A successful campaign is based upon the challengers ability to shape the campaign to his advantage and the disadvantage of the leader. There are two primary shaping forces - interaction and isolation. The skilled marketer orchestrates these forces in order to generate competitive advantage.
Interaction within the business environment are tactics we willingly, offensively or pro actively execute designed to open up opportunities of our choosing consistent with our core competencies and supportive of the campaign mission and strategy. The higher the degree of interaction we have the greater we control our own destiny - or the less control our adversaries are able to exert over our destiny.
EXAMPLES OF INTERACTION
a. Robust intelligence competencies.
b. Disciplined multiple channels of communication.
c. Strong visualization and calibration disciplines.
d. Fluid organizational formations.
e. Rapid development cycles.
f. Rapid execution teams.
INDICATIONS OF INTERACTION
a. Pricing Power
b. Employee Loyalty
c. Product Differentiation
e. Market Leader
f. Customer Satisfaction
Isolation within the business environment are tactics we undertake in order to pro actively deny our competitive adversaries access to our customers, markets, products, technologies, employees, practices, partnerships and other proprietary or critical business functions. Additionally, isolation means undertaking activities designed to shape and influence the perception of our adversaries within all relevant constituencies and frames of reference.
EXAMPLES OF ISOLATION
a. Operating at a faster O-O-D-A cycle.
b. Attacking competitor Center of Gravity.
c. Shaping customer, industry perceptions.
d. Recruiting key employees/managers.
e. Comprehensive competitive monitoring.
f. Utilization of exclusive relationships.
g. Utilization of proprietary defensive mechanisms.
h. Control of industry influencers.
i. Pricing, feature, service raids.
INDICATIONS OF ISOLATION
a. Commodity positioning.
b. High employee turnover.
c. Executive defections.
d. Reactive internally focused.
e. Declining margins
An effective attack and dislodge campaign must have a robust isolation component in order to increase the chances for success. Interaction without isolation is like cheng without ch’i. The smart marketer works with a palette of interaction and isolation tactics designed to maximize competitive advantage.
Enterprises have varying appetites for engaging in isolation tactics. For some there is a reluctance to talk about the competition or to aggressively engage the competition with negative tactics. There is continuum of isolation tactics from simple comparisons and legitimate debates to outright smear campaigns and dirty tricks. I do not endorse illegal activities or dirty tricks. I do endorse aggressive pursuits especially when an enterprise is confronted with bankruptcy or extinction.