The danger of being ‘stuck in the middle.’ Make sure that you select one generic strategy. It is argued that if you select one or more approaches, and then fail to achieve them, that your organization gets stuck in the middle without a competitive advantage. Sources of competitive advantage – are the products differentiated in any way, or are they the lowest cost producer in an industry? Competitive scope of the market – does the company target a wide market, or does it focus on a very narrow, niche market? The generic strategies are: 1. Cost leadership, 2. Differentiation, and 3. Focus. 1. Cost Leadership. The low cost leader in any market gains competitive advantage from being able to many to produce at the lowest cost. Factories are built and maintained, labour is recruited and trained to deliver the lowest possible costs of production. ‘cost advantage’ is the focus. Costs are shaved off every element of the value chain. Products tend to be ‘no frills.’ However, low cost does not always lead to low price. Producers could price at competitive parity, exploiting the benefits of a bigger margin than competitors. Some organizations, such as Toyota, are very good not only at producing high quality autos at a low price, but have the brand and marketing skills to use a premium pricing policy. 2. Differentiation Differentiated goods and services satisfy the needs of customers through a sustainable competitive advantage. This allows companies to desensitize prices and focus on value that generates a comparatively higher price and a better margin. The benefits of differentiation require producers to segment markets in order to target goods and services at specific segments, generating a higher than average price. For example, British Airways differentiates its service. The differentiating organization will incur additional costs in creating their competitive advantage. These costs must be offset by the increase in revenue generated by sales. Costs must be recovered. There is also the chance that any differentiation could be copied by competitors. Therefore there is always an incentive to innovated and continuously improve. 3. Focus or Niche strategy. The focus strategy is also known as a ‘niche’ strategy. Where an organization can afford neither a wide scope cost leadership nor a wide scope differentiation strategy, a niche strategy could be more suitable. Here an organization focuses effort and resources on a narrow, defined segment of a market. Competitive advantage is generated specifically for the niche. A niche strategy is often used by smaller firms. A company could use either a cost focus or a differentiation focus.
Position 1: Low Price/Low Value Firms do not usually choose to compete in this category. This is the "bargain basement" bin and not a lot of companies want to be in this position. Rather it's a position they find themselves forced to compete in because their product lacks differentiated value. The only way to "make it" here is through cost effectively selling volume, and by continually attracting new customers. You won't be winning any customer loyalty contests, but you may be able to sustain yourself as long as you stay one step ahead of the consumer (we're not going to mention any names here!) Products are inferior but the prices are attractive enough to convince consumers to try them once. Position 2: Low Price Companies competing in this category are the low cost leaders. These are the companies that drive prices down to bare minimums, and they balance very low margins with very high volume. If low cost leaders have large enough volume or strong strategic reasons for their position, they can sustain this approach and become a powerful force in the market. If they don't, they can trigger price wars that only benefit consumers, as the prices are unsustainable over anything but the shortest of terms. Walmart is a key example of a low price competitor that persuades suppliers to enter the low price arena with the promise of extremely high volumes. Position 3: Hybrid (moderate price/moderate differentiation) Hybrids are interesting companies. They offer products at a low cost, but offer products with a higher perceived value than those of other low cost competitors. Volume is an issue here but these companies build a reputation of offering fair prices for reasonable goods. Good examples of companies that pursue this strategy are discount department stores. The quality and value is good and the consumer is assured of reasonable prices. This combination builds customer loyalty. Position 4: Differentiation Companies that differentiate offer their customers high perceived-value. To be able to afford to do this they either increase their price and sustain themselves through higher margins, or they keep their prices low and seek greater market share. Branding is important with differentiation strategies as it allows a company to become synonymous with quality as well as a price point. Nike is known for high quality and premium prices; Reebok is also a strong brand but it provides high value with a lower premium. Position 5: Focused Differentiation These are your designer products: High perceived value and high prices. Consumers will buy in this category based on perceived value alone. The product does not necessarily have to have any more real value, but the perception of value is enough to charge very large premiums. Think Gucci, Armani, Rolls Royce.clothes either cover you or they don't, and a car either gets you around the block or it doesn't. If you believe pulling up in your Rolls Royce Silver Shadow is worth 25 times more than in an economy Ford then you will pay the premium. Highly targeted markets and high margins are the ways these companies survive. Position 6: Increased Price/Standard Product Sometimes companies take a gamble and simply increase their prices without any increase to the value side of the equation. When the price increase is accepted, they enjoy higher profitability. When it isn't, their share of the market plummets, until they make an adjustment to their price or value. This strategy may work in the short term, but it is not a long-term proposition as an unjustified price premium will soon be discovered in a competitive market. Position 7: High Price/Low Value This is classic monopoly pricing, in a market where only one company offers the goods or service. As a monopolist, you don't have to be concerned about adding value because, if customers need what you offer, they will pay the price you set, period. Fortunately for consumers in a market economy, monopolies do not last very long, if they ever get started, and companies are forced to compete on a more level playing field. Position 8: Low Value/Standard Price Any company that pursues this type of strategy will lose market share. If you have a low value product, the only way you will sell it is on price. You can't sell day-old bread at fresh prices. Mark it down a few cents,
Option one – low price/low added value likely to be segment specific. Option two – low price risk of price war and low margins/need to be a ‘cost leader’. Option three – hybrid low cost base and reinvestment in low price and differentiation. Option four – differentiation (a)without a price premium: perceived added value by user, yielding market share benefits. (b)with a price premium: perceived added value sufficient to to bear price premium. Option five – focussed differentiation perceived added value to a ‘particular segment’ warranting a premium price. Option six – increased price/standard higher margins if competitors do not value follow/risk of losing market share. Option seven – increased price/low values only feasible in a monopoly situation. Option eight – low value/standard price loss of market share.
BRING UP ARTICLE porters generic strategies and the strategy clock
Influencing buying decisions
And being PREPARED
to be in the RPRT
and with your stuff sorted!
YOUR PLANS FOR BUSINESS
You should know exactly who, why and how you
plan to influence buying decision
And where you will be when decisions are made
Not knowing could reduce your profits, OR PUT YOU
OUT OF BUSINESS
THE BUYING DECISION
Why do People choose one product
or service over another?
Choices are made on.......
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
How do I influence choice?
What am I supposed to do?
Is that really possible?
MICHAEL PORTERS GENERIC
COST – of production = Operational excellence
DIFFERENTIATION – adding to value =
FOCUS – on specific clients/area/sector etc =
LETS LOOK AT THE OPTIONS
You can produce goods or services in the most efficient manner
possible – lower production costs / reliable service or product
You can make your goods or services somehow different from
other market offerings. Become a recognised leader in service or
You can target a very specific segment of the market and know
that segment and their decision influences in the most intimate
and detailed of ways and know exactly what, when and how to
And, YES you can mix it up. But only so far.....
LETS LOOK AT THE COST / VALUE
CHOICE OPTIONS AGAIN
Each achieves a
unique position in
the mind of the
market and one
matched to their
Each achieves a
unique position in
the mind of the
market and one
matched to their
THERE ARE MORE COST/VALUE
STRATEGY OPTIONS AVAILABLE
High Price/Low Value
Low value/Standard Price
LOSS OF MARKET SHARE
Certain strategies are matched to
specific styles of business action.
DO YOU MATCH?
OK, SO WHAT?
What do the types of strategy mean
to my business?
Which one is best for me?
Etc, etc, etc...
THINK ABOUT EVERYTHING
TAKE CONSIDERED ACTION
If it does not add
Change it or drop it
OPERATIONAL POSITION STRATEGIC POSITION
Culture and Positioning as Determinants of Strategy: Personality and the Business Organization
Dr Tony Ellson Palgrave Macmillan, 2004