In the Trenches: Battle of the Building Product Manufacturers
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“Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate,” said military strategist Sun Tzu.
In a previous blog, Marketing Warfare Product Manufacturer Strategies, we discussed how marketing building products is a battle of perceptions. Marketing is a battle of ideas. And persuasion is a battle for hearts and minds.
In the trenches is where the battle of the building product manufacturers takes place. From the offices of prominent AEC firms to industry trade shows, from websites to AIA online courses, the battle of the best building products wages for the ultimate prize: product specification. There are several marketing warfare strategies, so we will only review the most pertinent.
The Position Defense
This strategy uses the current position of a building product manufacturer. For example, if a window company has dominant position in the industry they can fortify their brand and try and halt emerging window companies from gaining market share. The dominant window company can reward repeat customers, such as contractors, with incentives such as price breaks or extended warranties.
The Flanking Position
Product manufacturers can re-deploy resources in a market they dominate to strengthen their hold. The flanking position can discourage a flanking attack and maintain market share. When competitors attack the leader in their industry, they may attempt to gain ground by tapping into services/products where the leader isn’t the dominant force. Budget Rent-A-Car used a low-price flanking strategy to battle competitor Hertz in the car-rental business.
The Frontal Attack!
This wicked strategy is designed to engage the opposing manufacturer with a head on frontal assault. Advertising and new products are intensified to weaken an adversary’s market share and profit margins. The frontal attack is risky, expensive, and time consuming. This strategy backfired big time for shopping giant Target Corporation. The company entered the Canadian market by purchasing 200 competitor stores and waged war against Walmart and Costco. The frontal attack failed in epic fashion and Target lost billions of dollars and lost every store in Canada.
Manufacturers use incremental attacks by using unconventional methods for this offensive strategy. Guerilla warfare can include quick rounds of price cutting, supply deterrence, poaching the opposition’s management team, and negative publicity against the competition (highlight product lawsuits and failures).
Guerilla warfare marketing works great for small, nimble companies who are the underdogs. Guerilla warfare can take place at tradeshows, via web-based marketing campaigns, at AIA lunch and learns, and through creative video marketing pushes. Overall, manufacturers need to use several offensive and defensive strategies to stay competitive. What strategies does your company use to gain or defend market share?
For more information or to discuss the topic of this blog, please contact Brad Blank