Being First to Market Does Not Make You Win the Race

This is a blog by Mark Verzijl, Consultant at Sciential.

How to establish your brand as a believable alternative to that well-known competitor? An identifiable struggle for many life science marketers. Even in the bluest of oceans, there is this big fish that has beat you to market. And they are always one step ahead. Or are they?

Research has shown that consumers think products/services with unique attributes are more likely to belong to latecomers than to the first entrant in a market. Even if a first entrant has unique attributes, consumers are more likely to attribute them to latecomers. After all, we all know Google and forgot about W3Catalog, JumpStation and Aliweb.

𝐏𝐒𝐨𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐫 π›π«πšπ§ππ¬ 𝐯𝐬. 𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐀𝐞𝐭 π₯𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐬
Sometimes it is better to be the first to enter a market and in other cases, it is not. But why is that? Both entry positions have advantages and disadvantages. Researchers studied the characteristics that latecomers must have to beat first-time brands and defined three key findings. A first finding is that consumers approach so-called pioneer brands ("early entrants") more critically than brands that enter the market later. Secondly, consumers attribute generic/standard product associations more to the 'pioneer brand' than to late entrants. Finally, researchers conclude that consumers associate unique product characteristics more strongly with brands appearing later in the market.

Basically, the characteristics of the pioneer brand are almost automatically attributed to late entrants – furthermore, the latter also bring their own, unique characteristics into the fray. Overall, latecomer brands are evaluated more positively than first movers. So my advice to life science marketers is to be conscious of the favourable effects of being later to market and capitalize on that position.


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