MARKET STRENGTHS OF A COMPANY
A direct measure of market position is the percentage that company sales are of
1. Industry sales.
2. Major competitorâ€™s sales.
Such figures quickly indicate whether our company is so big that its activities are likely to bring prompt responses from other leading companies. Or, our company may be small enough to enjoy independent maneuverability. Of course, to be most meaningful, these percentages should be computed separately for geographical areas, product lines, and types of customerâ€”if suitable industry data are available.
More intangible and no less significant are the relative standing of company products and its reputation in major markets. â€œKodakâ€? products, for instance, are widely and favorably known. They enjoy a reputation for both high quality and dependability. Clearly, this reputation will be a factor in Eastman Kodak Company strategy. And any new, unknown firm must overcome this prestige if it seeks even a small share in one segment of the film market. Market reputation is tenacious. Especially when we try to â€œtrade up,â€? our previous low quality, poor service, and sharp dealing will be an obstacle. Any strategy we adopt must have enough persistency and consistency so that our firm is assigned a â€œroleâ€? in the minds of the customers we wish to reach.
The relationship between a company and the distribution system is another vital aspect of market position. The big US automobile companies, for example, are strong partly because each has a set of dealers throughout the country. In contrast, foreign car manufacturers have difficulty selling here until they can arrange with dealers to provide dependable service. A similar problem confronted Whirlpool Corporation when it wanted to sell its trade-marked appliances publicly (for years its only customer had been Sears, Roebuck and company). Whirlpool made an unusual arrangement with RCA which led to the establishment of RCA-Whirlpool distributors and dealers. Considering the strong competition, Whirlpool could not have entered this new market without utilizing marketing channels such as RCA provided; and a decade elapsed before Whirlpoolâ€™s distribution was strong enough to drop the RCA association.