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The Science of Taking Market Share from Competitors

by: Thomas Beyer
on: December 7, 2016
Wordcount: 998

Approach and Culture Drive Execution

Political economists and stakeholders dependent on the consumer’s fiscal irresponsibility continue to tell us the US/World economy is improving month over month. Yet, capital spending, hiring, and a host of other key indicators tell us that business leaders are not convinced. The most skilled Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) have recognized for awhile now that GDP is fluctuating in an anemic range. In short, we have a stagnant or what others have called a “muddle through economy”. So, what are CMO’s in slow growth industries focusing on to increase their top line? They want market share, your market share, and their taking it!

A proper evaluation of market share considers all the chairs within the marketing discipline. However if we want to deliver results then we need to address two pillars related to execution which are Culture and Approach. Marketers who learned their craft in the 1970-80’s remember too well their organization’s cultural shifts and changes in approach that helped them successfully snatch market share from their competitors. A lost art, so to speak.

This post takes a refreshing look at these pillars and how disruptive technologies and purposeful vision can transform a stagnant market participant into an innovative industry force.

Culture- The Role of Systemization, Innovation and Nostalgia

As CMOs, when it’s time to focus on market share, we initiate a shift in our department’s mindset and attack. The challenge in today’s technology driven disruptive environment is that the competitive landscape is shifting every few months. If we are going to succeed at acquiring market share, a shift in mindset must take place throughout the organization. Fortunately, the cultural aspects that are responsible for lack of growth often provide the CMO a vision for improvement. These areas include systemizing change, integrating innovation as a sustainable component of your business model, and eliminating a propensity toward a nostalgic mindset. The process doesn’t change overnight, but it happens quickest when CMOs lead the charge.
Systemizing Change- Companies that are thriving in this economy (that aren’t benefactors of government spending sprees), are students of change. Change isn’t a distraction, its’ a launching pad for competitive advantage. Whether it’s a tech company that was born of disruptive DNA or industrial company whose management team “gets it”, these companies are geared up to take market share.

Innovation as Part of The Business Model

If you evaluate the business models of these companies you will find that their internal processes and systems are integrated with the expectation that tomorrow will be different than today and they will profit from it.

Nostalgic Thinking Limits Your Future

Perhaps one of the most strikingly obvious tenants of cultural change in Marketing is that contentment with the past drains innovation. It makes us less aware of future prospects. Think of it this way, did social media set out take advertising revenues away from the publishing industry, or was it an accident? Let’s not be naive, nostalgic thinking confines the creative mind and opens the doors for the competition. If you want to take someone’s share of the market, hang your wins on the wall and get back to work.

Approach- The Path to Market Share Acquisition

The cultural implications of systematizing change are so striking that management should be prepared for what will happen next. CMO’s who are successfully negotiating the new economy recognize that buying processes have changed and will change again. In their timely article entitled, “Do you Really Understand How your Business Customers Buy? Lingqvist, Plotkin & Stanley of McKinsey & Co. tell us, “The winning CMO’s go to great lengths to map this customer’s buying journey. They bravely reallocate resources and require marketing to work closely with sales at every key juncture of the journey.” They influence the influencer. And when they have it just right, when inquiries are up, new accounts are increasing, and sales cycle times are falling, they get ready, because the culture of change and disruption is just around the corner, and they’re going to flush it out and take another client from their competitor.

Here’s an enlightening exercise. Have your staff create a map of what they believe is a customer’s buying journey. Then go out and ask 10 customers the process they went through to decide to buy from you. You’ll likely see definable differences. (McKinsey & Co authors tell us that an average B2B customer use 6 different interaction channels throughout the decision journey- 65% come away frustrated by an inconsistent process) After you’ve identified the differences get some people from sales and marketing, put them in a room with the updated decision journey and answer these two questions, “what steps in the buying journey can we effect and how? Are there steps we cannot effect and why?” Next, make a plan and identify the resources required to influence the journey. Commit your resources and execute a test.
Next, let’s go after market share. Select either your top 20 potential prospects (especially if they belong to a competitor), and apply the process. Be prepared to adjust your strategy, and plan on resistance from the non-sales and marketing folks. You’ll know you’re on the right path when you start to see more leads, more new clients, and quicker closings, and the operational team is feeling the pressure.

Playing to Win

In today’s fast paced business environment, seemingly untouchable companies are teetering on the brink because change is a sustainable influence on their business model. For those that have adapted by inception, default or planning, they’re at this very moment not just taking market share from their competitors, they are taking revenues from other industries that never saw them coming. Given the unpredictable economy market share acquisition is currently one of the most relevant objectives of today’s marketing strategy, consider taking a closer a look at how it can work for you.


market share