Press Releases, Launches and Seth Godin

04/02/2009

Seth Godin and nuts 300x120 Press Releases, Launches and Seth Godin

I have a love/hate relationship with Seth’s blog.  I love the way that he distills down complicated concepts into bite-sized chunks of wisdom that very often get me thinking.  I hate how utterly theoretical and non-practical this wisdom is and therefore fear that no matter how great his ideas are, nobody could ever figure out how to actually apply them to real, live, functioning businesses.

Today’s post, First, 10,  is one of those that manages to get me thinking and drive me crazy at the same time (which I suspect is the desired result).  In it he states:

Find ten people. Ten people who trust you/respect you/need you/listen to you…

Those
ten people need what you have to sell, or want it. And if they love it,
you win. If they love it, they’ll each find you ten more people (or a
hundred or a thousand or, perhaps, just three). Repeat.

If they don’t love it, you need a new product. Start over.

So far so good. Most folks selling B2B have been doing the shortlist of first reference customers thing for ages.  I don’t buy that those customers are actually going to get out there and close million dollar deals for me but they sure as heck are going help me get into my next 10 accounts (either directly or indirectly), so I’m good with this.  Then he says this:

The timing means that the idea of a ‘launch’ and press releases and the
big unveiling is nuts. Instead, plan on the gradual build that turns
into a tidal wave.

Well, in my opinion that depends on what you mean by “launch” and “press release”.

I agree that the age of the “big unveiling” is over.  It doesn’t make sense to keep new product/releases a secret until an arbitrary set date. It makes a lot of sense to be engaging your prospects and influencers along the way to having something released to market.  Having your external communications gradually build up “into a tidal wave” makes a lot of sense to me.

Launch is another thing altogether in my mind though.  The process of managing a launch of a product involves way more than external communications and anyone that’s working toward a date where a product will be generally available would be nuts if they decided they didn’t need to work that plan anymore.  That plan includes sales enablement, services enablement, channel readiness, training, marketing, marketing communications, analyst relations all of which should have a series of important dates where deadlines must be met (not just the “launch” date).  So basically I agree that “launch” as a one day only externally facing event doesn’t make sense but as an internal way to describe the integrated set of things involved in bringing a product to market, you are dead without one.

The second piece I’m not comfortable with is the statement that doing a press release is “nuts”.  Not in my world it isn’t.  In fact, now that I can do multi-media and social media press releases, I’m having more success with press releases than I have in years. If Seth is talking about a traditional press release that goes on the wire and only announces “You can come and buy this now”, then I would agree, that is kinda nuts.  But I think smarter companies are moving away from those to something much more informative, interesting and relevant to customers, media and influencers.

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