June 13, 2022 | Posted by: Outside Labs

That line came from the book titled “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing”, and it was given to me when I took my first marketing job at IBM a few years back.

Although the book was first published in the 1990s by a couple of famous marketing strategists, I still find it useful when working with our early-stage and high-growth tech clients.

The quote above is the first of their “immutable laws” – The Law of Leadership. And the authors explain that it’s much easier to get into the mind first than try to convince someone you’re better than the company who actually was the first.

Think about it. Can you name the second person to run a mile in under 4 minutes or the second person to climb Mt. Everest? Or how about the second cryptocurrency brand? It’s not that being second isn’t an amazing accomplishment, but most of us can only remember the first in any of these categories. 

Being first or best-in-class isn’t easy when you have a group of capable competitors. If you are, that’s great! Just make sure you work your arse off to stay there. If not, think about creating a new category that you can be first in, which is advice still followed today as we see new product categories emerge all the time.

So if you’re running a new or growing company, think about how you can position your offering as something new… different than what existed before. Double down on what makes you different, so you can separate yourself even more from the competition. Create a category and build on it.

Staking a position and marketing yourself as the leader in an existing or an entirely new category is not only going to be more memorable than marketing another “me too” product, but this is exactly what the press and industry analysts want to write about.

We help our clients do that all the time with our public relations and analyst relations team. Nobody wants to write about something marginally better…they want to write about something new and unique.

Being average isn’t going to get much attention in a crowded market. To be remembered, you need to be a leader. Be first or be best.

Visit our Services page to learn more about how we can help position your growing company for success.


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