Soft Launch: Meaning, Objectives, Strategy, & Examples | Feedough

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Soft Launch: Meaning, Objectives, Strategy, & Examples | Feedough

In the face of cutthroat competition, businesses continuously strive to perfect their offerings. This is done to provide maximum utility to the customers.

A soft launch is one such way in which firms try to include their customer’s feedback and reviews to improve their product or service before actually hitting the market. It is like a test launch done after the offering is in place and is in its final stages of development.

To understand better, let’s look into soft launch meaning, importance, goals, advantages and disadvantages, marketing strategy, and some case examples.

What Is A Soft Launch?

A soft launch is a strategy whereby businesses launch their product or service to a limited audience before the scheduled official launch to make business operations effective.

In simple words, it:

How Long Does A Soft Launch Last?

A soft launch is like a rehearsal of the offering’s performance in the market. Different offerings have varying lifecycles; therefore, every product or service requires a different timespan for a soft launch.

The ideal time for a soft launch may vary from a few weeks to a few months depending upon many factors. The size of the target market, the geography of launch, psychology of users, the lifespan of the offering, the company’s budget for the launch, parameters to be tested, etc., are some factors that help decide its duration.

For example, the soft launch of a mobile application may vary from two to four weeks, while the same for a body toning oil may extend to a few months.

Why Is Soft Launch Important?

After the developmental stages of the product or service are complete and made available to the general public, a soft launch comes into the picture.

A soft launch acts as an accountability mechanism for the companies. This limited release to a section of the customer base allows the company to test and try its offerings. It gives the firm a chance to identify the irregularities and address them before actually hitting the market and thereby helps in accounting for the performance of their product or service.

Moreover, a soft launch acts as a catalyst for the business. The brands can gather valuable user data and gauge the users’ response through this small-scale preliminary launch before making the product public. Therefore these insights guide the changes and betterment of the offering by making it market fit. Consequently, this ensures a good response and growth in the market from the very start.

What Are The Objectives Of A Soft Launch?

A soft launch serves different purposes for different organisations. However, broadly the main goals that a soft launch aims to achieve are the following:

What Are The Advantages Of A Soft Launch?

A soft launch aids the company in several ways. A soft launch has the following merits and comes helpful in:

What Are The Disadvantages Of A Soft Launch?

Now let’s look into some demerits of a soft launch. It is:

Hard launch vs Soft launch

A hard launch is when the fully developed final product is released widely using intensive marketing efforts to the general public.

This kind of launch generates popularity, raises awareness, and gains market share. Moreover, the final offering should be the perfect exemplar of the brand’s USP without any flaws.

A lot of time and finances are invested in planning and executing a hard launch because the product has to hit the market with a bang. However, a hard launch benefits the firm due to its first-mover competitive advantage and substantial revenue gains in the market right from the beginning.

Whereas,

A soft launch is when the product/service in its final stages of development is released with minimal marketing efforts to a smaller select audience.

This kind of launch aims to gather consumer response and feedback data, enhance the USP through continued development, and create a buzz around the offering. Therefore, the product/service to be released should strongly highlight the brand’s core value; however, it can still be changed for improvements.

Less time and money is invested during a soft launch because the offering is unveiled only partly, gradually rolling out the features and designs. However, it benefits the firm by getting early feedback, generating interest in the offering, and testing the product performance by extending the time to reach the broader market.

How To Build A Soft Launch Strategy?

There are numerous ways of adopting a soft launch marketing strategy. However, the following considerations are kept in mind while working up any soft launch strategy:

Soft Launch Case Examples   

Organisations across the globe are working tediously to offer customers more than just a product or service. Yes! They are striving to give them the worth of their money. And some companies have amplified their success through soft launches.

Here are some leading case studies for the same:

Gmail

gmail soft launch

The free, ad-supported webmail service was soft-launched by Google in April 2004. When the platform first came out, it offered 1GB of free storage space available only to a limited group of people. The existing users could also only invite a few people to make Gmail registrations and create a Gmail account. Therefore having a Gmail account became prestigious and generated buzz around the product. This wide popularity drove millions to create a Gmail account when the platform was fully launched a year later, in 2005.

Pokemon Go

The free smartphone application combined gaming with the real world. The game used mapping and location tracking to create an augmented reality that set it apart in 2006.

The promoters first launched the app only in Australia and New Zealand in July 2006. Later the game attracted tons of popularity, forcing its outright launch worldwide within months. However, soon after the main launch, the game became unplayable due to the extreme server load.

On the one hand, the soft launch opened opportunities for the brand, while on the other hand, it also grimly reminded of the company’s inefficiency and poor infrastructural planning.

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Author: Janvi Gupta