How to skyrocket sales from $20K to $800K with a product launch

An old but efficient framework that proved to start a flywheel effect and generated hundreds of pre-orders.

Ana Bibikova


Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

In 1977 Gary Halbert, the best copywriter of all times, was hired to manage the launch of Tova Perfume. After the launch, the company’s revenue skyrocketed from $20K/month to $800K/ month. The crazy thing — the strategy he used can work wonders even today. What exactly did Gary do?

Talk to your customers. Or someone who has access to them

If you think that product development cycle has improved in the 45 years since the launch of Tova Perfume — you would be too optimistic. Look at dozens of products launched daily on Product Hunt or Twitter. Look at thousands of items listed on that no one buys. The underlying reason for these product’s failure is the same that was in place almost half a century ago — product makers (developers, marketers, designers) did not listen to customer voice while creating new items. Alternatively, they listen — but to the wrong voices.

A quick example from this week: a product designer is setting off to build a better scheduling tool. A competitor for Calendly, Chili Piper and others. A designer wants to play it by the book, so she posts a request on Twitter: if you’re using a tool to schedule your meetings please comment below what you’re unhappy with. She received a bunch of useful comments — how nice it would be to add an automatic block for local holidays, negative ratings for participants who have not shown up, etc. The problem is — most probably, 80% of replies came from people who are on a free plan of the existing tools. Free is the most important feature for them. If a designer wants to monetize her product the first question she should have probably asked participants is “Are you paying for your scheduling tool?” If the answer is “no” — all further comments would be irrelevant. Even if she builds all the features these people are looking for — they are not ready to pay for them.

Almost 50 years ago the process was not very different. Perfume manufacturers were developing complicated formulas to create new products and funded giant R&D departments to come up…