Concentration Strategies

A growth strategy adopted by the company to concentrate by investing more resources in marketing and production of only one primary product or market.

The benefits of the strategy are to build a strong reputation within a market and generate loyalty among the customers. But it has disadvantages because of the nature of shift of the demand of customers due to innovations in technology. This may led to the product becoming obsolete, and also a sudden economic turndown could lead to its failure.

For many firms, concentration strategies are very sensible. These strategies involve trying to compete successfully only within a single industry. McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Subway are three firms that have relied heavily on concentration strategies to become dominant players.Concentration strategies involve trying to grow by successfully competing only within a single industry.

There are three concentration strategies:

(a) Market penetration,

(b) Market development, and

(c) Product development.

  1. Market Penetration

A firm can use one, two, or all three as part of their efforts to excel within an industry (Ansoff, 1957). Market penetration involves trying to gain additional share of a firm’s existing markets using existing products. Often firms will rely on advertising to attract new customers with existing markets.

Nike, for example, features famous athletes in print and television ads designed to take market share within the athletic shoes business from Adidas and other rivals. McDonald’s has pursued market penetration in recent years by using Latino themes within some of its advertising. The firm also maintains a Spanish-language website at http://www.meencanta.com; the website’s name is the Spanish translation of McDonald’s slogan “I’m lovin’ it.” McDonald’s hopes to gain more Latino customers through initiatives such as this website.

  1. Market Development

Market development involves taking existing products and trying to sell them within new markets. One way to reach a new market is to enter a new retail channel. Starbucks, for example, has stepped beyond selling coffee beans only in its stores and now sells beans in grocery stores. This enables Starbucks to reach consumers that do not visit its coffeehouses.

Entering new geographic areas is another way to pursue market development. Philadelphia-based Tasty Baking Company has sold its Tastykake snack cakes since 1914 within Pennsylvania and adjoining states. The firm’s products have become something of a cult hit among customers, who view the products as much tastier than the snack cakes offered by rivals such as Hostess and Little Debbie. In April 2011, Tastykake was purchased by Flowers Foods, a bakery firm based in Georgia. When it made this acquisition, Flower Foods announced its intention to begin extensively distributing Tastykake’s products within the southeastern United States. Displaced Pennsylvanians in the south rejoiced.

  1. Product Development

Product development involves creating new products to serve existing markets. In the 1940s, for example, Disney expanded its offerings within the film business by going beyond cartoons and creating movies featuring real actors. More recently, McDonald’s has gradually moved more and more of its menu toward healthy items to appeal to customers who are concerned about nutrition.

In 2009, Starbucks introduced VIA, an instant coffee variety that executives hoped would appeal to their customers when they do not have easy access to a Starbucks store or a coffeepot. The soft drink industry is a frequent location of product development efforts. Coca-Cola and Pepsi regularly introduce new varieties—such as Coke Zero and Pepsi Cherry Vanilla—in an attempt to take market share from each other and from their smaller rivals.

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