Marketing and sales in competitive markets


Internet is changing the dynamics of marketing and sales. Consumers are becoming more and more knowledgeable about the product value, offers from competition and price competitiveness, most of which is easily available online. With internet becoming more and more easily assessable, now even via mobile phones and to a much wider group of users globally, marketers are squeezed to continually redesign their strategies often quarterly. It’s high time for marketers to design a primary strategy followed by a secondary strategy, further, designing short-term strategy and a long-term strategy.

Competitive strategy is all about being different. Firstly, it means continues research of your market trends and understanding the changes, it means to listen to the changing needs of your target consumers. Thereon, it means designing different set of activities to deliver a unique mix of values. It means enhancing your offer mix, based on your research and findings. In the short term a company can design new offer mix, its success would result into developing long-term value for the product. The total outcome of this activity will be part of the competitive marketing strategy.

Operational effectiveness is not strategy, rather it means performing similar activities better than rivals perform them. It’s important to superior performance, which should be the primary goal of a corporate, however, both operational effectiveness and strategy works in different ways. Companies must be flexible to respond rapidly to competition strategy and market changes. The easy way is to bench mark the leader and design a strategy along side. But this will either make a brand the second best or, it will force the brand to die over a period of time, because for sure, there will be other brands benchmarking the leader, the race then, will be between the better bench-markers.

There are three kinds of companies; those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened? Marketing strategy used by your competition could be your loosing strategy. Similarly, last years successful strategy could be this years loosing strategy. Two powerful forces, technology and globalization are shaping today’s economic landscape. And the fact is, technology drives globalization.

So what is designing winning marketing strategies? 
Starting with quality. It has a lot of meaning. Quality can be in the form of product innovation, development, and packaging and offer mix. Followed by service. Having a high quality product is no any one reason to success, unless it is not backed by high quality service. Price and packaging together place a very important role in designing a marketing strategy, both for short-term and long-term. Price needs to blend perfectly with the market trends. If a company cannot be competitive with price, they must support its pricing with additional value in packaging. Generally it is believed that, market share leaders make more money than newer young companies. This could be true in some segments, while could mean just the opposite for others. Increasing marketing share could also mean buying up smaller companies in order to take over their distribution channels and winning over market share. Adaptation and customization as per the market trends and consumer needs are some very fine features to winning marketing strategies. Continuous product improvement gives an edge to be one up to your competition while, not all product improvements could mean the best in value. Product innovation is an edge on product improvement, but for younger companies it could mean creating a new niche or, would require huge budgets to carry the product to its segment.

There is no one road to marketing riches. Instead of relying on one major differentiation, a company needs to weave its own unique marketing activities. Operational excellence may help to win for a while, but other firms will soon catch up or even pass ahead of the firm.

Further, it is very important to have a Plan B to support Plan A, as part of designing your winning marketing strategy. Followed by having primary goals and secondary goals and, segmenting markets as primary markets and secondary markets. It takes a lot of time and money to research and then develop a new product. Marketing a new innovative product demands huge marketing budget in order to launch the product, develop it into a brand and then, drive it to success. Young companies must work with secondary plans f.g. where primary markets are highly competitive and demand huge marketing budgets, companies should simultaneously market their products in secondary markets. This will generate revenues, which can be skillfully invested in their primary markets. Similarly, if situation demands, companies should sell their products to other corporate under their private label, this also generates revenues and moreover, gives the company an opportunity to test market their produce in other markets. If other corporate can market the manufacturer’s produce under their own private label, this gives the manufacturer an opportunity to strategize and develop their own brand for their own primary markets. Failure of the corporate to market their private label would save the losses of the manufacturer and the company can go back and research to develop a better product.

Attitude of the company and the management team in whole equally plays an important role towards designing winning marketing strategy. If a company feels that, they can produce the best products and or the most innovative products and consumers will buy? Those companies, whose goal is to copy the inventions of others and design their own product and sell with a short-term strategy to yield quick profits on investments, could prove the innovator wrong, thus leaving the innovation, no more innovative.

Sales strategy is equally more challenging with today’s rising competition. Selling is no more making a product available to traditional outlets, or entry into the giant retail chains, or even selling online. A good sales strategy also demands it unique offer mix and value and further demands a strategized category management, followed by a very strong merchandising support.

The art of designing a winning marketing strategy and sales strategy is a perfect blend of brand building and creating brand loyalty. When something is not a brand, it will be probably viewed as a commodity. Then price is what counts and when price is the only thing that counts, the only winner is the low-cost seller. Designing a winning marketing and sales strategy is also all about the conceptual framework of decision-making, leadership skills and management skills.

For questions and consulting with advertising and marketing, please write to: 

Consulting Sobti

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