Friday, August 1, 2008

Market Like An Insurgent Part I - "Know Your Adversary"

Be An Expert On Your Adversary

By David Miranda

To succeed as a marketing insurgent, you must first have a thorough understanding of your adversary which includes their leadership, command and organizational structure, culture, resources (both those deployed and in reserve), strategy and tactics (past and current), strengths and vulnerabilities, constraints, and their business cycle behavior.

Leadership - This is the brains of the enterprise. An insurgent needs to know who these people are and what makes them tick. Is the leadership aggressive or risk averse? Are they riding a wave of confidence or are they under fire? Are they dismissive of threats or vigilant?

Command & Organizational Structure - Does the adversary have a cumbersome bureacracy of many decision-making layers or are decisions delegated to empowered front liners?

Culture - Does the adversary encourage new ideas and innovation or do they embrace the status quo?

Resources - What is the level and quality of resources deployed to run the business? Does the adversary have significant resources in reserve to mount a counter-attack or survive a siege?

Strategy & Tactics - How does the adversary "play the game"? Study their strategy and seek out the pockets of opportunity. Observe their tactics to determine how they deal with changing market conditions and competitive threats.

Strengths and Vulnerabilities - An insurgent cannot go toe to toe with an adversary strengths. This will just deplete precious resources that a strong adversary can overcome with superior resources. Look for the Achilles Heal instead to exploit.

Constraints - What restrictions does the adversary have that constrains their performance? For example is the exploitable too small, too local, or too costly to pursue?

Business Cycle Behavior - What is the adversary business cycle? Where are the peaks and troughs of their business? How do they behave during these periods of high and low demand? Do they cut advertising during slow periods and spend more during peake periods or vice versa?
Coming Next - Market Like An Insurgent Part II - "Know The Terrain".