May 18, 2011

Defence is better than Attack in Marketing Strategy

Most SMEs in developing countries like India do not budget for marketing and hit the road without a clearly differentiated marketing strategy. Result? They get stuck in a situation that would leave no option for them but to go for a strategic retreat in order to prepare for attack at a later day. Therefore instead marching forward on the strength of incremental gains accrued with each plan period they are forced to land up in a loop that offers no clue about direction of growth.

There are many organizations that would just produce or acquire products, then without any marketing inputs,  leave the rest to the marketing forces to liquidate the inventory whenever that happens. Such thinking is risky and very costly. Your customers are always looking for options and you competition would love to undermine your offer, therefore you can not wait for attack on your brands from different direction before you unleash your counter. Although in pure marketing context, an attack may not be the most potent defense.

Let me mention the examples from our home grown brands like 'Monte Carlo', 'Haldiram' and many more like them. None of these brands despite demand & marketing potential could go on to become a formidable force to take on the competition. On the other hand, dairy brand like Amul, Verka etc have successfully warded off powerful MNC attack on their consumers segments and mounted a devastating counter on the shining MNC players like HUL in ice cream market.

An organisation howsoever small in size must budget for marketing activities so that they remain capable of mounting a surprise attack when threatened. I personally believe, and my long experience indicates so, that a defensive strategy is always preferable over any form of attack. Many MSME organisations have lost precious market domination opportunities presented by the growing middles class consumption in India. There is huge potential for home grown brands in food, Apparel, Engineering, Education & Chemicals in India. Unfortunately we do not undertake sustained marketing campaigns.

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