There are different kinds of companies when it comes to marketing strategies – those that want to be the first to try something new and those that are content letting others work out the bugs before they step in to a tried and true strategy.

The benefit to being first is you stand out from the crowd and you usually get the best pricing because there is no competition.

The benefit of not being first is you know something works before you try it. There is less risk of getting it wrong, making a mistake, or upsetting your potential customers.

But there is a risk to waiting. And it’s one that not many people will tell you.

Marketing strategies – whether they are new advertising mediums, new ways of following up, messaging, etc. – have a lifecycle. At first, they are brand new and only a few companies are using them. They go through growing pains trying to find their place in the world, getting consumers used to this new concept. Then the good ones start to work really well for the companies that figured out how to make it work. Then other companies come in and drive up the price as consumer acceptance becomes greater.

And finally, every other company comes in, the market becomes oversaturated, the consumer learns to ignore it, the price goes up and performance goes down.

The risk for being late to a new marketing strategy = when everyone starts doing the same thing, the relative effectiveness of that activity goes down.

Let’s use Facebook advertising as an example. At first, very few companies were doing it. There may have been some hiccups, but because they got in early, the prices they paid were much lower and they had more time to optimize their campaigns than other companies who joined up later. As time went on, it got more expensive to advertise on Facebook due to increase competition. Eventually, every company in your market will be advertising on Facebook. And it may still work, but it won’t give you any competitive advantage anymore. You will simply be doing the same thing as everyone else.