Concentration and Focus for Strategic Advantage
While studying the great leaders of the military and products that have become industry leaders, I have found one common trait in their successes. They both use the concept of Concentration of Forces and the Focus necessary for their success in action.
Concentration of Forces has been used by military strategies since biblical times. The Romans used it, the Germans used it Europe during WWII and the US forces used it on D-Day and in both Iraq wars. So what are we talking about? Concentration of Forces in war time is a natural thing (if you believe war is a natural thing?) and is used with great success.
So how does this work? The military planners start figuring out how to mass a superior force that can overcome any type of resistance in the target area. They look for an area that they can attack, where a smaller enemy force is located, and an area that can be use logistics to keep the advance going without issues. They take the time to figure out all the details, to get local information about the enemy and conditions within the territory. They look for potential choke points that would slow down the advance once it is started. And, they train the specialist required for the strategy to work.
History has shown us all the tactics, planning sessions and actual results from this historical battles. Battles where smaller -yet concentrated – forces handily defeat larger armies. Battles where the favored or larger forces are handly defeated due to the speed and efficiency of the concentrated force.
So, how does this information help you the leader of an organization? Well, the two most important areas of opportunity include 1.) New product launches and 2.) Market Share growth or protection in a selected territory.
New product launches are the most common use of Concentration and Focus Strategies. The tactics are somewhat different depending upon the market share or rank on your company. If you are the market leader in an industry, then your concentration of forces will be focused upon an national roll-out of the new product. One coordinated effort by the sales and marketing teams launched upon the world at the same time. Meetings are held to discuss the new product, tactics are devised to introduce them to key accounts, projections are built off these tactics and the supply chains prepare for a maximum effort of shipping and delivery. One of the key missions of the large company to set the stage for this new product or service using solution based teaser ads or talk. The larger company or market leader in a product or service line, will use every resource in their arsenal or tool box for this global or national roll-out.
The smaller or niche company will use the Concentration of force tactic in a selected territory or industry niche. They will train their sales people and support people for the targeted roll-out. Teaching the team how to win with this new product or service. They learn the advantages being offered to their customers. They will also focus upon the key accounts (like a selected beach head in war) that make a difference in the marketplace due to influence or volume of usage. The key is to distract the larger competitor into another area with a quick assault on new business while preparing for the major assault on the selected accounts or territory. Then, all at once a coordinated and concentrated drive for new business and selling the new product takes place. Getting a foothold in major accounts is a major win – particularly with a new product that is not being offered by anyone else to date. Beware of the tactic used by the major competitors of discounting a new product by telling customers “that we have that opinion now (usually a false answer – offering a generic product instead.) or if you will wait, we have that planned for release on such and such date!” These are standard counter attacks to smaller niche companies that enter the territory of the market share leaders.
I will discuss the Marketshare strategies on a later blog post. Marketshare is a critical issue in business and needs its own space and explanation. If you are dealing with strategic issues and need someone to assist your organization in establishing a winning and growth oriented strategy – then contact our office at 901-757-4434 and ask for Voss.