Product Launch Strategy
Why putting your innovative product into the market and advertising it wont work and how tinder kicked butt at their strategy (Adoption lifecycle curve)
You have been awesome at validating your market. People love your product, you received some fantastic feedback. Next step is marketing. You advertise your product, have some fancy copy leading to your purchase site or download page.
Sign ups and conversions just don’t seem to grow. Anxiety sets in. What is going wrong? You did the research, people you spoke to loved it, why is the market not biting?
This is the case all too often and you have probably experienced it yourself. Many corporates creating new ‘innovative products’ will struggle the same. They put out new products but growth rates are embarrassing and the product doomed to fail.
The problem doesn’t lie with your product or your market research. It’s to do with human psychology and the way you disseminate your product and follow your go to market strategy. That is if you have a GO TO MARKET not I’m ALREADY IN MARKET strategy.
It’s because people are sheep. We think and act like a herd. No one wants to be first and we follow each other into new directions.
When you create a new solution that makes people change their behaviour or process, things get tricky. They haven’t tried your product yet, no one they know has tried your product and they are not sure whether what you have to offer is great for them.
What if it fails or sucks. What if their network doesn’t approve?
I want to introduce you to a little concept before we get started. The Law of Diffusion to Innovation. Geoffrey Moore wrote about this phenomenon in his book crossing the chasm.
What I want you to understand is the product adoption lifecycle curve which helps us to understand how customers adopt new products and how you can reach beyond your initial market and get your product into the hands of many people.
Let's have a closer look at the Law of Diffusion of Innovation.
This bell curve represents a 100% of the total addressable market. These are all the consumers, your target market.
Now furthest to the left, what we have the Innovators. The Innovators represent 2.5% of the total addressable market. Now these Innovators are tech enthusiasts, they're really excited to find and begin experimenting with new technology or innovative new products. They're your target customers, and because of the exposure to new tech, they're often at the front line and find it, see it, test it, try it first up.
Now these people are the ones that will actually overlook bugs and faults in your product offering advice and help to actually develop and grow new products. You have most likely worked with some of these people as part of your solution interview stage. These are the people that help you shape your product in the early stages.
Next to these Innovators are the Early Adopters, they represent approximately 13.5% of the total market. These are the consumers willing to wait in line from early hours in the morning to get their hands on the newest most innovative product.
Think Iphones and sneakers, people go bananas. They will be the ones that you see on the news that wait from six o'clock in the morning just to be the first ones to hold the new iPhone.
Early adopters will go out of their way to find new tech themselves but are often only able to get it once it's actually accessible to the wider market.
Following on from Early Adopters, we start to get into the majority of the market. Here you find the Early Majority which is actually one of the larger parts of the majority of the market. Now these people are very practical and are actually adverse to buggy or faulty tech. They will wait until the technology has been proven.
These people are the ones that wait until the later stages of iPhones before purchasing one as they are averse to risk and flaws. These people are the first stage of the major market or the mass market. But are a very big decider for the uptake of a product or a new technology.
After the Early Majority we have the Late Majority. These are the people that will only adopt new technology because they don’t get a choice and see the new product as the new norm. That's why they adopt the new product or technology. So if we go back to the smartphone example, they only adopted the smartphones because they had to in societal pressure or friends and family. Once technology actually moves, from Early Majority to Late Majority, it becomes or gives us a really good sign that this new technology will become a piece of everyday society.
Now next to the Late Majority, also called the Laggards. They usually represent about 16% of the total addressable market. These people are very very slow to take on technology and often don't care about it. These people are the ones that still use Windows XP and don't like technology, unless there's actually no way around it.
These 5 stages give us better understanding of our market and the psychology of the addressable market. If we have a look at the total addressable market again, right in between the Early Adopters and the Early Majority, there is this gap which Geoffrey Moore calls the Chasm.
In this Chasm is the tipping point that takes us from a product that is not quite ready, to a product that needs to be created for the mass market. In order to go from this Innovators/Early Adopters side of the market into the majority of the market, we need to have between 15 to 18% of the addressable market convinced about this new tech or innovative product. This is the tipping point.
A common mistake entrepreneurs will make is go out and just start advertising to the mass market, that is your early and late majority.
Let’s have a look at why this is a bad idea and how you should think differently about it.
If I was to create a hypothetical Dating App, the last thing I’d want to do is advertise to everyone and try to get many people on it. People won’t just download this app and there are some complications you need to think about for your go to market strategy. Here are three that stand out to me instantly:
Location. obviously it's quite geographically bound and often you will have people from all different areas trying to meet each other.
Adoption. So unless someone other than yourself or one of your friends has already tried it, chances are we're not gonna be the ones, the first ones to adopt this new product and to give it a shot.
Social face. If someone sees you on this app, will you look like a loser? Tinder, friend finder and Bumble, all social apps have opened the door for other have made the world much more acceptable to dating applications.
TINDER CASE STUDY OF MARKET DIFFUSION
Let’s have a look at a successful company that did extremely well with their go to market strategy.
Tinder is an online dating App (now) targeted at the mass market. Tinder didn't start that way and had a very particular go to market strategy on how they could diffuse the product into the market.
What the team quickly understood was that they had specific issues to deal with early on. Similar to the ones I mentioned above, the Tinder team faced the stigma around online dating and the geographical challenge around its users.
Tinder created a product that they wanted to diffuse into the mass market. This is anyone who is single, can meet other single like manner people. This ranges from the age of 18, all the way through to 55 plus.
But, rather than focusing on the mass market that Tinder is targeting today, Tinder targeted specifically 17 to 23 year olds at universities and colleges throughout the U.S.
Now as part of the strategy, Tinder specifically focused on social influencers. These are the people in sororities and fraternities. The students at universities and colleges that most will look to for anything that is trending and cool. (These are your innovators/ Early Adopters)
Amongst the were student group presidents, models and especially the ladies at sororities (ladies). After they created their profiles online, uploaded pictures and wrote a blurb about themselves, the Tinder team then used these pictures and these profiles to go to the fraternities (the guys) and used it as leverage for them to upload their profiles in hope to meet a beautiful young lady. (This is still the early adopter stage)
Tinder initially focused on one campus to make sure they’d get around the geographical challenge and by focusing on these Early Adopters, Tinder was able to get around the stigma around online dating. Popular people that others looked up to, where using this app.
By them adopting the new product, other people joined on and sort of became the Early Majority and Late Majority of adoption.
Have a think about how you can use, the Product Adoption Lifecycle Curve and map out your users and your customers to see which ones are your Early Adopters and which ones are your Laggards. By following that you will have a much much better chance at putting your product out into the market and have early success. Get to 15% to 18% and become a mass market product like you wanted to.