The First to Market Myth

Sequels usually suck. But if anything, one redeeming factor from the "Get Shorty" sequel called "Be Cool" offered a line that is nothing short of profound.

Chili Palmer, John Travolta’s character pulls up in a hybrid Toyota Prius, and Danny DeVito’s character Martin Weir comments: "But what about speed?" To that Chili coolly replies:

"If you’re important, they’ll wait."

This is not a good review of a "whatever" movie; instead it is an insight that most startups in the "first to market" race often miss. The context of where they compete.

In rush to get to market, a lot of companies forget why they are rushing in the first place. In a connected world, your customers are looking for you and not the other way around. Their expectations are high, and as much as you can give them, they expect more. From you or your competition, it doesn’t matter. That’s the reality.

The only reasonable solution for a marketer is to build authentic relationships with their customers. Not positioning hype, not over-promised emotional connectors, not anything that is short of what the brand experience is actually capable of delivering. To deliver that, requires more than just a slick marketing effort, it requires careful orchestration of marketing, innovation and operations with sustainable satisfaction for all involved.

That takes time.

Gone are the days where you can just throw something out there with no infrastructure to respond to price wars, logistics, or sustainability mechanisms to weather storms while others play predatory or parasitic tricks on your brand. And that’s just dealing with competition!

Truth is, a systemic, connected brand is more than what initially appears on the surface. It must take into account longevity and sustainable innovation practices before it rolls out. The iPod took it’s own sweet time while MP3 players tested the waters for them in the marketplace, so did a host of other amazing innovations we marvel at today. That’s what it takes to be great, and that’s far more important than being first. To reiterate Chili Palmer’s words:

"If you’re important, they’ll wait."

1 Responses to “The First to Market Myth”

  1. # Anonymous DK

    Great post - (read through my rss aggregator)...have no response but an agreeing head-nod while i read.  

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