Provisionary Ground is located in the lower-left quadrant of a terrain map, and is described as dynamic and specific. Provisionary Ground is characterized by substantial revenue with marginal to negative margins. Provisionary Ground is home to commodity businesses, often with large market share and marginal profitability. It is also the resting ground of high revenue market leaders after they fall from expeditionary ground. Inhabitants of provisionary ground may also be created through industry consolidation or “roll-ups.” It is possible to take a collection of businesses in or moving toward mercenary ground and merge them to create enough market-share and economies for provisionary ground.
The outer extremes of provisionary ground can be brutal when selling large volumes at low or negative margins. Industries like DRAMs and grocery stores fall into this category. Only the very largest competitors are able to survive due to economies of scale, but even then profits are paper-thin.
Cash cows are found on provisionary ground, occupying space characterized by high volume and low profitability. The strongest provisionary ground business models are those that realized their major growth in expeditionary ground. When expeditionary growth slows, or growth increases at a decreasing rate, competitors begin to look outward for new growth opportunities. Quite often these are opportunities that mean competitive engagements in new territory or with new customers. This generally requires engaging in head-to-head conflict with a competitor for the business of key customers or markets. Better service, new products, and innovative technology are a few of the marketing tactics deployed by competitors in provisionary ground.
One of the biggest threats to business models in provisionary ground is resorting to price-based competitive measures, which can quickly push the business deeper into the terrain - and even left toward mercenary ground. Timing and reactions are critical on provisionary ground in that a cash cow can quickly become a cash drain (shift to mercenary ground).