and strategic management
, marketing warfare strategies are a type of marketing strategy
that uses military metaphor to craft a businesses strategy. See marketing warfare strategies
for background and an overview. Offensive marketing warfare strategies
are a type of marketing warfare strategy designed to obtain an objective, usually market share, from a target competitor. In addition to market share
, an offensive strategy could be designed to obtain key customers, high margin market segments
, or high loyalty market segments.
There are four fundamental principles involved:
- Assess the strength of the target competitor. Consider the amount of support that the target might muster from allies. Choose only one target at a time.
- Find a weakness in the target’s position. Attack at this point. Consider how long it will take for the target to realign their resources so as to reinforce this weak spot.
- Launch the attack on as narrow a front as possible. Whereas a defender must defend all their borders, an attacker has the advantage of being able to concentrate their forces at one place.
- Launch the attack quickly. The element of surprise is worth more than a thousand tanks.
Types of offensive strategies
The main types of offensive marketing warfare strategies are:
- Frontal Attack - This is a direct head-on assault. It usually involves marshaling all your resources including a substantial financial commitment. All parts of your company must be geared up for the assault from marketing to production. It usually involves intensive advertising assaults and often entails developing a new product that is able to attack the target competitors’ line where it is strong. It often involves an attempt to “liberate” a sizable portion of the target’s customer base. In actuality, frontal attacks are rare. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, they are expensive. Many valuable resources will be used and lost in the assault. Secondly, frontal attacks are often unsuccessful. If defenders are able to re-deploy their resources in time, the attacker’s strategic advantage is lost. You will be confronting strength rather than weakness. Also, there are many examples (in both business and warfare) of a dedicated defender being able to hold-off a larger attacker. The strategy is suitable when
- the market is relatively homogeneous
- brand equity is low
- customer loyalty is low
- products are poorly differentiated
- the target competitor has relatively limited resources
- the attacker has relatively strong resources
- Envelopment Strategy (also called encirclement strategy) - This is a much broader but subtle offensive strategy. It involves encircling the target competitor. This can be done in two ways. You could introduce a range of products that are similar to the target product. Each product will liberate some market share from the target competitor’s product, leaving it weakened, demoralized, and in a state of siege. If it is done stealthily, a full scale confrontation can be avoided. Alternatively, the encirclement can be based on market niches rather than products. The attacker expands the market niches that surround and encroach on the target competitor’s market. This encroachment liberates market share from the target. The envelopment strategy is suitable when:
- the market is loosely segmented
- some segments are relatively free of well endowed competitors
- the attacker has strong product development resources
- the attacker has enough resources to operate in multiple segments simultaneously
- the attacker has a decentralized organizational structure
- Leapfrog strategy -This strategy involves bypassing the enemy’s forces altogether. In the business arena, this involves either developing new technologies, or creating new business models. This is a revolutionary strategy that re-writes the rules of the game. The introduction of compact disc technology bypassed the established magnetic tape based defenders. The attackers won the war without a single costly battle. This strategy is very effective when it can be realized.
- Flanking attack - This strategy is designed to pressure the flank of the enemy line so the flank turns inward. You make gains while the enemy line is in chaos. In doing so, you avoid a head-on confrontation with the main force. (see flanking marketing warfare strategies )