Do You Have An Effective Market Strategy?

“Strategy should be developed from the bottom up, not the top down . . .In military warfare, the serious student of strategy begins with the study of the bayonet”
– Marketing Warfare, Ries & Trout

What is the underlying message in this quote? A smarter strategy will overcome just working harder in the trenches. Do not confront your opposition head-on when they have the high ground. If you are number 2 you seek higher ground. If you are number 3 you seek a flanking action to go around the high ground, And, if you are just entering the market your tactics would involve going under the high ground.

As a market leader your strategy would be defensive to protect your market position. For years Microsoft protected its strong position with its bundling strategy which positioned its browser, for example, ahead of others, possibly better performing, products. Apple comes to the market late and offers leading design, technology rich products that exceed the capabilities of the market leaders and taking advantage of their disadvantages.

Do openings exist when the market is dominated by one leader? As a company becomes a market leader it begins to struggle with being all things to all customers. Its success may have originally been serving a market segment very well and, over time, adding improvements to the product or service to make it attractive to a larger customer base. What often happens then is that the sharp features set and message that originally attracted customers becomes fuzzy and less distinct allowing smaller companies to step in and grab market share with targeted product solutions that respond to rapidly changing needs in the market place.

Customers react well to products that are refreshed regularly to meet their changing needs. Larger companies find this difficult to do as they become more bureaucratic and key decision makers become removed from the front lines where they were in constant contact with the market.

The strategic planning development process is a critical aspect of the ability of a company to hold or gain market share. Many companies fall into the top-down approach where decisions are made without the benefit of direct contact with tactics currently at play in the market. A bottom-up approach is able to use this tactical information to more effectively define what it will take to overpower a competitor or market leader for a segment of the market. This process is more likely to include the anticipation of what a stronger competitor will do and the best way to attack the weakness in the competitors strength so that they cannot respond without giving up its strength.

A market leader is more likely to believe they can do anything if they allocate enough resources. However, a poorly conceived strategy using a top-down approach will shift resources away from the point of battle where they are needed.

What is your market strategy process? Is it top-down where you are not incorporating current tactical information from the marketplace? Are your key resources improperly allocated to be effective in the development and execution of a market growth strategy?

Examine your market strategic planning process to make sure it is appropriate to your market objectives and position in the market place.

Resource: QuickMBA

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