Apple’s iPhone 5 Launch: Small Business Lessons on a Product Launch

Since Apple’s launch of the iPhone 5 on September 21st, Apple has sold over 5 million phones and has sold out of their initial supply. That’s 1.2 million phones per day.  It was announced on September 12, 2012, and was released on September 21 – ten days. Our small businesses may not have the national spotlight that Apple enjoys, but we can gather the attention necessary to successfully launch a new product or service in our own corner with planning and attention to detail. Apple carefully choreographs every step of a product launch, and small business owners should do the same.

1. Any successful launch begins with your strong reputation. If you have customers and clients who have come to rely on your expertise, they are more likely to listen to what you have to say. The stronger your reputation, the fewer messages needed to convert your market to paying customers. If your reputation is less than you’d like it to be, start by cleaning that up, first.

2. Create intrigue in your customer base. Apple “leaks” tidbits of information well ahead of the official announcement to build a “buzz”. Drop hints so that your customers and prospects are curious and will pay attention to upcoming announcements from you. Don’t be afraid to make an announcement before you have the details sorted out about something “exciting” that’s coming. I guarantee that if you make a public announcement, you will push through any procrastination and get the nitty-gritty done! 

3. Depending upon the financial or time investment required for your product or service, begin seeding three to four weeks before launch. Remember, you are only “hinting” at what is to come. For a launch the size of the iPhone 5, Apple began seeding approximately 10-12 weeks prior to launch.

4. In the coming weeks (see timeline below), provide prospects with more and more details, always keeping in mind what they want, not just what they need. Credible rumors of a thinner profile and bigger screen kept Apple consumers interested and talking about the product. Vary your presentation as much as possible; consider all social media avenues in written, audio and video formats. If appropriate, use direct mail or personal contact.

5. For service offerings or an event, open registration within a week of availability or of the event. Most customers will “pull the trigger” within the last 48 hours, so don’t get discouraged if early numbers are low. Your customers have a lot on their minds and companies vying for their attention are everywhere. 


Smaller product/service launch: 


It’s fascinating to watch Apple and they are a prime, albeit enormous, example to follow. Be consistent in your message, reinforce your brand continuously and trust yourself when it comes to your brand.

– Helen Dutton, Business Coach

Tags: ,

Trackback from your site.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.
Helen Dutton, A Vision of Your Own, has provided business and personal coaching for small business owners since 2000, providing online and face to face coaching for entrepreneurs, small business owners, start-up businesses as well as established businesses across the country. Clients come from New Hampshire, her home state, but she has also acted as a mentor to business owners in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, the Denver area, and closer to home in the Boston area. Helen helps her clients develop their small business ideas, create marketing plans, improve operation efficiency, build customer service systems, build management and leadership skills, and develop confidence as a business owner. Helen provides business tips and resources through her blog and her newsletter, where you can also find business templates to help your business prosper.