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Market timing refers to the entry point at which you introduce your product to the market.  In order to enter the market at the right time you have to consider the entry point (Early or Late), time of year, location, consumer readiness,  competitors and lifecycle.


There are two main points at which you can introduce a product into the market, early or late. 


Early(Pioneer):  The early entry point means that you will be the first to introduce a new product to the market.  There are many examples of this such as IBM introducing the PC,  Apple introducing the iPhone, Ford introducing the automobile, Facebook introducing Social Networking.  Being the first to enter the market brings trumendous advantage.  Your company and product becomes branded as such and you’re looked at as a leader in the industry and as a result you gain the majority of market share even as others try to enter the segment.  The down side of entering the market first is that you have to blaze new trails and identify and negotiate all the pitfalls without the benefit of learning from someone who might have gone ahead of you.  


Late:  Entering the market late means introducing your products after there are already other entrants into the market.  While being early is good, being late is not always a bad thing.  Entering later means that you can learn from others who’ve entered already.  Entering the market later with a better product can be an advantage.


Once you’ve decided which entry point to use you then have to consider the time of year, location, consumer readiness,  competitors and lifecycle.


Time of Year:  The type of product that you’re selling will determine at what time of the year is the best time to introduce it to the market.  There are seasonal and event cycles that you should consider.  Some products sell only in certain months of the year while others will sell at any time of the year.  You have to introduce your products at the right time of the year in order for it to reach the customer at the right time.  Items that sell at a certain time of the year such as clothing for the seasons (winter, spring, summer or fall) have to be introduced before those season arrive so that they can be on the shelves at the right time.  Items sold only at Christmas time (such as toys, christmas trees, etc.) have to be introduced at some time before the holiday season starts.  Similarly you don’t introduce new tax or accounting software at the time of the year when accountants and tax preparers are the busiest.  Find out what the right time of year is for your industry.


Location:  The location where you will introduce your product is also key to how you will introduce the product.  Locations could include markets that are local, regional, national and international.  The culture and languate in those locations could also have an impact on how you introduce your product.  There are three types of strategy developed by management consultant Christoph Lymbersky that is used to roll out products in international markets.  The first one is the Wave strategy.  With this trategy new products are rolled out all at once into countries that have similar cultures and characteristics.  The second one is the Sprinkler strategy.  With this strategy the product is launched into all suitable countries at the same time.  The third strategy is called the Waterfall.  With this strategy the product is launched in one country at a time and new markets are entered only after sales are established in the previous market.


Consumer Readiness:  Are your customers ready for your new product?  This is one of the key questions to answer before launching your next product.  Customer readiness refers to the ability and willingness of customers to buy your product.  This is driven by their income level to support the purchase.  If the economy is slowing down and consumers are losing their jobs or seeing less pay raises they will have less disposable income and will not have the ability to make purchases.  If the reverse is true they will be in a position to make purchases.  Consumers will always spend money on essential items (such as food, medicine, shelter and transportation) first before making purchases on non-essential items (such as entertainment, vacation, clothing, etc.).  If the product you’re introducing falls into the essential item category it will sell, even in a slow economy.  The best time to launch a non-essential product into the market is when the economy is growing and consumers have more disposable income to play with.


Competitors:  What are your competitors doing?


Knowing what your competitors are doing is another key consideration when launching a new product.  If your competitors are about to launch a new product you could chose to hasten or dealy your introduction.  You could also chose to capitalize on your competitor’s launch and get more publicity for your product launch.  This is especially true if your competitor is a well known brand.  You can chose to beat your competitors to the market and capitalize on the pint up demands of consumers waiting for such a product.  Launching a couple of days ahead of your competitor with a lower price point could give your trumendous advantage. 

Lifecycle:  What is the lifecycle of your previously launched product. 


Consider the lifecycle of the products you already have on the market.  Schedule a replacement for your products when they’ve reached the end of their lifecycle.  Give your customers something to look forward to so that they won’t start looking elsewhere for a replacement. 














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