The Product Launch Debate

By Amber Jalink | Online Business

Mar 14

Do you find yourself on multiple email lists, and wonder how on earth the person has time to continually launch new products?

Of course a lot of the time the emails are for other people’s products, but what if you bought a tool or course only to find that a few weeks or months later, the product creator is now releasing something else?

Are you annoyed? Often the answer is yes.

Do you feel like they shouldn’t be launching other products?

What if they launch something “complimentary” than what you already have? Shouldn’t the product creator simply enhance their first product?

And what if they’re launching things that aren’t complimentary, perhaps something different. Shouldn’t they be focusing on the product/offer YOU purchased??

These are slightly loaded questions, ones I will address here (because I get these questions at times), and I’m going to play a little “devils advocate” here, covering both sides of the issue: both from the consumer side, and the product creator side.

So let’s start off with the consumer’s view.

Let’s admit it: when a marketer sends you emails daily with a new pitch in EVERY email, it gets annoying. Even I admit I’ve unsubscribed from a lot of lists for this reason. When I give my email (which usually happens automatically when you buy something), I’m giving temporary permission to connect with me.

… so wow me! (More on that in a moment).

And of course, if every email is a pitch for yet another product from yet another person, it really seriously adds to “SOS” (Shiny Object Syndrome), and this is a problem that halts many people from focusing and achieving success. Because they’re going in too many different directions.

And yes it IS annoying to join a program or buy a product, only to be endlessly pitched particulary when the product owner DOES NOT support the product. Because then it just feels like a money grab (and often that’s what it is).

But not always.

So let’s now look at the product creator’s side for a little more insight.

When a product is not supported, then that is the direct fault of the product creator. EVERY product you put out needs to be supported. If you won’t do it or don’t have time for it, you absolutely MUST hire someone who can handle 90% of the support for you, so that you CAN move on to other things if you wish.

Bottom line: product creators: support your products.

BUT – what if the product creator *IS* supporting the product(s)… and what if that product creator is continually updating and working on it? Does that mean they should never launch anything else?

NO. That should absolutely NOT stop further launches, even if complimentary.

If the product creator launched the exact same thing under a different name, then (in my opinion), that’s unacceptable and not necessary, and only makes customers feel duped.

However, if you add a tool that is complimentary – but not the same, then it is absolutely acceptable, and sometimes more practical.

Example: We have our system that allows people to upload and sell planners and journals, essentially a print on demand (POD) for planners.

However, the system was NOT fully capable of designing an entire planner or journal from within. Yes, it has a designer, but that is better used on the covers, and never fully expected to be for the entire product. We always advised download the templates, modify, then upload the completed pdf to put live to the public.

When we created our journal creator software, a few complained, feeling that we should have added it into the print on demand system.

Yet it was a completely different software system powering it, AND it is expensive to run. Had we added it into the POD system, we would have been forced to charge a monthly fee for it, even to those who had ‘lifetime’ membership in the POD system. That alone would have created backlash for those expecting to never pay again.

But because it costs us every month to run, AND not everyone in the POD system cared about journals, it absolutely made more sense to launch it as a separate product. However, it IS complimentary – the products created within the journal creator CAN be uploaded and sold with the POD system – OR not.

You see, the POD system has the restriction that if you use our templates, you are forced to use our POD system for product delivery. (It’s only fair to us since we included a lot of templates without further cost to the members).

However, the journal creator has the rights that you can sell the products ANYWHERE – with no kickbacks to us.

So in some situations like ours, creating additional / complimentary products are very practical, and necessary, especially when different licensing issues are in place.

Additionally, sometimes the product has features and development stages that the product owner themselves cannot personally do. Example: I’m not a programmer, I can work fairly extensively with html, but not php etc. So while I might seem to be “moving on” to other products, it’s highly likely that it’s because I’ve actually got someone ELSE working on my particular product/service that I cannot personally do.

But what about perhaps non-complimentary products? I.e., some product creators seem to launch new products on a regular basis.

Does that mean they shouldn’t? Again – NO.

This is NOT to bash anyone here – but it’s a blunt point: I can almost guarantee that those who insist that a person should ONLY have one product for their business, has not been working online for any amount of time.

While a customer might have one focused mind (i.e., publishing their latest fiction novel), that’s great – but that does NOT mean that the product creator has to have the same focused mind.

In the blunt harsh reality of the internet, a business needs multiple streams of income.

That means, they are earning from more than one product or service.

Just like an “offline consultant” (a person who sells services to local businesses) has many clients – they also usually have multiple services they offer, not “just” web hosting for example.

The reason for this is simple: technology is always changing. And people’s financial situations change. And their desires and direction they want to go changes.

If you relied on ONE product only – someone else will come along and create something similar… and you lose customers. Or, technology changed so fast, your product is so out of date and redundant, that you HAVE to create something different.

Gas stations do not just sell gas, they sell “convenience” of having chocolate bars and snack foods near the cash register. (Many of them admit their income is greater for other products than just selling gas).

Again, an offline client will likely sell web hosting, but they’ll also usually offer other services such as newsletters, app building and maintenance, Facebook advertising, and more.

And realistically, ALL of these products and services cost money to the consultant in one way or another. (If they outsource, it’s staff costs. If they do the work themselves, it’s their time).

Strong companies have multiple product and/or service lines. “One hit wonders” come and go, but strong ones stick around. They evolve, expand their product offerings (complimentary or not), and they DO have the right to creating multiple products.

Solid businesses work that way. (Heck, even Apple doesn’t just sell a Mac, they added the iphone, the ipad, the ipod, and so on!)

The iPhone and iPod do almost the same thing… realistically they are – except the iphone is a phone. But it does everything the iPod does. Should they NOT release both products, just because they’re similar?  Of course not.

So the next time you look at a company/person/product creator and complain that they shouldn’t be doing anything other than what you bought, think about what is mentioned here.

If you want to focus 100% on one thing (like writing that novel, or creating that ONE piece of software) – all the power to you. But be prepared to realize that your income may be short lived, or worse – the product/service you create just might not be as marketable as you thought, and might not bring you any income at all.

Focus on one thing, get it done, then create the next, get it done, then the next and so on.

Never be afraid to launch, as long as you support your products of course ;).

And as a consumer, never ever be afraid to submit comments, (POLITE) criticism, concerns or suggestions to product owners – that’s how we make products/services better, because we can’t read your minds! However – as mentioned, ALWAYS be polite. Bashing is never acceptable.

 

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About the Author

I've been working online full time for 20 years... yep, I know a little about doing business on internet ;)