New Products (Like the iPhone): Announce Early or Go for the Surprise Rollout?

I love when I find a resource that distills a common strategic question down to a few simple calculations. This article on doesn’t quite get to the paint-by-numbers status, but it does lay out a clear set of topics to consider when thinking about your product launch.

Vaporware or surprise attack?

So often your fortunes are dominated by things you cannot control, having a checklist of things that you can clearly make some predictions around should help minimize risks and allow you to make a decision with confidence.

“It’s not a clear-cut situation,” says Wharton marketing professor Jehoshua Eliashberg. “In pre-announcing, a company lets a competitor know what it’s up to. But what matters more is a company’s position in an industry. If a company is a dominant monopolist, it has reason to pre-announce because it doesn’t fear a competitive reaction. If the company is smaller, the negatives of announcing a product early outnumber the positives.”

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