It’s unnerving to see an uber-cool new application, perfect for what you want to get done in your company, only to realize it really doesn’t exist. Call it Vaporware 2.0 in this age of 2.0-isms. I prefer to call it product management by press release.
Blogs and Wikis don’t have a "BS filter" on them yet, so ultra uber-cool software apps get blasted all over the Web as if they were real. The trouble is of the ones I’ve looked at this week from their press releases really don’t exist yet.
Wondering how effective of a strategy this is, I found the paper New Product Preannouncements and Shareholder Value: Don't Make Promises You Can't Keep written by Alina Sorescu, Venkatesh Shankar, Tarun Kushwaha, and published in the Journal of Marketing Research published in August, 2007. The authors found that:
- Specificity or how content-laded the updates are turn out to be irrelevant. It is rather how frequently the status of the pre-announced product is updated.
- Pre-announcing new products with little if any product specifics and a vague launch date kill sales before the product ever gets out. No one believes a vague product announcement without detailed specs and a launch date that seems realistic.
- The commitment of having a large new product introduction does not matter to prospects. It is meaningless to prospects waiting for the promised products. Instead, the track record of the company in fulfilling previous launch dates is what matters most.
- Vague product strategies long-term kill more sales than they make. Common sense yet it is amazing from the research how many companies practice this.
Call all this common sense. It would be great to have a BS Filter on press releases and product announcements to see what’s real or not. That would save lots of people lots of time.