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Market dominance strategies

Market dominance strategies are a type of marketing strategy that classifies firms based on their market share or dominance of an industry.

Table of contents
1 What is market dominance?
2 Market dominance strategies
3 See Also
4 Finding related topics
5 Other sources

What is market dominance?

Market dominance is a measure of the strength of a brand, product, service, or firm, relative to competitive offerings. There is often a geographic element to the competitive landscape. In defining market dominance, you must see to what extent a product , brand, or firm controls a product category in a given geographic area.

There are several ways of calculating market dominance. The most direct is market share. This is the percentage of the total market serviced by a firm or brand. A declining scale of market shares is common in most industries: that is, if the industry leader has say 50% share, the next largest might have 25% share, the next 12% share, the next 6% share, and all remaining firms combined might have 6% share.

Market share is not a perfect proxy of market dominance. We must take into account the influences of customers, suppliers, competitors in related industries, and government regulations. Although there are no hard and fast rules governing the relationship between market share and market dominance, the following are general criteria:

Market shares within an industry might not exhibit a declining scale. There could be only two firms in a duopolistic market, each with 50% share; or there could be three firms in the industry each with 33% share; or 100 firms each with 1% share. The concentration ratio of an industry is used as an indicator of the relative size of leading firms in relation to the industry as a whole. One commonly used concentration ratio is the four-firm concentration ratio, which consists of the combined market share of the four largest firms, as a percentage, in the total industry. The higher the concentration ratio, the greater the market power of the leading firms.

Alternatively, there is the Herfindahl index. It is a measure of the size of firms in relation to the industry and an indicator of the amount of competition among them. It is defined as the sum of the squares of the market shares of each individual firm. As such, it can range from 0 to 10,000, moving from a very large amount of very small firms to a single monopolistic producer. Decreases in the Herfindahl index generally indicate a loss of pricing power and an increase in competition, whereas increases imply the opposite.

Market dominance strategies

These calculations of market dominance yield quantitative metrics, but most business strategists categorize market dominance strategies in qualitative terms. Typically there are four types of market dominance strategies that a marketer will consider: There are market leader, market challenger, market follower, and market nicher.

Market leader

The market leader is dominant in it’s industry. It has substantial market share and often extensive distribution arrangements with retailers. It typically is the industry leader in developing innovative new business models and new products (although not always). It tends to be on the cutting edge of new technologies and new production processes. It sometimes has some market power in determining either price or output. Of the four dominance strategies, it has the most flexibility in crafting strategy. There are few options not open to it. However it is in a very visible position and can be the target of competitive threats and government anti-combines actions.

Research in experience curve effects and the PIMs study during the 1970s concluded that market leadership was the most profitable strategy in most industries. It was claimed that if you cannot get enough market share to be a major player, you should get out of that business and concentrate your resources where you can take advantage of experience curve effects and economies of scale, and thereby gain dominant market share. Today we recognize that other less dominant strategies can also be effective.

The main options available to market leaders are:

Market challenger

A market challenger is a firm in a strong, but not dominant position that is following an aggressive strategy of trying to gain market share. It typically targets the industry leader (for example, Pepsi targets Coke), but it could also target smaller, more vulnerable competitors. The fundamental principles involved are:

Some of the options open to a market challenger are:

Market follower

A market follower is a firm in a strong, but not dominant position that is content to stay at that position. The rationale is that by developing strategies that are parallel to those of the market leader, they will gain much of the market from the leader while being exposed to very little risk. This “play it safe” strategy is how Burger King retains its position behind McDonalds. The advantages of this strategy are:

Market nicher

In this niche strategy the firm concentrates on a select few target markets. It is also called a focus strategy. It is hoped that by focusing ones marketing efforts on one or two narrow market segments and tailoring your marketing mix to these specialized markets, you can better meet the needs of that target market. The niche should be large enough to be profitable, but small enough to be ignored by the major industry players. Profit margins are emphasized rather than revenue or market share. The firm typically looks to gain a competitive advantage through effectiveness rather than efficiency. It is most suitable for relatively small firms and has much in common with guerrilla marketing warfare strategies. The most successful nichers tend to have the following characteristics:

See Also

Finding related topics

Other sources