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War And Marketing – Part 2: Five Basic Defense Strategies And Classical Examples

War’s appearance can be found thousands of years ago, and anecdotes about wars in human history have always been told, lessons were learnt and rules were made for future generations. Those principles can also be applied to marketing activities, combined with contemporary marketing theories, opening up a more solid perspective and approach when analyzing markets and making strategic decisions…
In my previous post, I went over the similarities between war and contemporary marketing to make money for subsequent articles on the specific options of each of the two broad groups of Defense or Attack. If any of the readers have missed the previous part, you can review it here.

In this article, I will introduce you to five Basic Defensive strategies, often applied to achieve Brand Establishment in the market.

The first is the Position strategy, is defending and protecting the market shares that the brand has captured. For example, Nokia, the former king of the mobile phone industry, after reaching the leading position, applied this strategy to preserve market share. However, because it did not see the changing trends and was too secure in its market share, not accepting the shift to the smartphone line, so Nokia ended up failing to the late-born brands. Thereby, we also realize weaknesses of the defensive strategy and its application should also be considered or applied in combination with other strategies.

The second is the Contraction strategy, which is to focus resources on markets or segments where the brand has strengths. For example, after Blackberry lost in the smartphone war, the technology group changed its overall strategy and focused only on security technology. Although this decision is a bit late, it still helps maintain the business until now. During the war, early recognition of failure and appropriate countermeasures is necessary, although sometimes not all businesses have the courage to admit their mistakes.

The third is Counter-offensive strategy. To make it easy to understand, imagine that our troops are safely inside a solid wall, when you detect that the enemy is about to attack, you will need to mobilize forces to counterattack. For example, Google+ is Google’s quick counterattack when Facebook attacks the social networking market. However, after a period of re-evaluating resources and market opportunities, Google withdrew this product from their ecosystem because it realized that the possibility of success was not high. Although this Google counterattack on Facebook was unsuccessful, for the case of the advances on Tiktok, though there are differences, YouTube Shorts is able to inherits many resources and features from the parent platform and is ready to protect its market share of viewers.

The fourth is the strategy of Preemptive defensive strategy, that is, actively conquering new markets to maintain its position, even though it is not yet threatened by other competitors. Take Amazon, for example, which initially entered the e-commerce market. After a long period of development and continuous improvement to rise to the top, the company embarked on a preemptive defense strategy by expanding operations into the cloud or A.I. Succeeding in both the main market (e-commerce) and adjacent markets has ensured Amazon’s leading position. This pre-emptive defensive strategy can be resource-consuming when the investment is too spread, but if done well and leaves no gaps in market share, the possibility of a new competitor in this market can challenge Amazon’s leading position by conventional means is almost nonexistent.

The fifth is the Mobile defensive strategy, which means that when businesses are aware that they are being challenged, they begin to make the necessary transformations, even giving up their share in the old market. Challenges can come from the market is no longer fertile for development, or because the competition is too fierce. For example, when clean energy sources are gradually being used, oil and gas enterprises will feel threatened. Although future oil production continues to increase, companies in this sector may face rejection from the environmentally conscious community. Therefore, they can make a transformation, such as repositioning their core values ​​to become a clean energy company, for example.

To conclude, I would like to note that the choice of strategy must be based on many factors, and no single option is superior. Defensive strategies, although often not the way to great success, are wise choices for leaders to protect their achievements. It is always necessary to consider the choice of defensive strategies, and experienced strategists must always maintain an objective perspective to choose the right one.

In the following article, I will share more about the choice of attack strategy and the notes of choosing and deploying suitable original or hybrid strategies. Hopefully, readers here have been able to apply this knowledge when analyzing and making decisions for strategic planning activities in practice.

See you in the next post,

Minh Minimal


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