According to AI Ries and Tack Trout, the marketing strategies of a firm are basically of four types. The types are:- 1. Offensive Strategy 2. Defensive Strategy 3. Flanking Strategy 4. Guerrilla Strategy.
Type # 1. Offensive Strategy:
This strategy of marketing is pursued by the firms which are leaders in the market. The leading firms are usually possessed of strong managerial acumen and flexibility, creative and perceptive science, latest technology base, and above all, capabilities to explore the markets.
Even such firms, having strong finance base, can make heavy investments on R & D to invent and to introduce new products/services as the ‘first to market’ strategy.
By following this strategy, the market-leaders even challenge their own product-market postures for creating innovative designs with a view to:
(i) Strengthening their leadership positions and
(ii) Keeping the competitors (who pursue a ‘follow the leader’ strategy) at a distance.
The companies like TISCO, TELCO, BAJAJ AUTO, HINDUSTHAN LEVER follow this strategy.
Type # 2. Defensive Strategy:
This strategy of marketing is pursued by the firms which hold a strong position but not the leaders in the market. The firms occupying the positions next to the leading firms in the market make efforts to locate a particular weaknesses in the leaders’ strength and attack at that point.
They attack the leader either by making improvements or introducing secondary characteristics in their product designs, or by increasing their marketing skills, etc.
Such firms usually have good finance base and possess good knowledge about competitors including the leaders, and due to this, they choose one or two fronts to launch their attacks. For example, leading firms’ products are highly priced on quality considerations and in such case, the firms following this strategy cut their prices because of low-cost advantage and capture a sizeable portion of the market share.
To illustrate the strategy further, many electrical cable producing firms in India could increase their market share and retain it by offering lower prices against the higher prices charged by the firms like INCAB, NICCO, and GLOSTER CABLES.
Type # 3. Flanking Strategy:
The word ‘flanking’ means attacking sideways-a part of war tactics. In this sense, flanking strategy of marketing refers to gain market positioning of products in any manner—with high or low price, small or big size, bulk or retail distribution, small or large packing etc.
In other words, this strategy involves seeking marketing opportunities in existing or new markets through innovative means that will meet customer choices of different classes, yet competing with large firms and capturing a market share.
Small and even medium-sized firms with limited resources can pursue this strategy for survival, without holding any positions which are in no way nearer to the leading firms.
Babool toothpaste, OK or Neema detergent soap powder, Sonali glycerine soap are examples whereby these firms could make their own markets even in the face of competition posed by CLOSE-UP toothpaste, ARIEL detergent soap or PEERS glycerine soap.
Type # 4. Guerrilla Strategy:
This strategy of marketing is pursued mostly by small and tiny firms as they operate mostly in local markets. They choose a particular segment of the market and fewer number of products to avail of the marketing opportunities like the guerrillas.
This way they reduce the size of the battle ground and attain marketing success. Locally-made stainless steel utensils (similar to SAIL’S dinner sets), Chappals made of rubber or plastic (similar to BATA variety), suitcases and luggage items (similar to VIP brands), etc. available at lower prices in the local markets in all states of India are the glaring examples—which fight like guerrillas in the market place.
Whatever strategy is chosen, a firm has to understand the real characteristics of a particular market and of particular class of buyers while implementing the 4 P’s of marketing (that is, product, price, promotion, and place).