competitive advantage Art advantage over competitors gained by offering consumers greater value, either through lower prices or by providing more benefits thatjustify higher prices.
competitor analysis The process of identifying key competitors; assessing their objectives, strategies, strengths and •weaknesses, and reaction patterns; and selecting which competitors to attack or avoid.
Today, understanding customers is not enough. This is a period of intense competition, both foreign and domestic. Many economies are deregulating and encouraging market forces to operate. The EU is removing trade barriers among European nations and deregulating many previously protected markets. Multinationals are moving aggressively into the south-east Asian markets and competing globally. The result is that companies have no choice but to be 'competitive'. They must start paying as much attention to tracking their competitors as to understanding target customers. FedEx at first succeeded by being innovative and providing an excellent service that competitors could not match. Although it was the leader in the United States, its competitive advantage was diminished in the European market where it found new competitors and some of its old competitors already well established. It was not enough for FedEx to invest and provide an excellent service globally. It had to understand how customers and competitors vary across the globe and learn how to be a challenger in new markets.
Under the marketing concept, companies gain competitive advantage by designing offers that satisfy target-consumer needs better than competitors1 offers. They might deliver more customer value by offering consumers lower prices than competitors for similar products and services, or by providing more benefits that justify higher prices. Marketing strategies must consider the strategies of competitors as well as the needs of target consumers. The first step is competitor analysis: the process of identifying key competitors; assessing their objectives, strengths and weaknesses, strategies and reaction patterns; and selecting which competitors to attack or avoid. The second step is developing competitive strategies that strongly position the company against competitors and give the company the strongest possible competitive advantage.
competitive strategics Strategies that strongly position the company against competitors and that give the company the strongest possible strategic advantage.
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