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Launch early or be dammed? 15 November, 2006

Posted by varoom in Marketing Plans.
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I have had some conversations, recently, with companies asking about marketing products or technologies before they are ready. I always respond with “start early and avoid surprises”. Of course you have to be careful about what it is you market before the product is ready, but early marketing can do several things.

Firstly you can test the market, ask potential customers for the interest in what you are developing, has it got the right features, will it be at the right price and arrive in time? This feedback is vital in the early part of your development as it could cause some important changes in development priorities.

Secondly you can use the early marketing to build up demand in advance, you can encourage early adopters to join an evaluation or Beta program, take early orders and maybe even find a joint development partner.

Thirdly an early start in marketing your product can shorten the time to money. In many cases when you have the final product it could take up to 2 years before real return for your product investment can be made. Can you survive that long?

Finally the early marketing can bring potential customers in and this will improve your credibility when talking to potential investors. They will see advance demand from customers as a key value and risk reduction.

On the downside there are some risks. With many customers you may only have a limited time window to do business and then the opportunity will be lost. If you slip your product schedules, after marketing the product, this will hurt and you will lose customer confidence.

So in conclusion, early marketing in a controlled manner, to a limited number of wise customers, who understand the meaning of early adopter, brings some important benefits.

 

Greville Commins

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