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How to Execute a Market Flanking Maneuver


By Brad Jarvis

Brad JarvisSituation
Although we were the leader in line matrix barcode printers, a 2003 brand survey determined that there was little market awareness that our Company also provided thermal barcode printers. We participated only in the high-end industrial sub-category of thermal printers with 7.6% market share. There were 6 main competitors with greater market share in thermal printers, and the main competitor possessed greater than 30% market share.

We were looking for a way to increase brand presence, but determined that a frontal attack on the main competitor would have little chance of success and thus be a waste of time and resources. With so many viable competitive alternatives in the market, it was very difficult for us to get our marketing voice heard and build presence in the market with users, partners and channel for traditional thermal barcode printers.

Our highly targeted guerrilla sales efforts, and outstanding product support, had created close relationships with technology partners and major accounts in the retail market.  Through these relationships we were early to identify a new supply chain technology known as RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) which created a market opportunity for modified thermal barcode printers.

How Strategic Marketing Course Concepts Apply

Company marketing and management felt that with a good solution strategy and targeted sales execution, the RFID label printing application presented us with an opportunity.   We believed that by focusing on the small, but fast growing, RIFD printer segment we could use Flanking Strategy against our largest competitor and gain thermal printer market share, if not directly from that main player, then at the expense of all the other smaller thermal printer suppliers.