Google’s Murderous Product Launch Philosophy

In my first “real” programming job I worked at a large healthcare company in Pittsburgh called UPMC.

At the time, Google was making a push into the healthcare market with a product called (what else) Google Health.

And the team I worked on was tasked with building an app to help patients get their UPMC records into Google Health.

I was pretty skeptical of the whole thing—seemed like one of those quagmire ideas that would bog the whole team down for months, sucking our productivity and accomplishing nothing in the end.

Sure enough, 3 months into the project, Google announced it was killing the Google Health initiative.

Google is famous for slaughtering nascent products like this…

Shifting resources from products that are struggling to those that are already successful.

The term they use frequently is:

“More wood behind fewer arrows.”

That’s a useful concept to keep in mind for your marketing as well.

Reader Rich runs, and he’s facing the “too many arrows” quandary:

I publish murder mystery fiction (short stories, novellas and novels) and put out 3-5 new stories a month (or more) from my publishing house.

My biggest question revolves around launching single books and running individual ads or general marketing (whatever method) when I do this several times a month with new titles … and not muddy my market/audience with ads.

The truth of the matter here is, you can’t “launch” that many products every month—

At least not without a huge team and a massive, highly segmented audience.

Here’s how I might tackle this problem:

Starting out, I’d launch 5-10 different books to my audience over the span of a few months.

Of those, 1 or 2 will likely stand out as “fan favorites.”

Then I’d put all my marketing muscle and hustle behind those 1-2 winners.

Get ’em on every publishing platform out there—Amazon, iBooks, Nook, Audible.

Plaster them all over my website and social media accounts.

Promote them to new subscribers on my email list.

Give away copies to book review sites.

Prod readers to leave reviews.

Test and tweak the landing page, product description, and promotional offers.

The idea here is to turn your most attractive offer into a strong “front end” to help you snag as many new customers as possible from your marketing efforts.

Because you’ll get a lot more mileage out of ONE book that forms a solid “anchor” for your entire collection of stories…

Then you will from publishing 50 different books that no one notices.

Beyond that, it’s OK to continue publishing more stories every month.

Put them up on your site for people to browse and buy.

But I’d look to be VERY selective in what you devote time and effort to actually “launching.”

Cherry pick the best of the best and market the heck out of those.

Throw everything you have behind the winners, and let the rest come along for the ride.