If there’s one field where every move is about what others are doing, that’s marketing. The theory of marketing relativity is something that has been discussed by all marketing gurus over the time. It’s the basic concept of differentiation, being different from the competitors. In strategy, it’s called Blue Ocean. It’s what the positioning statement or the perceptual map is entirely based on. But if that’s the case, then why does it seem that some companies aren’t trying to differentiate themselves and just following other players in the market?
The Theory of Marketing Relativity : How companies are addressing it
There are two reasons behind that; firstly though it might seem that those companies aren’t differentiating themselves; they actually are. The common misconception about marketing is that it is all about advertising. But in reality, advertisement is just the tip of the iceberg. So if it seems that the advertisements aren’t really talking about something unique to the brand, consumers might feel that there’s nothing differentiating about those brands. Yet they do so well in the market. In reality, they have different sets of differentiating strategies in place which are advancing them. E.g, how is Xiaomi different from Samsung? Among other things, it’s cheaper. Then how is Xiaomi different from Oneplus? Among other things, it has a wider distribution network. In some markets, Xiaomi reached faster than OnePlus, and thus become the first mover for the target market. This example is also on the more obvious side, because you can see the prices. There are some brands which might look totally same on surface but have mechanisms on the backgrounds which are working for them. They might have exclusive agreements with distributors, a different discount scheme, or association with established complementary brands.
The second reason is that some brands don’t care about differentiating. They know they won’t be able to compete with the larger players, in terms of advertisement money or distribution structure or r&d or something else or all of these. But they know that the market leaders are spending a lot of money to create the market and they can just swoop in afterwards. The market leader is expanding the market by educating players but they can get into the market later on by offering benefits to the distributors or price promotions to consumers. They don’t want to do the heavy lifting of educating or creating a market and then own it. But they would rather be slow and take advantage of an already educated market.
In the end, it’s not about how obvious the theory of marketing relativity or differentiation or positioning is. Often it’s about being nimble into changing strategies to adapt to the market need. Often it’s about the money, more than the image. Often it’s not about being the market leader but a small player with steady flow of revenue.
In the end, it depends on who you are and what you want.