Soft Launch vs Hard Launch – What Is Better To Choose In 2023

The terms Soft Launch Vs Hard Launch are used when discussing the introduction of a new product or service in a market. Both of these methods have their own advantages and disadvantages, and it is imperative to understand the difference between them in order to determine the best strategy for launching your new product or service.

What is a Soft Launch?

What is a Soft Launch

A soft launch is the initial introduction of a product or service done in a small or limited market. It allows a business to test the market and product without spending too many resources, to ensure that the quality of the product or service is sufficient for a larger launch. In other words, a soft launch is a pre-marketing strategy that involves launching a product or service in small scale so that a business can learn from the experience before taking a larger risk.


Purpose of a Soft Launch

Companies that choose to do a soft launch decide to release a product or service in a single city or region or may limit the offering to a specific type of customers. They may also decide to release the product for a certain or limited period of time. The goal of a soft launch is to test the product or service and get feedback from users, and to modify the product or service before going for a hard launch.

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Benefits of a Soft Launch

Soft Launching has many advantages. Listed below are few of them:

  • Soft launching allows a company to test the market and product and get feedback before investing a lot of time, energy and money.
  • A soft launch is low-cost and gives you an opportunity to get real-world feedback before moving forward with a product on a larger scale.
  • It helps to determine the best pricing and marketing strategy before launching a product or service to a wider audience. It helps understanding what price points customers are willing to pay and what marketing strategies work best.
  • There are not much sales expectations to meet compared to a hard launch.
  • It builds excitement and anticipation for the product or service.
  • It prepares the brand and the customers for the official launch of that product.
  • A soft launch is particularly useful for younger companies with limited resources.

Disadvantages of Soft Launching

Following are the disadvantages of soft launching:

  • Soft launching provides valuable information, however, this information may not be as accurate as the data received from a hard launch.
  • Soft launching may damage the reputation of the product or service. If the product or service is not executed properly for customers, its reputation will be negatively impacted.
  • It may be difficult to coordinate for a company that only wants to release their product or service at a single location and time.

What is a Hard Launch?

What is a Hard Launch

A hard launch is the public and official introduction of a new product or service in the market. It is a more comprehensive launch that introduces a product or service to a larger and wider audience. Unlike a soft launch, a hard launch marketing lasts longer.


How is Hard launching done?

Companies that choose to do a hard launch typically announce the product or service to the public through ads or other means of marketing. They may launch a single product or service or launch multiple products or services at the same time. The goal of a hard launch is to increase the exposure of the product or service and catch the attention of a larger audience.

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Advantages of Hard Launching

A Hard launch has following advantages:

  • It allows a company to introduce a product or service to a wider audience.
  • It helps generate anticipation for a product or service in the market.
  • It can help reach a larger customer base quickly and bring more and more customers.
  • A soft launch often has low cost and low commitment; however, a hard launch can be more cost effective in some situations.

Disadvantages of a Hard Launch

Followings are some of the disadvantages of hard launching a product:

  • It may be more time consuming and may take longer to reach a wider audience compared to a soft launch.
  • It may require more money and resources along with intense planning and development. While a soft launch is low cost, a hard launch mostly requires more funds and resources along with publicity and marketing campaigns.
  • It can increase the risk of damaging the reputation of the product or service. If the product or service does not live up to the expectations of customers, it would damage the reputation of the company in addition to massive loss of resources.
  • It is harder to coordinate a hard launch as compared to a soft launch.
  • A hard launch can generate competition from other brands and products.

Soft vs Hard launch: What  to choose?

Multiple factors dictate whether a soft or hard launch will be more suitable. If your product is backed by a recognized brand, product/service has high competition and chances of being copied, and budget is adequate, you should consider a hard launch. On the contrary, one must consider a soft launch when the product/service does not have a popular brand to back it up, resources are limited, or when the company is unsure of how well their product will perform in the market.


Conclusion

A soft launch is used to introduce a product or service to a smaller audience in order to test the product in the market, whereas a hard launch is used to introduce a product or service to a wider and larger audience. While both methods are great ways of launching a product or service, understanding both marketing strategies is an important prerequisite for businesses to run successfully.

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