What Jeff Bezos Can Teach You About Launches, by Jim Walker
You may have seen the news about Jeff Bezos’ rocket taking off into space and then successfully landing back on Earth. Although Amazon Prime members can’t get their orders delivered by a rocket (at least not yet), they may soon get the chance to fly into low orbit, powered by one of Blue Origin’s New Shepard rockets.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Bezos and Blue Origin have approached transforming rocket launches in much the same way he’s transformed digital marketing. As the Amazon founder prepares to send his customers into space for the ultimate travel experience, here are three launch strategies you can put to work, whether you are launching rockets or launching a new brand.
1) Step by Step, Experimentally
Blue Origin’s motto is Gradatim Ferociter, which translates as “step by step, ferociously.” Ferocious is a great word when trying to leave earth’s orbit, but a slightly more grounded motto for marketers might be Gradatim Experimentis, or “step by step, experimentally.”
Whether you are launching a rocket, or launching a marketing automation platform, rigorous testing and experimentation is essential before, during, and after launch. According to the Blue Origin site, “the elements of the New Shepard system are being tested extensively, both on the ground and during uncrewed test flights. From vibration tables and thermal chambers to hundreds of engine firings, these tests stress the vehicles and all of their subsystems.”
Does your brand team do hundreds of rigorous tests of before launch? Have you tested all the various sub-components of your campaign to make sure nothing goes awry during the actual launch? Does your brand do any testing? It’s true that rigorous testing can be expensive, but it is much less costly than having a launch strategy that veers off course.
2) Simplify, Simplify, Simplify
The man responsible for bringing one-click ordering to the web is looking to make space travel almost as simple. “The holy grail of rockets is full reuse,” Bezos said. “And that’s what we have demonstrated–so now there is an existence of proof that it can be done.” According to their site, Blue Origin is focused on simplifying every aspect of space travel, especially reusing what already works. “Reusability allows us to fly the system again and again. With each flight, we’ll continuously improve the affordability of space exploration and research, opening space for all.”
Even their choice of rocket fuel has been simplified: “Liquefied natural gas is commercially available, affordable, and highly efficient for spaceflight. Unlike other rocket fuels, such as kerosene, liquefied natural gas can be used to pressurize a rocket’s propellant tanks. This is called autogenous pressurization and eliminates the need for costly and complex pressurization systems, like helium. Liquefied natural gas also leaves no soot byproducts as kerosene does, simplifying engine reuse.”
For marketers in the midst of a launch strategy, adopting a simplified one-click mindset, and focusing on reusing what already has been proven and tested, can provide a powerful boost for quickly taking the brand into orbit.
3) Scale From Little to Big
New Shepard, the first rocket Blue Origin has developed, has a relatively simple flight mission — send a small six-person crew into space for a few minutes before returning them safely to Earth via parachute. However, this initial program is laying the foundation for far more ambitious programs.
According to Bezos, “We continue to be big fans of the vertical takeoff, vertical landing architecture. We chose VTVL because it’s scalable to very large size. We’re already designing New Shepard’s sibling, her Very Big Brother — an orbital launch vehicle that is many times New Shepard’s size and is powered by our 550,000-lbf thrust liquefied natural gas, liquid oxygen BE-4 engine.”
The takeaway is that the Blue Origin design team is applying learnings from New Shepard to it’s “big brother.” For brand marketers, the analogous approach is to launch regional campaigns and segmented pilot programs in which ideas and content can be tested. Then, as useful learnings and insights are gathered, programs can be scaled up, applying the full thrust of nationwide promotion and launch.
Regardless of how big of a launch you are managing, the strategies applied by Bezos and Blue Origin to open the frontiers of space can help accelerate your brand to new heights. As you prepare for your own rocket ride of a launch, be sure to keep these three launch strategies clearly marked on your flight plan at all times!
This post was originally published on the Digitally Cognizant Blog