Defensive marketing warfare strategies

From Academic Kids

In marketing 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. Defensive marketing warfare strategies are a type of marketing warfare strategy designed to protect a company's market share, profitability, product positioning, or mind share.


Fundamental principles

There are five fundamental principles involved:

  1. Always counter an attack with equal or greater force.
  2. Defend every important market.
  3. Be forever vigilant in scanning for potential attackers. Assess the strength of the competitor. Consider the amount of support that the attacker might muster from allies.
  4. The best defense is to attack yourself. Attack your weak spots and rebuild yourself anew.
  5. Defensive strategies should be the exclusive domain of the market leader.

Types of defensive strategies

The main types of defensive marketing warfare strategies are:

  • Position defense - This involves the defense of a fortified position. This tends to be a weak defense because you become a “sitting duck”. It can lead to a siege situation in which time is on the side of the attacker, that is, as time goes by the defender gets weaker, while the attacker gets stronger. In a business context, this involves setting up fortifications such as barriers to market entry around a product, brand, product line, market, or market segment. This could include increasing brand equity, customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, or repeat purchase rate. It could also include exclusive distribution contracts, patent protection, market monopoly, or government protected monopoly status. It is best used in homogeneous markets where the defender has dominant market position and potential attackers have very limited resources.
  • Mobile defense - This involves constantly shifting resources and developing new strategies and tactics. A mobile defense is intended to create a moving target that is hard to successfully attack, while simultaneously, equipping the defender with a flexible response mechanism should an attack occur. In business this would entail introducing new products, introducing replacement products, modifying existing products, changing market segments, changing target markets, repositioning products, or changing promotional focus. This defense requires a very flexible organization with strong marketing, entrepreneurial, product development, and marketing research skills.
  • Flank position - This involves the re-deployment of your resources to deter a flanking attack. You protect against potential loss of market share in a segment, by strengthening your competitive position in this segment with new products and other tactics. (see flanking marketing warfare strategies)
  • Counter offensive - This involves countering an attack with an offense of your own. If you are attacked, retaliate with an attack on the aggressor’s weakest point. If you are being attacked with an advertising campaign, initiate your own promotional campaign aimed at the aggressor’s weak spot. If a competitor introduces a new product, retaliate with a fighting brand that is designed to nullify any advantage the new product might have had.
  • Pre-emptive strike - This is a “defensive” attack initiated because an enemy attack is believed to be imminent. The objective is to use the element of surprise to create chaos. The enemy will need time to regroup and might have second thoughts about an attack. The advantages are that you gain first-strike advantage and you get to choose the battlefield, a battlefield that you can win on. This strategy is similar to the counter-offensive strategy except that it is proactive rather than reactive.
  • Strategic withdrawal - This involves freeing your resources deployed in untenable positions. If an objective becomes strategically unimportant or tactically impossible to defend, then the best strategy can be to withdraw. The resources can be re-deployed where they will be more effective. In business, this can entail dropping unprofitable products, product lines, or brands. It could also involve exiting a market or market segment. At one extreme, a radical strategic withdrawal involves closing down the business completely. At the other extreme, it involves a contraction of resources in a market segment.

See also

Lists of related topics


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