First Mover Pitfall: Creating a Market, and then Failing to Own it
You hear a lot about the first mover advantage in creating a market – Gillette, Sony, all the classic examples – but what about when the opposite happens?
We’re seeing it more often these days, or perhaps we’re not seeing it, and it’s worth planning for at the outset.
So imagine: you’ve got a great idea.
Software, social media, a better mousetrap, alternative energy, whatever it is. You pour your heart and soul (and finances and energy and countless other sacrifices) into the idea. It’s beautiful. It’s perfect. You’re on top of the world.
Now you set out to market it.
This is a little harder; you know that, because no one has ever seen this before. It’s totally new. You have to educate the market, but it’s a brilliant idea and you’re up for it. This is going to be great. You’re going to change the world.
You do it. You blog, you slog, you sing and you dance.
Everyone needs to understand the amazing benefits of your app, your solution, your mousetrap. And they start to.
You know it’s working, because a few imitators pop up. They’re just ankle-biters. It’s flattering. The world knows that you’re the real deal. Right?
You keep on. Sales are still climbing. It’s all good.
Keep an eye on that bottom line. It’s moving in the right direction. There was a category mention in the New York Times last week! The whole world saw that, right?
Did you keep an eye on the total market, though?
Did you ever size it? Did you notice that since creating a market, the pie that you once occupied solely has gotten a lot bigger? And while your sales or adoption rates are higher than ever, your slice of that growing pie is getting smaller and smaller. The world is a lot bigger than you thought…
A Holistic Marketing approach starts out with the end in mind.
At Macleod & Co. we get that marketing is more than making potential customers aware of your offering. It’s about keeping a watchful eye on that market and every factor that affects it:
- Are you talking to the right prospects? Do they have the means to fulfill your goals?
- How large is the market today? What is the potential in six months? Ask again in another six months.
- What’s your value proposition? Not the category value proposition, what’s your value proposition?
- Is your offering branded? Is it authentic to you? Brands are great protection. Ask any IP attorney. Ask any brand loyalist.
- Spend time mentally “knocking off” your product or breaking into your market. How would you go about it? Be brutal in your assessment and then shore up those holes.
- What market are you a subset of? Get in front of influencers and leaders, make sure they know why yours is the best, even if it’s the only. Find partners.
Creating a market isn’t easy. Don’t let your hard work go to waste.
If your idea is any good, you will have competition. Make sure people know why you’re the best in the business, even before anyone else is there.
We know Holistic Marketing because we’ve executed across verticals, across cultures and across countries.
And we want you to succeed because we think capitalism is a beautiful thing. The world needs it.
About the Author: Tanya Korpi Macleod is the founder of Minneapolis-based Macleod & Co. After more than 25 years of marketing and advertising experience in the U.S. and Europe, Tanya noticed that chasm that often exists between an organization’s theoretical marketing “plan” and its realistic ability to execute it. This led her to pioneer in the concept of “holistic marketing,” which redefines marketing as the complete process of bringing a product, service or company from inception to maximum ongoing profitability. Her mission is to show organizational leaders that a holistic mindset not only promotes a healthier culture, but a more profitable business.