When the firm is not a market leader, defensive strategies are not relevant. Instead, the company must take an active position and approach the leader via different means. There are five methods that enterprises may use to challenge their superior rivals. These are the frontal attack, flank attack, encirclement attack, bypass attack, and guerilla attack. Successful implementation of a particular strategy may help the follower to obtain a larger market and eventually become the new leader in the market.
A frontal attack is one of the basic strategies of aggressive marketing. The idea is that the competing firm manufactures the same product as the leader, and offers them at the same price as the leader. However, the company needs to convince consumers that they will not lose in quality of the goods. For instance, Etihad may set the same prices as Emirates and provide flights to the same destinations as the leading company.
A flank attack is about concentrating on the leader’s weak points. For instance, Apple’s phones are too expensive for the majority of people. Many companies use this weakness successfully to reach more customers. For example, Chinese Xiaomi produces much cheaper smartphones but with similar technical capabilities. Etihad can also provide flights for a lower price than Emirates to win a portion of its market share.
An encirclement attack is a combination of both frontal and flank attack strategies. The objective of this method is to pressure the leader from all sides. When the leader has to defend on all fronts, it has to spend a substantial amount of human and financial resources. Continuing this for long periods of time may provide the challenger with a long-term dominance in the market by depleting the current leader.
A bypass attack is when the challenger does not approach the leader directly, but rather, explores other markets and diversifies its product portfolio. For instance, Etihad can start offering suite rooms in their commercial flights before Emirates does, thus capturing a significant portion of the market share when there is no competition. The challenger should anticipate the next move of the leader and act before the leader launches its product in the new market.
Guerilla warfare is the last type of offensive marketing tactic. Guerilla attacks are not continuous and do not pursue the objective of obtaining a larger market share. Instead, this strategy is aimed at demoralizing the opponent by using advertising, mocking, and other activities. For instance, Samsung publishes commercials that often mock the iPhone’s weaknesses, such as fast battery drain, high price tag, the design that does not change, and the absence of a headphone jack.