's time to retire the product