TMBA 124 (TTR13) – The “Never Launch Strategy” – A Profitable Approach to Information Products

TMBA 124 (TTR13) – The “Never Launch Strategy” – A Profitable Approach to Information Products post image

This post’s photo was taken by @AnythingIan not 40 hours ago near Sapa, Vietnam. Do visit if you get a chance.

Hey there weekend warriors! I’m happy to announce that Tropical Talk Radio (iTunes link) will now be a weekly show for entrepreneurs seeking some weekend inspiration. That means I’ll try to get you new episodes by happy hour on Friday evening.

This week I’m joining you from from Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi. Tiger beer (via nearby Singapore) is my unofficial sponsor. If a brand manager is reading this post, why not send me a tank top or something?!

QUICK NEWS: Most of you know we opened up our October Tropical MBA event 24 hours ago to the readers of this blog. We currently have 4 spaces open for the event. If you’d like to join us, I’m hoping you are able to make a decision fast. I’d like to sell these spots so I can get down to business with the crew! If there is anything I can do to help you make a decision, drop me a line Dan at

–> Take one of the final 4 spots of for the October 1st Tropical MBA event.

In this episode I’ll get on my soapbox and offer an alterative to the militaristic “launches” happening around the web.

I’ll also share one of my favorite interviews from the recent Tropical MBA event. My new friend JP recently confirmed he’ll be quitting his job and traveling after having solidly proved his business concept over the past few months. Congrats JP!

Click on this screenshot to subscribe to TTR in iTunes.

Listen to this episode and learn:

  • What most launch gurus just gloss over.
  • How to decide when you are ready to launch your product.
  • Why talking about benefits over features can actually screw up your launch.
  • How to find and cultivate super profitable affiliates.

Get your voice or question on TTR!

Want to be on Tropical Talk Radio? Leave me a message!! It’s easy to do, and if you mess up, you can easily edit your message until you are ready to send it my way.

Quick links:

People on this show:

Episode length: 27:39

Subscribe to Tropical Talk Radio by clicking this link.

If you don’t like iTunes, here’s the MP3 file–> [DOWNLOAD MP3]

Cheers and have a great weekend,


PS, you can get on my private mailing list by putting your email in the form below:


Published on 07.13.12
  • Dan,
    I think we should clarify the benefit/feature issue you brought up. Old school direct response says give the feature then explain the benefit. You can’t assume the reader will know the benefit of that feature. Then you use a hook to tie the whole product offering together.

    I think what you’re talking about is the new marketing trend of trying to put lipstick on a pig. They have a crappy product and don’t have features to talk about, but still want to sell it so they talk about how cool it is.

  • Also…
    Insanely great advice from JP. Start a biz where you have some advantage or knowledge. I’m turning that into a blog post.

  • Mark J

    You had me when you posted the image of Tiger Beer.

  • JakeReed

    Awesome podcast. Especially love the farmer analogy. Check out Jack Spirko’s series on permaculture principles for business and the 8 forms of capital.

  • Very happy tropical talk radio is back on the air!

  • Loved this podcast. I’ve been thinking along these lines recently and came up with a sowing technique just like you described.

    I think there’s a huge correlation between lucid dreaming and meditation, so I’m going to head of to the holy city of Varanasi in the future to learn meditation from a master. I’m going to meditate for many hours each day, as well as lucid dream as much as possible.

    I’m going to set something up where people can pre-order the book, and I’m going to be sending out progress reports to my list once per week which hopefully makes people sign up. So over all the launch happens over an 8 month period.

    I absolutely love the idea of a weekend podcast and look forward to adding it to my schedule.

  • Oh no, you’ve been conleyized.

    I actually agree with Dan on this. I relate to the idea of explaining what you do clearly as opposed to focusing on benefits from the outset. This message of focusing on benefits is everywhere and always gets muddled for me, I think when you break most businesses down the fundamental benefits are often the same – i.e. think any marketing company or web company or design company or consultant or coach the benefit is ‘I get you more customers’ right? Well great but WTF do you do? I get you more customers by building a high converting website? Then the next company gets you more customers by helping you build a strong brand. And the next one gets you more customers by increasing your personal productivity or whatever.

    I would personally rather you tell me that you build websites that convert 60% above industry standards (I can join the dots on the customer thing). I don’t know if that’s just me or if there are a lot of people who just appreciate some straight talk on what a product does and can work out the rest for themselves?

  • Andrew

    I love the part about benefits vs. features. One thing I would add is that benefits are often subjective and can drastically differ from one person to another. If you try to define the benefits very concretely, you might only see it from one perspective and miss many of the actual benefits in the eyes of the consumer. Features are a little more concrete. By focusing more on features you allow the consumer to see the product (or service) as it is, and define the benefit as they see fit (since, after all, benefits are fairly personal). For example, some people buy $200 jeans because they’re comfortable, while others buy them because they’re stylish or because they think it’ll impress their peers. If you try to layout all these benefits to all consumers, you might turn some of them off. You don’t necessarily want to pitch the ‘impress’ piece to someone who cares primarily about comfort, and vice-versa. By focusing more on features, you can avoid this and allow the consumer to see their own individual benefits.

  • Steven Moody

    It would depend on the product, right? A new technology must emphasize benefits, while a clone should spend more time on differentiation. Are you competing with a similar product, or competing with doing nothing?

  • Just want to say congrats JP. Was good talking to you after you got done with TMBA. Glad to see you made the choice to ditch the job. Good luck brother, but your not going to need it.

  • Dan, I think that’s what I said. Tell what, then why. You may say you don’t want the why, but don’t use the why and see your conversions stay low.

    The reason I say to give the feature and then explain the benefit is that it works and will continue to work as long as human nature stays basically the way it is.

    I have seen a lot of IM products in the last few years that don’t have features because there aren’t any, but that doesn’t invalidate the way a sales message should be presented.

    Even the TropicalMBA uses benefits in it’s sales letters.

  • +1

  • One problem with most people and how they explain benefits is that they just list the benefit… as if that’s the main selling factor.

    I agree with Tim, but with an addition (actually, after looking above, I think this is what you are saying Tim? Tell them how the benefit will come about.). Tell them the feature, then explain what the feature gets them, then explain HOW it gets it for them.

    If you just throw out benefits, people are loathe to believe you, especially if you’re saying the same thing as everyone else. But what if you took the feature and walked the visitor through the exact process of how he would actually get the benefit? You’d authenticate the benefit and gain an instant advantage over people that just throw out benefits.

    For example, rather than say “If you buy this car, you’ll gain instant prestige”, say “This car was designed with the ultimate luxury in mind… From the premium-leather-clad seats to the incredible design… it screams luxury and exclusivity… and when you step behind the wheel of this car, all the luxury… exclusivity… and prestige are transferred to you… which means people will naturally associate you with only the best… without even thinking.”

    This is a quick, amateur example… but when you walk someone through the benefits in a logical way, you give them more reason to believe.

    Also, it depends on the type of traffic / audience. Some types of traffic will be ready to buy, and will be turned off my pages of copy… For example, when I buy a computer, I don’t particularly care about the benefits… I care about the specs… or the features. How much RAM, GBs, etc, etc.

  • Dan

    It was really cool to meet JP. That guy moves at his own speed and is going to be successful at whatever he choses to do. Very cool story for the first TMBA!

  • Dan

    Andrew, that’s definitely the tree I was barking up. This can especially be the case when you are first working with a product or a market, maybe in your first few years. I’ve seen marketers recently put out compelling products, but forget to be clear about the features and fudged the benefit talk with lame-o vague-o benefit clusters that fell flat.

  • Dan

    Cheers Jamie thanks for tuning in! Heading to a holy city as a business trip sounds pretty badass to me.

  • Dan


  • Dan

    I’m on it Jake, thanks for the link.

  • Dan

    I’m thinking of sponsoring these TTR’s with a beverage every week.

  • Dan

    I totally dig that as well.

  • Dan

    right, but direct response pre-supposes that your audience hasn’t been cultivated for a period of time, so the chances your audience doesn’t understand the benefits of features, assuming you’ve been talking/writing about it for months, is lower.

    I am also talking about the pig thing as well here as well, the primary point is that I’ve seen new to intermediate marketers be very clumsy with the power of direct response maxims, but I agree if people were to focus on more down to earth simple feature->simple benefit correlation they’d be better of.

    this discussion would be better served with a whole show and real examples, but i’m glad i didn’t tie it up because i’m getting a chance to learn from you guys here!

  • Dan

    Yeah that makes a lot of sense to me. The broader issue at play here is legibility. By clumsily wielding ‘super benefit-benefits’ many marketers render their products illegible. John’s example above makes his features->benefit->benefit highly legible, so that’s probably the broader concern here. Floating benefits (without clear features as roots like Tim pointed out) can often be baffling. I like your idea here too of anchoring your product to other concepts that your target market understands, and then just being clear about what’s different.

  • Dan Kennedy explained something about audiences years ago. He changed a sales letter that he sent to his subscribers that didn’t have his story in it.

    Previously, everything he sent out had his story of how he was the guy they should be listening to, but he figured that these people he was mailing knew who he was so he left it out.

    His sales tanked. He realized that the only change was his story was missing. He added it back in and resent the letter. Sales exploded.

    Even when dealing with people who “know” you, your story and your products, you still need to cover it again to remind them at the time of purchase when they may be a bit unsure why they should be buying from you at this time.

    When people are buying, especially high ticket items, they need all the reassurance they can get including what benefits they’ll get from the features of the product and from the people behind the product.

  • I drill benefits with my copy clients, mostly because it puts them in the mind of a buyer rather than the mind of the creator. The creator knows the features of their products, however they don’t always think about why someone would buy. Which makes their sales letters sound like shit because they are only focusing on themselves rather than their audience. That comes through in not only their copy but their pitch in general. They don’t care – they aren’t invested.

    I can’t stand any sales approach that uses one or the other instead of both. Maybe it’s because I “know too much” about what goes in to those pitches. I want to know what I’m getting and I want to be sold to like my purchase matters. For example, I bought an overnight train ticket in Thailand because of the pitch on the site: “You can purchase a flight ticket, get to Bangkok, find your hotel, pay for the night, take the time to unpack and settle in – or you can upgrade your train ticket to stay overnight in our private first-class air conditioned sleeper cabins and save both money and time. You fall sleep on the train in Chiang Mai and wake up in Bangkok, not missing any time from your travel.” Boom. Features and benefits. Sold.

    And a pretty comfy nights’ sleep with ear plugs and a sleep mask, if I do say so myself. :)

  • Mustafa_Khalifa

    Loving the Easy-E finish…

  • Justin Miramontes

    Hell ya, me too. That set the tone for my entire week! I’ve been jammin to Eazy E all week, can’t believe it’s already Friday again.

  • JP

    Thanks for the encouragement guys! Thanks especially to Dan, Ian, Tim, John, Elissa, Dave & all the other DC’ers at the Tropical MBA who helped me start this new business. Could not have come up with the great customer focused copy, video, & marketing without you guys.

    Also, Tropical MBA was totally the turning point for me! Meeting this amazing community of people, learning a TON from them, & being inspired… I feel like Popeye discovering a spinach farm! Freakin’ PUMPED!

  • Dan

    haha cheers JP, it was a pleasure to work with you

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