Product Launch Vs. Feature Launch

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This article will discuss the major differences between a product and a feature launch.

Have you ever updated your preferred app and found a whole new feature that just makes your life easier? Or perhaps you have seen how quickly a brand-new product has taken off and gained a lot of attention. These are two essential tools in the toolbox of a product developer: feature launches and product launches.

They create product development and excitement, but they have different target audiences and call for different approaches. Consider providing a feature launch, like adding a tasty new dish to the menu, for your existing customers. Launching a product is like hosting a celebration for a brand-new restaurant.


A Product Launch

  • Introduces a completely new product to the market.
  • Focuses on the entire product.
  • Requires extensive marketing to a broad audience.
  • Examples: launching a new smartphone or a completely new software application.

A Feature Launch:

  • Introduces a new functionality or improvement to an existing product.
  • Focuses on the new feature.
  • Requires targeted communication with existing users.
  • Examples:  Adding a photo editing feature to a social media app, introducing a two-factor authentication system for increased security, or integrating a food delivery service with a restaurant management platform.

Making your decision

  • Impact: How significant is the change? Big changes deserve big launches!
  • Target Audience: Who are you trying to reach? New products need broader marketing, while features can target existing users.
  • Resources: Product launches often require more manpower and a larger marketing budget.

What is a Product Launch?

A product launch consists of all the coordinated steps in a company’s plan to bring a product to market. It entails much more than just releasing the product to the customer.

For example, a product launch may include pre-launch market research and messaging to the company’s target audience. It also entails creating strategies for user onboarding and training the support personnel to assist users when the product is live.

What is a Feature Launch?

A feature launch adds new capabilities or improves an existing product. This might be a new button, an improved algorithm, or integration with another platform. 

While feature launches may include some marketing activities, the primary focus is on existing users and how the new function improves their overall experience. 

How do Product Launches and Feature Launches Differ?

Even while their goals are similar (to spark curiosity and growth), they are aimed at different audiences and call for different strategies.

Product LaunchFeature Launch
1. Product launches require extensive planning across various departments (marketing, sales, and development).1. Feature launches involve less upfront planning, focusing on user needs and internal communication.
2. Product launches target a new audience and aim to acquire new customers.2. Feature launches target existing users, aiming to increase engagement and satisfaction
3. Product launch success is measured by metrics like website traffic, customer acquisition cost (CAC), and early sales figures3.  Feature launch success is measured by user adoption rate, user feedback, and impact on relevant KPIs related to the feature’s purpose.
4. Product launches require building the product itself and establishing infrastructure.4.  Feature launches need to integrate seamlessly with the existing user experience, potentially involving onboarding or updated documentation.
5. Product launches aim for broad awareness and excitement, utilizing diverse marketing channels.5. Feature launches focus on targeted communication with existing users through in-app messaging, blog posts, or email campaigns.

Let’s take an example:

The Dropbox Launch

In 2007, Dropbox introduced a revolutionary product – a simple yet powerful cloud storage solution. This was a classic product launch:

  • Focus: The entire Dropbox app was the star. It provided a creative way to save and view files from anywhere with an internet connection, which was fresh and interesting to many people. 
  • Marketing Strategy: Dropbox’s launch relied heavily on marketing and user acquisition strategies. They offered generous referral bonuses, encouraging existing users to spread the word and attract new users. 
  • Target Audience: The target audience was broad, encompassing anyone who needed a convenient way to store and share files online. Students, professionals, and casual users alike were customers.

Keeping Users Engaged: Feature Launches for Dropbox

Today, cloud storage is a crowded space. However, Dropbox continues to innovate through strategic feature launches:

  • 2013: Selective Sync: A valuable feature launched that allowed users to choose which folders to sync locally to their devices, saving storage space and improving performance. This feature addressed a growing concern about managing storage capacity on devices.
  • 2019: Dropbox Paper: A more strategic feature launch. Instead of just adding functionality to the core storage app, Dropbox launched a whole new app within its ecosystem – Dropbox Paper, a collaborative document editing tool. This broadened their product offering and catered to the increasing demand for real-time document collaboration.

Key Takeaways from Dropbox’s Launches:

  • Product launches introduce entirely new software applications, often relying on viral marketing and user acquisition strategies to reach a broad audience.
  • Feature launches focus on adding new functionalities or capabilities to existing apps, addressing user needs, and keeping them engaged. They might involve targeted communication with existing user bases.

How does Faqprime help with your Feature Launches?

Faqprime can help with your feature launches in a variety of ways:

1. Pre-Launch User Education:

  • Knowledge base inside the app: You may use Faqprime to build a thorough and searchable knowledge base inside your application. You can describe the new feature’s advantages and usage here. This lessens the workload for your support staff during the launch and gives users the freedom to learn about the feature at their own speed.
  • Personalized Onboarding Tours: Using Faqprime, you can create focused product onboarding tours that walk consumers through the new feature’s features. Users are guaranteed to learn about the new feature and comprehend its value proposition thanks to this tailored approach.

2. Launch Day and Beyond:

  • Smart Search and FAQs: Implement Faqprime’s smart search functionality to ensure users can easily find answers to their questions about the new feature within your app. This reduces user frustration and keeps them engaged with the new functionality.
  • Targeted In-App Notifications: Create targeted in-app notifications using Faqprime to announce the launch of the new feature and showcase its key benefits. This generates excitement and encourages users to explore the new functionality.

3. Enhanced User Experience:

  • Enhanced User Self-Service: You can lower the number of support tickets you receive and enhance the user experience by providing users with easily accessible resources through Faqprime’s knowledge base and FAQs. This allows users to independently find answers to frequently asked questions about the new feature.
  • Feedback and Features Adoption Monitoring: Faqprime can provide insights into user behavior and identify any pain points or confusion related to the new feature. 

By strategically implementing Faqprime’s functions, you can improve the user experience with the new function, and raise adoption rates during feature launches. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much planning goes into each type of launch?

Both require careful planning, but the intensity differs. A product launch demands extensive planning like market research, competitor analysis, product development, marketing campaigns, and sales strategies.

Feature launches typically involve less upfront planning. However, they still require clear goals, user research, communication plans, and potentially some level of marketing.

2. How do I know if a new addition is a product or a feature?

The level of novelty is a key factor. A product is entirely new, offering a distinct value proposition. A feature, however, builds upon the existing product’s foundation by adding functionality or improving the user experience.

If the addition significantly changes the offering or targets a completely new user segment, it’s likely a product. If it enhances the existing experience for current users, it’s more likely a feature.

3. Should I build hype for a feature launch? If so, how much?

Building some excitement can be helpful for a feature launch. However, the level of hype should be proportionate to the feature’s impact. Overhyping a minor feature can lead to user disappointment.

Focus on highlighting the value proposition and how the feature improves the user experience. 

4. How do I integrate a new feature launch with the existing user experience?

A smooth transition is important. Consider user onboarding for the new feature, clear in-app notifications and tutorials, and potentially updating user guides or help documentation.

User testing beforehand can help identify any potential friction points and ensure the new feature feels intuitive within the existing user experience.

5. How frequently should new features be released?

There isn’t a universal solution. Strike a balance between providing people with fresh features that keep them interested and not overburdening them with updates. To choose a cadence that is appropriate for your product and user base, examine user reviews and feature usage data.

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