By, Adam Vasquez, Founder & CEO at Merit.
There are a million books out there offering advice on marketing strategies, sales, and advertising. And much of the advice isn’t terrible for what it is. Most of those authors — like the majority in any industry — think in terms of the legacy market.
Here’s the problem: despite good intentions and brilliant strategizing, they’re trying to help you grow within an existing framework. And that framework is likely dominated by one or two gigantic companies that, simply put, you will never beat at their own game.
Sure — hustle your butt off in the bloodbath of the legacy market, and you very well may see marginal increases in your market share. But how many real-life examples have you seen of people using textbook advertising to go from nobody to market leader?
If you’re like me, zero. Market leadership takes way more than just marketing. It takes Market Invention — which means articulating and solving a unique consumer pain or desire by creating not just a new offering, but a new ecosystem for that offering to live and grow in.
Inventing a market means that you’ll not only be educating people about your product or service, but that you’ll be able to educate them on why the old ways of thinking no longer cut it and why the old market is obsolete. Instead of engaging in the timeless battle of “our widget is better than their widget,” you get to ask “why would you even want a widget anymore?” See how much bigger that is than marketing?
Think about it: how do companies like Apple, Peloton, Tesla, Salesforce, Chobani, Amazon, Gatorade, and Oracle manage to dominate their markets? Is it because they have better advertising than everyone else?
I would argue the answer to that is a clear no. Is it likely that Polestar, Volvo’s new electric brand, will overtake Tesla with some clever ads? It’s hard to imagine because even with a bigger global footprint and huge marketing dollars, Volvo is playing the game on Tesla’s terms.
Why on Tesla’s terms? Because they invented their market. They created our expectations and shaped the way we think about the industry — just like Google, Walmart, Venmo, Nike, Coke, and so many of the brands we consider the gold standard in their space.
I repeat: market leadership goes way beyond marketing. It goes beyond the quality of the product, financial practices, and executive leadership. Of course, those are all important, but what sets market inventors apart is the way they create and popularize new markets — and then grow and dominate those markets with relentless innovation.
I wrote Toothfish to explore Market Invention as the fundamental law of commerce. It’s not another marketing guidebook or theory of business strategy. Instead, it uncovers the true reason why market leaders enjoy a majority of the revenue and profits while everyone else fights for second place. Toothfish will guide you through how Market Invention works step-by-step and share real-world examples, past and present, so you can learn from their subversive strategies and incredible breakthroughs.
So stop playing the industry games. Stop settling for second place. Stop building a brand — and start inventing a market. You will never look at your business (or your competition) in the same way again once you understand the unstoppable force of Market Invention.