Attack Marketing Strategies

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Parag Utekar
Student (MBA), India

Attack Marketing Strategies

Although the name sounds somewhat unsympathetic, attack strategies in marketing are necessary. As soon as you enter some market, you are bound to face competition from all sides. You can be a market leader or remain somewhere at the back. Understanding your current position in the market and choosing the right marketing attack strategy will help you capture a significant market share and improve revenues, customer loyalty, and visibility. Here are the most important attack strategies in marketing that can be employed to improve your market position:
  • Frontal Attack Marketing Strategy: When it comes to a pure frontal attack, companies will try and match their competitor's products, pricing, sales, distribution everything. The principal says that the one with better resources will win. A less intense version of a frontal attack, like cutting price, will work if the market leader doesn't retaliate. The competitor can convince its market that its products are as good as that of the market leader. The Cola war between Pepsi and Coke is a prominent example of the frontal attack strategy.
  • Flank Attack Marketing Strategy: A flanking attack is made when the competitor can identify gaps and able to fill those gaps immediately. Flanking attacks work best for companies with fewer resources and are more likely to succeed than making a frontal attack. In a geographic attack, the competitors will try to find markets that are not being served currently target those markets.
  • Encirclement Attack Marketing Strategy: Encirclement will try and capture a wide range of the territory by launching a grand offense from several fronts. It makes more sense when the competitor commands more resources. A good example of encirclement was when Sun Microsystems launched Java and licensed it to hundreds of companies and software developers for all sorts of consumer devices against its rival Microsoft. As consumer electronics started going digital, Java started to appear in most of them.
  • Bypass Attack Marketing Strategy: Bypassing the market leader completely, to capture easier markets has three sub-approaches:
    - diversifying into new, unrelated products,
    - targeting completely new geographical markets, and
    - adopting new technologies.
    Pepsi has used this strategy against Coke on multiple occasions, such as rolling out Aquafina in 1997 before Coke launched Dasani, purchasing the orange juice giant Tropicana in 1998 when it owned approximately twice market share Coke's Minute Maid. When we look at technological leapfrogging, the best example is Google, which overtook Yahoo! and became a market leader.
  • Guerrilla Attack Marketing Strategy: Guerrilla attacks are made of intermittent, small attacks which can be conventional or unconventional, including price cuts, great promotion, occasional legal action, etc. and slowly secure permanent foothold. A guerrilla campaign can be hard on your pockets but will be less than a frontal, flank, or an encirclement campaign. But the idea is to back it up with a strong attack to beat the competition. Tesla used a guerrilla attack like when it gave away its patent for free.
⇒ What are your experiences with these attack strategies?
Sources:
Kotler, P., Keller, K., Koshy, A., Jha, M., Marketing Management (2014), Chapter 8: Competitive Dynamics, pp-219-220.
Beth Hadricks, Attack Strategies in Marketing: Frontal & Flank, Study.com

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