This article is part of a series on marketing strategy wars by the author.
In my last article I talked about attribute ownership and how one can create an attribute, try to see which section of the market likes that and attract them to it. I also talked about how even a negative attribute can sometimes be used to attract customers and I guess this made many readers very curious. Before I proceed let me give an example of how a negative attribute can be used to magnetize customers.
I guess most people know car rental rivals Hertz and Avis. There was a time when Hertz was the clear winner and Avis was a far second. Avis was struggling to zero in on the one attribute that they could use to win at least some section of the crowd to its counters. They came up with a brilliant idea and an attribute which they conveyed very well. It is supposed to have done wonders to their revenue. Their punch line was “Our lines are shorter” targeting that irritable, busy business person in you that would think “I can’t wait in these long lines of Hertz”. It’s amazing how they used a negative attribute to their strength. The lesson which I took away and I want to convey to all entrepreneurs like me is to believe that even if we are in the dumps, very carefully analyze your positioning and your competitors positioning. I am sure there is something you can highlight and use to appeal to some section of the community which wants that “highlight”. If you can find that attribute to emphasize on that should be good enough for you to get out of the rut and be profitable.
Another statement on which I got more comments and questions was – what do you mean by “strategy is choosing to run a different race because it’s one you set yourself to win”? It’s actually something we came up with after countless hours spent playing cricket. We in S7 used to be big on sports (in i7 Networks too, as soon as we are at least some 8+ cricket guys, we will start the tradition again) and our mantra was rain or shine play cricket every Tuesday and we carried a lot of the team game spirit back into business. I can talk for hours on how entrepreneurs can learn from sports on how to play and how to win – will keep this topic for another day though.
The story (real one) goes like this: we as usual split into teams to play cricket and it so happened that the other team had heavy hitters and our team had nimble runners . So very smartly we changed the rules so that there are no 4s or 6s but we need to run for every run we score and guess what happened, every hit did not get them four or six runs but got only one or two as that’s the max they could run and guess who won. Translate this to the business world – Be smart and “run” a different race which you set yourself to win. You can set it up anyway you want, just make sure that you know the terrain you play on, the team you are playing against and set the rules for you to win. This is strategy.
Currently the CEO of i7 Networks, Nextgen Bandwidth Analytics Company, Manjunath M Gowda’s expertise includes setting up, managing & running software companies (business) in India. Being a successful entrepreneur, he is extremely good in creating Go to market (GTM) strategies, segmentation, competitive analysis, strategic placing and monetizing ideas.