Let’s say you have started a business and it is starting to grow. If you are excited by this growth and you are thinking “No one can stop me” you are dead wrong.
Competitors know you exist. They have seen you grow and they feel threatened. They don’t want you to take their customers away and they will try hard to keep the customers just as much as you are motivated to take the customers away from them.
There are several strategies you can do to beat the competition. They are called:
1. The Flanker
2. The Fortress
3. The Expansion
Knowing when to use these strategies is the key to maximizing the chances of success.
Throughout these four strategies, I will be using car analogys
Let’s say I run a retail used-car company and I have a competitor. The customers have diverse opinions on what is the best car to buy and my competitor sells used-Ford cars. This is where I would try to use the flanker strategy.
A flanker strategy is all about discovering a new gap in the market and penetrating it. This gap is more likely to be found if the customers have a wide variety of preferences. Instead of trying to climb the mountain of trying to sell Fords that your competitor capitalized on, you can attract the people who prefer Holdens.
It’s much easier to get the customers who have unmet demands than it is to get the customers who are loyal to competitors. That is because your competitor is probably using the fortress strategy.
If my competitor through “Hey, this (your growing) business has got a good idea selling all of these Holden’s. Let us try to take customers from him by selling Holden’s ourselves”
You may decide to buckle up and build your fortress of Holden’s
The Fortress, like any other fortress, is a strategy used to protect yourself from others. In this case, a fortress is used to protect your market share.
A fortress strategy is best executed if the customers have similar preferences and you have a strong influence on the market. I would only try this strategy if your growing business is up against a smaller growing business.
The fortress is is the most basic and commonly used marketing strategy for businesses that have established themselves in the eyes of their customers. However, if you want to further grow as a growing business you may want to try the marketing expansion strategy.
A fortress strategy is like defending your territory. It aims to sustain your market by constantly appealing to your current customers and dissuading them from joining a competitor.
In other words: A business sees a competitive threat and responds by trying to keep their own customers from switching,
The Market Expansion
The market expansion strategy is the equivalent of jabbing and weaving in boxing. You are defending by attacking. It involves defending your share of the market by targeting a new market.
Say your used car company only sells Holden’s and you know that your competitor that has Fords will not let you in on the Ford market by using a fortress strategy. If he is too busy selling Fords and not letting you in on that customer base, you can go after different sets of consumers that have not been marketed to.
If your competitor has not targeted consumers who are into Kia’s, Mazda’s and Fiat’s, you can market to those people if the market is deemed large enough. Because of this, you have expanded your market. Even though you risk abandoning your Holden consumers, you may gain a whole new set of new consumers, increasing your presence in the market
The Bottom Line
These are just a couple of the strategies that business’ use every day in order to maintain a competitive advantage. To determine the correct marketing strategy, you must understand how these strategies will or won’t work based on the competitive landscape and the state of the consumer market.
Article Co-Authored by Nelson Cumming and Adrienne McLean.
Nelson Cumming is an enthusiastic business blogger with AdrienneMcLean.com with a keen interest in Marketing and PR.
Adrienne McLean is a BookYourselfSolid marketing coach who helps business owners to achieve their goals and keep them focused on achieving their goals. Adrienne offers BookYourselfSolid online and in person workshop as well as mentoring. You can contact Adrienne on email@example.com or ring on 0414 367 960.
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