There are many published books, articles and training workshops on the topic of Market Warfare.
This is one of the more popularized and controversial topics in Marketing circles.
It has prevailed and has almost achieved cult classic status.
Back in the early 1980’s, given my ambition, drive and appetite to discover ways of outpointing and outmaneuvering the competition, I began to study and then apply what was available to fundamental business challenges, opportunities and core problems.
This was a lonely road, at the time, as most firms did not understand it nor were they willing to favor Warfare techniques over traditional (safe) Marketing approaches.
This stimulated me to publish a white paper titled “Market Technology: The Missing Link,” which advocated that a company’s market strategy and program mix needed to be approached similarly to how companies engineered and developed their products and services.
Market Technology described a unique methodology / approach and demonstrated how to apply a variety of Warfare techniques to outclass the competition.
It also reinforced how critical this was to business success.
The pioneers of Market Warfare drew a relationship, between historical Military Strategy and Business.
This was an effective approach, however many of the Warfare techniques were applied to PR/Media, Promotions and other “soft” areas, with an emphasis on competitive positioning.
It was not clear to potential users how to apply these techniques to other business areas to generate tangible results.
Over the last two plus decades, we have taken these Market Warfare techniques and integrated them into hard-hitting Campaigns that have focused on Product Launch & Roll-Outs, Competitive Attacks & Product Replacements, Distribution Network & Strategic Alliance Effectiveness, Vertical Industry & New Market Development, Major Account & Opportunity Development, etc. – examples of waging war at the competitors’ expense.
These Programs have generated $500 Million – $750 Million revenue for Client companies and left the competition in the dust.
Is Market Warfare a Myth or Reality?
Here are several practical examples, based on real-life Client experiences:
1) Competitive Replacement – based on solid competitive intelligence, a technology company became aware that its primary competitor was repositioning its business towards a new, growth market. As a by-product, although this was not broadcasted to the Marketplace, the competitor would eventually leave its installed base “high and dry.”
The Client company realized that this transition period represented a “period of vulnerability” for the competitor and if exploited effectively, it could mean capturing the competitor’s installed base, with little investment and effort.
The Client company developed and launched a campaign deemed “Mission Possible,” which was waged worldwide. The program included Account Plans/Strategies, Competitive Analysis, Playbook & Tactical Guide, Contact Data, Direct-Response, Pre-qualified Sales Leads, Sales Aids and Collateral Material.
The Campaign was coordinated with the Client Company’s Direct Sales and 3rd Party Partners for uniformity and consistency. After three business quarters, the Client Company generated $4.6 Million of new sales and acquired a new customer set that was a target for other products and services.
The competitor was caught off-guard and never knew what hit them.
2) Vertical Industry Development – a small manufacturer was extending its core business to focus on segments of the Defense & Military Market.
Although this was not consistent with their traditional business and expertise, their product set was translatable to the Defense & Military Market.
This also represented a Growth Segment in that their traditional core business was declining. Successful entry was a must-do for the Client Company and they did not have any margin for error.
Further, the Client Company’s direct competitor was well-established and entrenched in the Defense & Military Market. This was a considerable challenge and the selected approach and program needed to work right out of the gate.
The Company opted to develop a Program called “Mission-Ready COTS,” as its launch into the selected Vertical.
This high-powered program provided a framework and an implementation guide that brought Government/Military, Defense Contractors and COTS Technology Suppliers together to solve critical Supportability and Life-Cycle challenges for Target Programs and Platforms. This established the Client Company, as an authority/expert and outflanked the established competitor. This program was extended to include Industry Seminars and Problem-solving Workshops, which were not done previously in this Target Market segment.
The Client Company generated 32 new customers, which represented $44.8 Million of new design-wins at full deployment/production value.
3) Strategic Alliance & Major Account Development – a well-recognized consulting firm considered extending its business to include application-based, computing systems based on it core expertise.
This was an emerging trend and other competitors had already made the transition and were building their position and opportunity base.
We could conclude that the Client Company was late-to-market.
After researching the Market and getting a solid sense for the Landscape, the Client Company decided that it could not enter this growing segment & successfully make the transition, without Strategic Alliances and Partnerships.
The Client Company approached a major computer supplier and a key Industry Trade Association, which were well-connected with the Target Prospective Audience.
It successfully sold the opportunity and aligned itself with these key sources.
Given the power of three (the complete solution) and the connections/relationships that the Industry Trade Association maintained, it was easy to gain access to key decision makers.
The Client Company generated several million dollars of new system sales, at initial launch and delivered a knock-out punch to competitors that could not figure out the Client Company’s Gameplan/Strategy.
A case example of outmaneuvering and outinnovating the competition.
These examples are straight-forward, however each has taken a basic Market Warfare technique and put it to practice to achieve results.
There are countless examples that can be shown that impact literally every area of your company’s marketing mix.
With the battle cry of “Market Warfare,” it may be time for your company to master the techniques and redefine the rules of engagement.
Is Market Warfare a Myth or Reality?
Just ask the trail of competitors that have been neutralized and dominated by our Clients and the answer will be self-evident.
Edmond Hawkeye Hennessy
Performance Marketing Group