USE this review as a checklist when you plot your company's
strategy to fight off foreign corporations that want to
intrude on your turf.
ARE YOU THREATENED?
Determine whether you'll be subject to attack by
keeping a wary eye on developments in your sector of
commerce or industry. You can glean much valuable
information by scanning the business sections of
newspapers and trade magazines. If necessary,
subscribe to a press clipping bureau that monitors
relevant overseas publications.
FROM WHICH DIRECTION?
Establish from which direction you're likely to be
attacked by attending all locally held foreign trade
shows that cover your areas of operation. And keep a
wary eye on visiting trade delegations. They're
usually more interested in selling than buying.
Make sure the ramparts of your defensive system face
the right direction. It's pointless pointing your big
guns in the direction of the United States and Europe
if the main assault will be launched from Pakistan or
HOW WILL THE INVADER GET IN?
Define the invader's 'get in' strategy. You can't
take any effective counter-action if you don't know
what weapons he'll use to attack you. Most usurpers
will try to infiltrate your territory by:
Many invaders - probably the majority,
particularly those based in Pacific Rim countries - will elect to 'get in' by slashing prices, forsaking profits until they've sliced deeply into
Although imported products don't always match the quality of those
manufactured locally, higher levels of productivity overseas often make
foreign products more price competitive.
Methods of increasing productivity include:
ENHANCE CUSTOMER SERVICE QUALITY
The general standard of customer service in South Africa rarely arises
above the level of mediocre. Many of those seeking to invade South African
markets provide customer service of exceptional quality. If you can't match
or better the quality of their service, you're bound to lose market
To combat price-cutting strategies, you have several options. You can:
slash prices to meet those of your competitor;
maintain your prices and add value by improving the quality of your
you can maintain your price and add value by providing World Class Customer
you can increase your prices and target an exclusive niche market.
The option you select will depend on five variables:
(a) The type of product you market.
(b) The size of your market.
(c) The character of your market.
(d) The intensity of the competition.
(e) Your ability and the competition's ability to withstand a prolonged
The organisation of your channels of distribution has a major
impact on the quality of customer service you provide. Constant out-of-stock
situations indicate you need to radically overhaul the logistics. Poor
distribution can lead to cancelled orders and drive frustrated customers
into other more efficient arms.
RESTRUCTURE YOUR MANAGEMENT ORGANISATION
Lean, flat corporate structures that eliminate unnecessary layers of
management to shorten the communications chain and empower frontline staff
respond quicker to market fluctuations and customer requests.
MARKET TO WIN
In the context of this book, you use marketing to:
build customer interest in your product;
create brand awareness;
entice the consumer to buy;
build brand loyalty, and
make it more costly, through extensive advertising, for foreign invaders to
poach in your sector of the market.
Commit you defence plan to paper. Discuss it with key members of your staff.
Ask for their input and incorporate practical suggestions. Rewrite your
plan, if necessary. Keep it flexible to exploit changing circumstances and
'get in' strategies. Expect attack from any direction. You could find
yourself under fire from the most unlikely sources.