The final review
 

 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 Japan.


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:

  • direct investment;

  • acquisition;

  • buy-outs

  • partnerships or alliances;

  • licensing agreements;

  • dumping;

  • price-cutting, or

  • better customer service.

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 your market.


INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY

 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:

  • skills training;

  • motivation;

  • incentive programmes;

  • automating.

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 share.


PRICE-CUTTING STRATEGIES

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 products;

  • you can maintain your price and add value by providing World Class Customer Service, or

  • 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 price war.


IMPROVE DISTRIBUTION

 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.

Prev   Next

  Authors Note
    Introduction
     
1. Protection Gets the Bullet
     
2. Perceive the Threat
     
3. Define the 'Get In' Strategy
     
4. A Quick Backward Glance-1
     
5. The Importance of Pricing
     
6. Vital Ingredients: Products and Productivity
     
7. Customer Service: On the Backburner
     
8. A Quick Backward Glance-2
     
9. Preventative Strategies: Price and Service Quality
     
10. Preventative Strategies: The Ramparts of Distribution
     
11. Preventative Strategies: Management - to restructure?
     
12. Preventative Strategies: Market Aggressively to Win
     
13. A Quick Backward Glance-3
     
14. In Conclusion
     
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