Become the market leader
In case you are the market leader, everyone else wants your share of the market so everyone is your enemy. Your career is to ruthlessly defend your territory. In case your enemies are smart, they don’t attack head-on. Instead, they will choose areas of weakness that you haven’t defended yourself and exploit them to their own advantage. Over time, they will swipe your customers, take the share, disrupt your markets, watching in amusement as the resources are scattered fighting little distractions occasionally. That’s what attackers do.
Now simply because this post is about market leadership, it’s only fitting that we should start with the basics. Before we discuss what a leader has to do, let’s cover off why market leadership is really a big deal to begin with. All things considered, if you don’t understand the price of the market leadership position, you’ll not appreciate why it is so important to fight to ensure that is stays.
WHY MARKET LEADERSHIP Is very important.
The reason market leadership is important is not the revenue (although that’s obviously very important). It is not the status to become the leader either (eventhough it does help build an ego). The reason why leadership is important is simply because most customers would rather buy from leaders. Of course, you’ll always obtain the fringe-dwellers that as some kind of protest support the underdog but, generally speaking, most customers want to deal with leaders.
So customers create management. They perceive leaders to get better (otherwise why are they going to be leaders?) plus they perceive leaders to be a safer purchase. Everyone is like sheep. In the event the majority votes you the greatest, the majority must be right. In order that they buy from where everybody else buys, thus strengthening the leader’s position.
It is hard for a challenger brand to dislodge a market leader if the leader is actively defending territory. Time and resources have to be deployed to address over a sustained stretch of time. Not all challengers will be in the position to attack for lengthy periods of time since it takes a significant amount of resources as a way to relentlessly pursue a leader. (It’s fun though.)
But leaders are certainly not invincible. Some get arrogant and complacent, a little too big for their boots. They get depressed by internal issues like changes to senior management, or fall victim to regulatory interference, and this offers challengers a simple opportunity to strike. Market leaders do slip to challenger position (and it is a bit of a bumpy ride downwards). In the event it happens to you, you’ll have to switch ways to become an attacker yourself.
ADVANTAGES Along the side of THE MARKET LEADER.
Within the armory enjoyed by the leader are:
Greater resources to use in defending an industry territory.
Often leaders can outgun competitors on all fronts – outspending them in advertising, having bigger plus more comprehensive distribution channels, enjoying higher brand profile, plus much more.
Time to defend.
Since no-one learns advertising anymore, a challenger’s message will get lost. This gives the first choice time to respond. A leader usually hears competitive messages before most of the market does and just outspends the challenger.
Distribution Channels favor the Market Leader.
Shelf space can be a valuable commodity, along with the best positions favour the item that sells inside the greatest volume. In other words, it favors the market industry leader. The same is true for distributors and third-party agents that require volume sales to earn commission.
Brand profile favors the marketplace Leader.
More people buy “known” brands than “unknown” ones since positive branding instills a sense of trust. Brand profile is vital since it is the mechanism used by marketers to facilitate the selling process, and also the mechanism used by people to reduce their purchase risk.
Development of barriers to market entry favor the Market Leader.
There are numerous ways that a Market Leader causes it to be hard for competitors, which range from the use of legal instruments like patent protection (common within the pharmaceutical and information technology industries) through creation of market barriers such as exclusive distribution contracts, exclusive supply contracts, restricted entry to essential channels, market or government monopoly status or eliminating experienced staff from your market.
Using an Existing Subscriber base favors the Market Leader.
Creating a customer base is always a strategic advantage, specifically if you are closely linked to them. An established customer has a relationship already together with the brand, and has a degree of confidence and trust in it that it will donrrrt you have in an untried brand. Strategies may be deployed to “lock down” a current customer base, such as contracting which is common in the telecommunication industry.
The dimensions of the customer base favors the marketplace Leader.
Large customer bases assist you to use the size to your advantage. Size offers critical mass. Cost advantages come with scale, including the opportunity to amortize cost across good sized quantities. In addition, having a large subscriber base reduces risk. Those companies which depend on one or two key customers for survival can find themselves in the risky position if one or both of those customers place their business elsewhere.
STRATEGIES MARKET LEADERS DEPLOY.
A market leader always plays defense.
They counter panic or anxiety attack with equal or greater force.
They defend important markets.
They remain vigilant in scanning for potential attackers. (What this means is they must assess the strength of the competitor and consider the support that an attacker might muster from allies.)
They attack themselves before a competitor has got the opportunity to attack them.
Is the leader is the advantageous position. Playing defense is less complicated than attacking since you have a greater potential for winning. However you will find key challenger brand advantages that this leader needs to bear in mind. These advantages include:
The sympathy vote.
The regulatory framework.
Challenger Brands are not by yourself.
Challenger brand believability.
Market leader complacency.
To effectively negate a challenger brand’s competitive attacks, a niche leader’s important territories have to be identified, defense plans laid, and strategies deployed, such as the creation of moving targets, securing fringes and niches, and pre-emptive strikes to contain competitive damage.