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A serious threat facing most companies has always been the ever changing markets. These days, products and services lose relevance in the industry they are serving and the market share starts declining too quickly. This weakness exists even when the company’s brand is strong; customers are loyal; and the offering has never been better.

Relevance always matters. A newspaper can have the best new coverage and editorial staff, but if readers are diverted to cable news or blogs, relevance will decline. The ultimate tragedy is to achieve brilliant differentiation, winning the preference battle, only to have that effort wasted as its relevance declines.

How does a company differentiate continuously? How can a company avoid this uncertain situation?

Strategy Process

Offensive Marketing Warfare Strategies

Marketing has always been the the front line in the war called “Business”. In markets that aren’t growing quickly, the only way to gain customers is to take them from a competitor. Marketing strategies commonly leverage battle strategies.

The following strategies are designed to take market share from a target competitor.

Frontal Attack

Attack a leading competitor’s position by directly competing with them. Companies aggressively market their product to claim a big chunk of the market leader’s share.

It requires high financial strength and sufficient resources. Majority of the spend goes on product development and promotion. It works best when you have far greater resources than the target. It’s also effective when the target has grown complacent in their position and let customer satisfaction and product quality drop.

Encirclement Strategy

One should exploit weakness of the competitor by competing with a broad range of their products. It includes creating niche products to eat away competitor’s market share. It entails easy wins by focusing on their dissatisfied customers. Avoid overspending, the idea is to sustain your attack indefinitely. If you chip away at the competitor’s business for long enough, momentum may eventually shift to you — allowing you to lead the market.

Leapfrog Strategy

It amounts to finding a way to surpass or overthrow the superior competition in the business field by usually by engaging in one enormous, determined, ruthless, brilliant leap of mastermind that results in extraordinary growth, profit, and management position.
Innovate to create a new business model that makes your competitors irrelevant.


Flanking Attack

It is a marketing strategy employed by firm to capture the market which is not well served by established players. Flank attack targets competitor’s selected areas. Find a niche or sub-market where you can avoid directly attacking your competitor’s main force. Gain enough strength from the niche to eventually throw the competitor’s main force into chaos with a blindside attack.

Defensive Marketing Warfare Strategies

Defensive marketing is the exclusive domain of market leaders. If you’re not leading the market, it’s better to stay on the attack.

Fortress strategy

Fortify your existing position. Strengthen relationships with customers with loyalty programs and improved customer experience. Improve your products but make no radical changes. This strategy is effective when you know your competitor is expending resources at an unsustainable pace in a frontal attack.

Mobile Defense

Keep moving. Change your products, product differentiation factors and promotional strategies on a regular basis. It’s difficult for your competitors to take your market share when you’re moving quickly forward.

Counter Offensive

Launch an offensive against a attacking competitor in their core market. If you’re an IT consulting company and a software company aggressively enters your market — aggressively enter their market (make software). A counter offensive is best planned with a cool head. Do it when it makes business sense.

Pre-emptive Strike

Launch an offensive against a potential competitor’s core market to distract them (in the hopes they won’t enter your market).

Deterrence Strategies

Deter competition by showing that you’re a fierce competitor with absolute dominance in a market. For example, a large discount retailer can gain a reputation as being unbeatable — this discourages local shops from competing.

Alliance Strategies

Develop Alliances against a much larger competitor. For example, a downtown shopping district of small shops create an alliance to offer free parking to defend against a big retailer.

Diversion Strategy

If a competitor is copying every step you take, make a large number small decoy investments in new markets. The competitor may follow and lose focus.

Strategic Withdrawal

Withdrawing from a losing battle to fight another day. For example, a local discount shop closes when a larger competitor moves next door. They re-open as a niche shop (e.g. sporting goods) within a few months.

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