In marketing, attack is usually the best means of defence.
IN business academia, marketing is a multi-faceted discipline
that embraces everything your company does, from product
planning and development to the time the consumer takes the
product home in his warm, eager hands. In the context of this
book, marketing is what you do:
to seduce the consumer to try your product rather than someone else's;
to entice the consumer to come back for more, and
to make it hellishly difficult for foreign invaders to poach in your sector
of the market.
HOW DO YOU ACHIEVE THESE IDEALS?
Through carefully targeted, objective-driven:
WHAT'S THE FIRST STEP?
Get to know your market. Intimately. Which the American
Wrigley Company didn't do. So it lost the first skirmish in
the battle to usurp locally produced Beechies chewing gum from
its dominant position in the South African market.
Royal Beech-Nut expected Wrigley to spearhead its invasion
with its famous strip chewing gum. Since Royal didn't have a
product to match it, it quickly developed look-and-taste-alike
Edge to block Wrigley's entry.
Royal launched Edge before Wrigley's arrival and
positioned it price-wise somewhat below what Wrigley was
expected to charge.
But Wrigley didn't move into South Africa with its strip
gum. It entered with its P.K. brand, a bean chewing gum
product similar to Royal's Beechies.
Royal had to change its strategy. Fast. Quick thinking
led to The Beechies Plan to counter the Wrigley Threat. The
plan, in turn, led to:
The Beechies' chewing gum bean was increased in size to
match Wrigley's P.K. beans. The pack was redesigned to
emphasise more strongly the brand name.
And the plan didn't end there.
Royal introduced The Hit Squad concept to block Wrigley's
distribution efforts. In essence, it called for a fleet of
vans to go from shop to shop to lay claim to the best shelf
space for Beechies. Since black consumers make up an
estimated 60% of the chewing gum market, Royal ensured that
the vans called at township cafés and spazas as well as
downtown and suburban shops.
And Royal also paid a great deal of attention to in-store
displays, particularly at point-of-sale. Surveys conducted
every two months measured progress. Or lack of it. Weak
areas uncovered by the surveys were quickly strengthened. In
addition, Royal offered incentives to sales force personnel
for each new Beechies in-store stand erected.
Wrigley had made two near-fatal errors.
It short-circuited market research. It entered the
market with one product, Wrigley's P.K. to cater for
Even minimum research would have revealed
that most blacks, the dominant market force for this
product category, have different tastes to most
Wrigley entered the market with the arrogant misconception that everyone in South Africa was aware of
its product's brand name. Few, if any of the blacks
had heard of it.
And to compound these faults, the Wrigley launch in South
Africa did nothing to promote brand awareness among consumers.
It spent most of its effort on print ads in trade magazines,
devoting only two radio spots a week on Radio 702 to consumer
Even Wrigley's choice of medium, Radio 702, essentially a
'talk' station, failed to home in on the mass of its potential
market - young, music-loving blacks.
WHAT COMES NEXT?
Design or adapt your product to meet the demands of local
conditions. Because you know - or should know - what's wanted
and needed locally, you start with a built-in competitive
At Nissan, for instance, the updating, design and
introduction of new products is a continuous process. Indeed,
within the next three years the company plans to update all
passenger vehicles it introduced over the past three years.
Nissan South Africa enjoys close affiliations with Nissan
Japan - an affiliation that recent media speculation suggests
will become even closer. This link gives the local company
access to a w health of research and development data.
It helps, of course. But, ultimately, adaptations must be made in South
Africa to tailor the product to the needs of the local market.
If you feel threatened by foreign competitor ...
STEP UP YOUR ADVERTISING
That's what BIC, with around 35% of the South African
ballpoint pen market, plans to do.
Ballpoint pen manufacturers usually spend between 5% and
7% of their annual turnover on advertising. To keep offshore
competitors out of its market, BIC is prepared to increase its
ad budget by as much as 100% This will force foreign would-be
usurpers to pour money into advertising for about three years
before they make a meaningful impression.
So foreign companies that want to cash in on the domestic
market will be forced to out-advertise the local brand
With no guarantee of success, it could prove to be an
expensive exercise in futility.
And if advertising alone doesn't work ...
LAUNCH NEW PRODUCTS AND MOTIVATE YOUR SALES TEAM
The ABSA group has developed a three-pronged strategy to
discourage foreign poachers and enlarge its client base.
persist with its present promotion strategy - a
combination of advertising and sports
introduce innovative, price-competitive products, which include a range of
ATM-related products that are still on the hush-hush list, and
improve client service by motivating sales personnel through ongoing
PROMOTE THE BRAND NAME
Whether ABI denies it or not, Coca-Cola has been hurt by
the proliferation of store-brand colas. And Pepsi's re-entry
into the market could pour salt the wound.
But ABI is determined to remain the recognised fizz market
leader by aggressively marketing the unique trademarks of
Coca-Cola, Schweppes and SparLetta to 'grow its sales ahead of
When Coca-Cola's entrenched marketing strategy was
splintered by Coke look-alike store-brand cola packaging, ABI
went to court. Makro, which markets American Cola, won the law suit, opening
the door for a flood of other colas in livery that closely resembles Coke's.
ABI responded with a massive advertising campaign designed
to make consumers brand aware.
'Brand is all we've got'
The Fatti's & Moni's brand name has been around for 75 years.
So consumers put their trust in any product that's branded Fatti's & Moni's. Or so Trevor Rogers claims.
As an example, he cites how his company's Pasta and Sauce,
competing against Royco, grabbed 25% of the market by volume
and 'probably much more by value' without advertising support.
If your branding is stale ...
REFURBISH AND REBRAND YOUR PRODUCT
The Southern Sun Hotel Group did. Very successfully. The
group continually 'rubs shoulders with international
standards'. So it's sure of what it wants to achieve and how
to go about achieving it. That's why it recently splurged
R500-million on a hotel revamping and rebranding programme.
After conversion in February 1992 from The Landrost to
the Bloemfontein Holiday Inn Garden Court, room
occupancy zoomed by 250%.
In Durban, The Maharani, converted to a Holiday Inn
Garden Court in April 1993, experienced a 100% rise in
The Newlands in Cape Town saw room occupancy leap by
70% after conversion to a Holiday Inn Garden Court in
Room occupancy increased by 60% after the Johannesburg
Sun was converted to a Holiday Inn Garden Court in
These conversions weren't made on the strength of a whim.
They were made after in-depth research by Mac Group a firm of
consultants. They prepared documents in collaboration with
Southern Sun to show where and how the group slotted into the
hotel industry, the size of the industry and the strengths and
weaknesses of the group in relation to those of competitors.
What motivated the rebranding and conversion process?
The expected influx in the number of foreign, budget-
conscious tourists and the severe drop in local disposable
The Southern Sun Group now markets five distinct brands:
Southern Sun Hotels - four and five-star hotels that
cater for upmarket business and international leisure
Southern Sun Resorts - three and four-star hotels that
concentrate on the family leisure and conference
Holiday Inn Garden Court - hotels that provide low-
priced, quality accommodation, and
Formula 1 - limited service hotels for the low-
Adaptations to hotel service structures were based on a
decision to become more brand focused and customer-driven.
By carefully delineating the various niche markets with
the five new brands, Southern Sun will be able to address the
specific needs of customers.
The group may also consider an alliance with an
international five-star hotel if such a hotel were to be
constructed in South Africa.
In such a case, Southern Sun will manage the hotel for the
international chain and share Southern Sun's and the chain's
brand names. For example, the Sandton Sun-Hyatt.
To maximise on brand awareness, you must ...
POSITION YOUR PRODUCT CORRECTLY
A classic recent case: the battle between Nestlé's Bar-One
and the American Mars Company's Mars Bar. Both products are
so similar you'd be forgiven for thinking they're identical.
In fact, Nestlé admits that it based its Bar-One on Mars Bar.
There's another similarity. Product positioning.
Nestlé deliberately positioned Bar-One as 'the brand for
the super-active' - the identical position of Mars Bar in the
The rationale behind Nestlé's thinking is simple.
If Mars tries to position itself as the brand for the
super-active in South Africa, consumers will perceive it as a
copy of Bar-One. To reposition it as something else would
mean starting from scratch - akin to launching a new brand, a
costly process that is not justified in South Africa's
relatively small and cluttered market.
If conventional ads don't do the job ...
To cement relationships with its customers, Adcock Ingram
employs a mix of below-the-line marketing techniques. These
include sponsoring doctors' attendance at conferences,
inviting doctors to watch major sporting events as company
guests in the company box and free use of Adcock Ingram's
conference and training facilities.
New promotion strategy
And Sappi, which has increased its promotion budget by
R1-million, has earmarked more for below-the-line activity.
In addition to more intensive advertising, the new promotion
strategy involves incentive schemes for merchants, which
include gift vouchers and free holidays.
The company also runs a Million Mania competition targeted
at ad agencies and paper specifiers. Contestants submit jobs
printed on Sappi papers. The winners get R3 000 to spend on
the Million Mania slot machines at Sun City. Other
competitions include 'Printer and Designer of the Year'.
International judges present awards to winners at a banquet.
For the best results ...
LET MARKETING LEAD
At Carlton Paper, marketing, manufacturing and logistics
now work together as a team to enhance customer service.
Of particular interest are changes in the manufacturing processes. These
have become more focused in terms of both technology and customers.
Manufacturing now falls under marketing. Marketing leads the organisation.
It orchestrates the co-ordination of Carlton Paper's functions. Marketers
keep in touch with consumers. They find out what consumers want and, with
technical people, translate it into product design. Marketers also liaise
with people at factory floor level.
Marketers at Carlton Paper have changed from being individual specialists to
people who understand the business ... people who appreciate and understand
trade-offs between manufacturing and selling.
And if all else fails ...
DEVELOP A NEW STRATEGY
South African Airways had a problem: rising costs coupled
to empty seats. So it designed a new marketing strategy to
decrease costs while increasing revenue without increasing
By discounting fares to sell empty seats and revising
operating schedules to improve aircraft utilisation.
As part of the strategy, the airline laid on more late
night and early morning flights.
Communicating the strategy to potential passengers
involves the use of direct response advertising.
In addition to selling seats to improve the per-seat-
yield, SAA designed its communications module to create a more
desirable perception of the airline among potential
developed and introduced its now popular Frequent
devised all-inclusive tourist packages in co-operation
with leading hotel groups and car-rental companies;
holds 'Fly With Confidence' seminars to help fearful
passengers overcome their anxieties about flying, and
spends R100-million a year to promote and develop
tourism in South Africa.
In addition SAA has developed a 10-point 'Project
Success' plan which, when implemented, will:
improve aircraft productivity;
enhance the utilisation of human resources;
review financing costs;
reorganise the airline, and
build international alliances.
Study your market until you know it inside out.
Modify or adapt your product to meet the needs of
Regularly introduce innovative new products to keep
Position your product correctly to block easy market
entry by foreign invaders.
Use all available forms of communication to create
Use tightly targeted, high-impact advertising to
Deploy below-the-line media and methods to cement
bonds with consumers and build brand loyalty.
Motivate and incentivise your sales team.