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How to Attack a Category Leader

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When I went to purchase my last mobile phone I purchased a Nokia. I was swayed by its user-interface screen and its big huge form factor with the shiny screen of high resolution. I was sold by its high resolution camera higher than any other phone on the market ever. Encirclement attack was used in ads to show that noone has ever made a mobile phone with a resolution that high in history. I was also impressed by its speed but design was a major selling point because of the color and shape of it.

Glitter and glamour alone is not enough to make a difference because even if the product has served design needs sooner or later the consumer will realize that the product has not fulfilled enough of its needs. That is why it is very important for marketers to explain all benefits of the product to the consumer market segment before the consumer purchase.

Marketers need to differentiate their products from a market leader. Things to make a new or competitor that is low on the totem pole in a market segment to stand out are:

1. Convenience
2. Location
3. Store layout
4. Instore services
5. Instore additional kiosk services
6. Good execution

When good execution is used to set up low cost operations while abandoning low profit market segments. A method of frontal attack that matches the market leader. A flank attack which attempts to fill in gaps and under-performing areas, encirclement of launching a big offense, bypass attack to bypass the leader altogether or guerrilla attack to launch a series of small attacks.

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The post does a great job of illustrating the different ways marketers work to attack a category leader. In considering phones, I just Googled smart phones and saw that Samsung is the category leader (http://appleinsider.com/articles/14/01/27/samsung-widens-lead-in-worldwide-smartphone-marketshare-smaller-oems-rising). This is interesting based on the ...

Solution Summary

This solution responds to a post regarding attacking a category leader and includes a concrete example of Apple and their iPhones.

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Attacking a Category Leader

Respond to the following:

Attack, Follow or Create a Niche Collapse

Total views: 3 (Your views: 1). My most recent purchase was based on habit. I bought the usual brand that I buy because of its ability to meet and exceed my expectations.

To gain some to the target customer base a market challenger must first define the strategic objective and opponent(s). Once choice is to attack the market leader at great risk but high reward if successful. A challenger can also set their sights on companies of similar size that are not satisfying the consumer or lastly overtake smaller firms.

The next step would be to choose an attack strategy.

A general attack strategy. The attack options will be to match the attacker's product (frontal attack), fill gaps that have been developed (flank attack), launch a grad offense on several fronts (encirclement attack), create new products that are diversified into new geographical markets (bypass attack), and intermittent attacks that harasses the opponent to eventually secure permanent footholds (guerrilla attacks). A challenger should combine several, more specific, strategies to improve its position over time. How they go about the attack determines how successful the attacks will be in putting their product into the hands of the target customer.

If an attack is not an option then a firm can choose to follow or create a niche.

A market follower strategy. A follower earns less than a leader, usually not a rewarding path at all. However the stability of the product is there because the advantages to the target market is to bring location, services, and financing while keeping costs low and quality/services high.

A market niche strategy. A company can be a leader in a small market by offering high value, charging premium prices, maintaining lower manufacturing costs which create a strong corporate culture and vision. Market-nichers must continuously create new ones to avoid weakening due to be attacked or the niche drying up.

Glitz can catch the eye of the consumer but it's not enough for the market challenger to gain control of the market. The performance of the product ultimately will be the deciding factor of catching up to or passing the market leader.

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