beaten to market

faza62

Senior Member
Farsi, Iran
Dear All

Context: For example, IBM operated a world-leading research laboratory but it was constantly beaten to market by new start-up companies which seemed to outmaneuver it at every turn...

From Organisation Theory:Concepts and Cases By Stephen P. Robbins/Neil Barnwell, page 469

In the above, as I understand beaten to market means something like made to fail in the market, right?

I would appreciate a general idea of the above context.

Thanks
Ali
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Saying "company A beat company B to market" means "company A got their product on the market (being sold) sooner than company B did".

    It does not imply anything else.

    However, being the first company to market a new type of product often helps your sales. By the time other companies are competing (by the time they have their products on the market) you already have some loyal customers.
     

    Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    In the above, as I understand beaten to market means something like made to fail in the market, right?
    No. "Beaten" here does not mean injured or damaged - it means they won the race by beating their competitors. It's akin to athletes running a race and one of them beats the others - ie they reach the end-point more quickly.


    After scientists discover or engineers invent something and produce a working model in the lab, or a pharmaceutical company devises a new drug, there is usually a period (sometimes years) after that "invention" before a marketable product is available.

    The expression "beaten to market" is most commonly used NOT simply because a certain firm was the first to introduce the product but because they were quicker in converting from "invention" to marketable product, in large quantities.

    Smaller firms are often seen as more "nimble" or "agile" and more able to quickly introduce products that "disrupt" the market (in the business sense of "disrupt").
     

    faza62

    Senior Member
    Farsi, Iran
    So, to make things clearer, the above context means IBM was the leading innovator in the world, but constantly lost the market to smaller companies who introduced the commercial product to the market earlier than it, right?
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    So, to make things clearer, the above context means IBM was the leading innovator in the world, but constantly lost the market to smaller companies who introduced the commercial product to the market earlier than it, right?
    It does not mean that IBM was the leading innovator. It says their research was better than anyone else's research. Good research does not always lead to innovative products. It can, sometimes it does, but that is not necessarily what happens.
     

    faza62

    Senior Member
    Farsi, Iran
    Still I have my problem with this.

    Please read the complete paragraph (for reference, see the above)

    Other organizational problems were becoming apparent. Many large corporations, such as IBM and DuPont, ran significant research facilities as part of their business. But their record of turning inventions into new products was poor. For instance, IBM operated a world-leading research laboratory but it was constantly beaten to market by the new start-up companies which seemed to outmaneuver it at every turn--Microsoft being the most obvious example. Time was another area in which many companies found they were losing out to competitors. In General Motors, for instance, it took five years to bring a new car from concept to production; at Toyota it was two years and falling.

    in the above, there are two problems. The second is time, and it is quite clear. But what is the first problem. for instance in the second line above means what follows is an example of poor performance in turning inventions into products. So it means IBM had good research, but smaller companies made better products with the research? With IBM's research or their own? I guess here the focus is on the maturity of the product rather that quick performance, since the time is another area...?

    I cannot make heads or tails from the above. Thanks for your help.

    Ali
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    .. So it means IBM had good research, but smaller companies made better products with the research? With IBM's research or their own? ...
    There are not really two problems here. It is all about time. "Beaten to market" means that IBM's competitors did something faster. Toyota vs. GM is another example of this same problem, not a different problem.

    As for Microsoft, the product that took them from a small programming business to a large corporation (PC-DOS, later renamed MS-DOS) was not based on IBM's research, Microsoft's research, or anyone's research. It was simply good programming of concepts that were well understood by everyone in the industry at the time.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Within a company, research is done by one team or teams. Marketing (selling things) and manufacturing (building what is sold) are done by different teams.

    IBM was very good at pure research - exploring beyond existing technology, and sometimes inventing new technology. They had hundreds of different research projects going on at all times.

    Other companies were much faster at picking ONE product to sell, manufacturing that ONE product, and selling that ONE product.

    Something the industry learned from situations like this: every gigantic company (like IBM) has a huge amount of internal complexity, which adds a lot of overhead (extra paperwork, slower decisions, slower actions) to every team. Their teams that manufacture and market products do so much slower than a tiny company does.
     
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