When it comes to the adoption of new marketing strategies, it's true it's better to be late jumping on the bandwagon than never to get on. However, you'll see far fewer benefits than those who discover "the next big thing" in marketing ahead of the competition.
In fact, unless you're in the computer software industry, you're probably in luck. According to a study conducted by Louis Gudema, president of Revenue + Associates, most companies are still woefully behind when it comes to adopting new digital marketing strategies. He looked at 351 mid-market companies and compared their adoption of 9 common types of marketing technologies that have been around for a few years and are generally known about.
Google keyword bids only rise
To quantify the advantages early adopters can expect to experience, Gudema looked up suggested bids for keywords on Google. All keywords start out with a price at or under $1 and as they become more popular, their price rises. Thus, early adopters of Google keywords would have paid a small amount for the phrase "best IT consulting firms," but today you can expect to start your bid at $59.60. The same goes for "network managed services" which comes with a price tag of $161.73.
Gudema is in the software business, as evidenced by the keywords he looked up. However, some keywords are much more profitable, and thus much more expensive. Mesothelioma cases are notoriously big earners for lawyers, which explains why some mesothelioma terms cost over $1,000 per click.
Comparison of AdWords spending paints vivid picture
SpyFu.com tracks the amount of money companies spend on Google Adwords and which keywords they're using. In early 2013, the home security company AFA Protective Systems started using Adwords as part of its marketing strategy. They started out their spending around $18,000, it had risen to just over $22,000 by early 2014, and has now settled down to about $10,000.
AFA reported in their 2014 annual report that "During 2013, the Company decided to experiment . . with various forms of marketing to increase our visibility to potential customers and in turn sales." He went on, "The year end results in this regard were very encouraging. In fact, we traced new booked sales attributable to these efforts and learned that they were produced at a rate of ten to one in comparison to amount spent."
All we can see is the amount they spent on Adwords, but it's possible to compare that amount to their competitors in the same time frame. In early 2013, competitor Sentry Protective had started using Adwords, but never spent more than $11,000 on it. ADT was a latecomer to the field, spending no money until early 2014, but at a rate exceeding $200,000 at times.
The moral? The longer you take to adopt new technologies, the lower your return compared to what you could make when no one else in your field is doing what you're doing.