Selling 100,000 of anything is difficult. It is the game of creating hits. This is a game a lot of dreamers pursue. It is completely possible to sell 100,000 books or apps. However, there are more losers than winners.
We all see the hit books and the iPhone Angry Birds downloads. They are an outcome of hard work, luck and market timing for writers and software developers. Becoming these hits is one way to success.
However, I would also point out that the volume makes up for the low cost. These are low dollar items which require high demand markets.
A High Fidelity Strategy
In the book, Trade-Off: Why Some Things Catch On And Others Don’t, Kevin Maney outlines the path to success he has witnessed empirically across various businesses and industries. He outlines an X-Y graph with the x-axis composed of “high convenience” and the y-axis for “high fidelity”. Convenience is the ease of acquiring something. Cost and distribution are examples of means for high convenience items.
High fidelity, on the other hand, is the overall experience of something. Mercedes, Bose and Tiffany’s makes products that are high fidelity. They have cachet and offer a deep customer and brand experience validating a high price point.
Books and apps are in one sense a high convenience play. They are low cost and can be acquired easily with Amazon and the Apple App Store. I can understand how people are attracted to these strategies as an end in themselves.
However, we live in a world where high convenience items do not have much staying power. Barriers to entry are low and the internet pushes pricing and value down quickly.
Consider another strategy. Reposition books and apps as part of a high fidelity sale. The price point for a book or app is so low that you will gain an audience. At a free price point, it can drive a higher amount of interest.
Repositioning the value to set up a high fidelity sale is a different game with a higher reward. It takes a lot more care, work and design. However, one ten-thousand dollar sale is easier to manage and hone in on as a target than ten thousand sales of a $0.99 app. In the former, you can build a relationship with a specific set of customers with an attention to the experience.
My encouragement is to consider the strategy of repositioning commodities to become part of something more valuable. In the process, you are creating more value instead of playing for being the low cost winner.
How could your approach change with such an approach?