Appetizer or Main Course: Early Market vs. Majority Market Go-to-Market Strategies for Radical Innovations

Monika C. Schuhmacher*, Sabine Kuester, Erik-Jan Hultink

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Different views exist in the literature regarding which adopter group to target with a go-to-market strategy: early market consumers or consumers in the majority market. Particularly when radical innovations are launched, the approach to the market becomes a critical success factor for firms seeking to recoup their significant investments in these innovation endeavors. Four experimental studies investigate whether and how to differentiate the design of go-to-market strategies, represented as bundles of marketing mix elements consisting of brand name, launch price, message content, and distribution intensity, for different consumer groups. Using the concept of consumer innovativeness, this study distinguishes between the early market of innovative consumers and the majority market populated by consumers low in innovativeness. Applying a signaling framework, the results indicate that the early market can be targeted with a go-to-market strategy signaling exclusive innovativeness; the majority market should be approached with a strategy signaling security. Further, at a signal vehicle level using specific marketing mix elements, the study demonstrates the relevance of adapting the go-to-market strategy for a radical innovation with regard to message content, distribution intensity, and launch price in line with consumer innovativeness. The results also indicate that the adaptation of the two signals and their signal vehicles to the targeted consumer markets is generally not necessary for incremental innovations. The authors discuss the implications of their study for future research and provide managers with recipes of go-to-market strategies for radical innovations when targeting consumers in the early versus majority market.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)106-124
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of Product Innovation Management (online)
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    Dive into the research topics of 'Appetizer or Main Course: Early Market vs. Majority Market Go-to-Market Strategies for Radical Innovations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this