There are several types of marketing strategies in modern marketing, depending on what a business wishes to achieve or maintain. Companies engaged in competitions try to use various offensive and defensive marketing strategies if they feel the pressure from their competitors or discover some opportunities to enter the chosen industry (Yannopoulos 1). Marketing managers want to achieve success in a short period.
Therefore, they try to comprehend the essence of each strategy type and make the right conclusion. Offensive and defensive strategies have their distinctive benefits. Defensive strategies help make any possible attack unattractive and decrease the chances of the same attacks on other organizations (Yannopoulos 1). Offensive strategies aim to move to new markets to avoid competitors (Yannopoulos, 5).
These strategies require meticulous planning and resource allotment so they could have a wider consumer reach. The tense situation in the market and various organizations emerging every year make it difficult for the young company to develop and achieve success in the competitive environment (West, Ford, and Ibrahim 128). To improve, the organizations usually address to offensive marketing approach as it is the easiest way to compete with the opponents and receive the niche in the market.
Offensive Marketing Approach
Nowadays, markets are interpreted as dynamic arenas within the frames of which organizations may expand their opportunities or choose different segments of their work (Yannopoulos 1). As a rule, every company aims not only at producing effective and credible sources, offering products and ideas, and satisfying customers. Companies should realize that one of their main goals is to take several successful competitive moves and gain victory over other companies that offer similar services in the same industry.
Defensive strategies are appropriate in case they are taken before some investments are made. Therefore, it is hard to predict the possible outcome and effects of the chosen activities. Many organizations continue to prefer offensive strategies to stay competitive and demonstrate high-quality services. An offensive strategy is a frequently used example of a modern marketing strategy. Offensive marketing is when a business develops a means to hit a market strong and launch a robust market presence.
When a company launches an offensive marketing strategy, it targets the competitor’s weaknesses and emphasizes its strengths in comparison (Davidson 7-10). Offensive strategies are used by companies to get a market niche by gaining market share, as a way to compete against business adversaries, and as a way to turn a company into a business leader.
The point of an offensive strategy is to introduce a company’s product to the consumers in a way that makes consumers doubt the current leading product in the market. It is why this kind of marketing approach should be laser-focused as well as not too broad to avoid the risk of the consumers losing focus in the message (Karakaya and Yannopoulos 2011). There are several offensive marketing techniques that a company can employ to lead it to success and growth, and each of them will be discussed in the next several paragraphs.
A frontal attack is where the company directly fights its competitors by launching its product under the same product category, quality, and pricing. In this case, customers respond to the product depending on how aggressively it is marketed (Yannopoulos 2011). The developers of frontal attacks are likely to succeed in case the attacker can focus its resources on its rival’s center of gravity or weak point (Yannopoulos 6). As soon as the challenges occur, the competitor cannot use their resources or have to search for new owners. Besides, the inability to react to the challenges properly because of fear of price changes can become a successful contribution to this type of strategy.
The majority of flanking attacks are defined as a cheaper and safer alternative for a frontal attack (West, Ford, and Ibrahim 131). First, a company that will use this kind of approach in a competition should identify its strengths and understand if the chosen strengths can be used against the weaknesses of a competitor. It is then necessary to consider the gaps that can be observed in the work of a competitor. Finally, in a flanking attack, a company focuses on the competitor’s weakness. In this case, the competitor’s marketing strategy is analyzed in detail, and from its weaknesses emerges the competing company’s strengths (Yannopoulos 2011).
This strategy’s peculiar feature is that the competitor may not feel direct threats for some time that provides another party to develop new offensive strategies (Davidson Offensive Marketing 178). One of the well-known examples of a flanking attack was Honda’s demonstration when the company tried to use that tactic against Harley-Davidson. Honda succeeded in producing small details for the motorcycle market, leaving Harley behind with its large products. As soon as consolidation was achieved, Honda made several successful attempts to introduce several successful examples of large models and defeat Harley.
Guerrilla attacks target competitors with fewer resources. Mainly focused on struggling competitors, a company with more resources can use guerrilla marketing to weaken a competitor until the rival moves on to other markets (Yannopoulos 2011). Che Guevara (qt. in Davidson Offensive Marketing 182) introduced several benefits of this strategy underline the possibility of using surprise as the main tactic, enjoying the technical flexibility of the approach, and benefiting from the fact that all operations remain to be favorable for the attacker. As a rule, small companies like this approach and try to identify their opponents’ weaknesses to achieve success.
West, Ford, and Ibrahim admit that strategic encirclement attacks usually involve several fronts and flanking attacks. They help to deprive a competitor of the possibility to choose and decide using properly weighted decisions (131). Strategic encirclement works by limiting a competitor’s room to grow. It works when a company creates conditions that force the rival to either sell or shut down. Encirclement makes the attackers use several brands and work on several fronts simultaneously because this way helps to distract the defender’s attention and get access to the required resources (Yannopoulos 7).
The predatory strategy works by eliminating rivals. For example, a larger company can lower their product prices so much that their smaller competitor’s higher-priced products cause the rivals to scale back or eventually move into a new market (Yannopoulos 2011). Therefore, a peculiar feature of this kind of strategy is to create the required conditions to accept lower profits that can be used on new competitors and promote damage that can make a competitor quit the market or become less competitive. The idea to cut prices is not always beneficial; still, if all decisions are made properly, the company can use its profits without particular losses and concerns.
There is a strategy in terms of which companies may search for some new undefeated areas to avoid considerable confrontations, price-cutting, and advertising wars (Yannopoulos 9). A company can move into undefended areas where they have never previously marketed their products and proceed to employ defensive strategies to defend their new market niche against competitors who may arise (Yannopoulos 2011).
The main disadvantage of this strategy is the inability to understand the possible outcomes of the activities. It means that on the one hand, a company that chooses an undefeated area strategy may lose everything and face several challenges connected with a new field. On the other hand, if undefeated areas are favorable for the company, there are many chances for such a company to achieve success and defeat a competitor at the competition’s initial stages.
Underdog strategies work to the advantage of rival companies in situations where larger companies have monopolized the market. The rival company studies areas larger companies have been ignoring, for example, customer support. The rival company proceeds to create a product that will offer significantly better services at better speeds and prices. An example of such a company is Uber (Yannopoulos, 2011).
Yannopoulos admits that “a small, and usually, young firm” may take advantage of such kind of a strategy and compares it with a battle between David and Goliath (9). A small company is eager to compete with a large corporation to break the monopoly and introduce new, better products, services, and ideas. Due to the small sizes, such a company may penetrate new markets and impress potential customers far before a large corporation can achieve the same goals.
There is another type of offensive strategy with the help of which companies may succeed in market competitions. Judo’s strategy is similar to an underdog strategy with the only difference that small companies can get a chance to compete with huge corporations using the beneficial rival sides as the main advantage. Yannopoulos informs that this strategy contains several important elements that make it unique and preferable compared to many other offensive strategies.
First, it is flexible, and this principle helps avoid challenges if a competitor is superior. Second, it makes an attacking-weaknesses-with-strength approach possible to gain an advantage over a competitor. Finally, the leverage principle shows that it is always possible to use the competitors’ strengths against them. The existing variations of this strategy attract many people from different organizations and with different opportunities.
Pivot and Hammer Strategies
The Pivot and the Hammer strategy are examples of a successful combination of defensive and offensive approaches (Yannopoulos 10). There are two components of the strategy: the Pivot and the Hammer. The Pivot represents all organizational efforts taken to save the chosen marketing position and defend the company against competitors or unstable customers. It is all about choosing a powerful brand name, attractive price policies, and the development of the required skills. The Hammer is the core offensive power used to defeat the competitor using the choices of customers and develop an interest.
The Pivot and the Hammer are interconnected, and one’s success is impossible without the success of another. Besides, success is also predetermined by the fact that the decision to use the available assets, brand names or other details does not lead to the losses in other organizational work aspects.
Implementation of Offensive Tactics
Competitiveness in business should always receive priority. For that reason, it is vital to warily develop and implement certain strategies that will aid a business in achieving the set objectives. Businesses need to determine what kind of tactics will propel their position in the industry, depending on their performance. If a business feels its product is not in competition within the market, it can employ defensive strategies to maintain its position.
If instead, it feels there has been a crop up of similar products on the market, it can employ the use of offensive strategies to raise and maintain its position and eliminate the competition. Baisya states that some of the world’s very well known companies have used offensive strategy to market their products (58). These companies include Pepsi, Wal-Mart, Honda, and Xerox.
Uber is an example of a modern company that implemented offensive strategy techniques to grow to its current size. Started in 2009 in a single location, Uber has grown and spread its services to several countries to date. Uber started as a small enterprise. Strategies such as a frontal attack, flanking attack, strategic encirclement, and underdog strategy worked to its advantage and helped it achieve massive and quick growth in the taxi market (Downes 2013). Uber saw a weakness in the taxi industry in the sense that in this technological age, technology was not being used by the industry to widen the market profit. They took advantage of the niche, and it led to their immense success.
Successful implementation of offensive strategies can help organizations improve their competitive positions, identify their weak and strong points, and show how necessary to use other companies’ benefits against them. It is not enough to do harm to other companies or stay competitive. The peculiar feature of offensive strategies and defensive strategies is to comprehend how a company may be protected and improved in a short period.
Market success is the core of the activities taken by the companies. There are many ways to achieve this success, and the implementation of one of the offensive strategies mentioned above cannot be ignored. Four main market characteristics should be taken into consideration by the developers of offensive/defensive strategies: a company size, product prices, innovativeness of market products, and the reputation that has been already gained by a company at the moment a strategy is going to be used (Karakaya and Yannopoulos 172).
Harley Davidson’s Case
During the last several decades, many companies demonstrate various examples of how offensive and defensive strategies can be used to achieve the required market success. The example of Uber is not the only one that can show how effective an offensive tactic can be. Harley Davidson is another example of a completely revived company due to aggressive offensive marketing strategies (Davidson 2011). In the middle of the 1960s, the Harley Davidson Company faced several financial problems due to the inability to cope with its competitors and save the number of customers.
The company was challenged by the development of new foreign manufacturers from Japan. Several organizations from different parts of the world penetrated the motorcycle market and showed Harley the possible changes and threats. Harley was defeated by its strengths. Its ability to introduce large and quality products were replaced by the necessity to sell cheap and small details for the motorcycle industry.
It was necessary to take a step, and Harley turned an ordinary competition in marketing in a serious war of tastes and opportunities. The decision to reduce the costs and provide customers with low prices was rejected. Harley did not want to go against its traditions and principles. It was not inherent to the company to reduce the prices or change the quality of the goods. Harley focused on its unique features and saved its brand (the only domestic one in America). The employees proved that their decision to keep following the traditions could be beneficial for the company. In a short period, Harley changed the situation, demonstrated high profits, and proved its competitiveness, staying one of the most successful motorcycle industry representatives in the United States and the whole world.
The use of defensive and offensive strategies in business should by no means be underestimated. Businesses should in no way be inhibited from using these strategies due to their ethical standpoint because at the day’s end, being aggressive at marketing is part of what leads to a higher profit margin. Although it is easier to defend business and costs less, a business should not underestimate the advantages of offensive strategies, especially considering how dynamic a market can be.
In the end, the ability of businesses to take risks determines its lifespan in the industry. Every company should investigate the market, consider its opportunities, and weigh all its strengths and weaknesses to use offensive strategies against its competitor and not be hurt or defeated by unpredictable competitors and entrants. Offensive strategies have their benefits and shortages, and companies should use their sizes, brands, reputation, etc. to realize what kind of work may be done to win a competition.