Competitive Advantage

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1 Competitive Advantage When a firm sustains profits that exceed the average for its industry, the firm is said to possess a competitive advantage over its rivals. The goal of much of business strategy is to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage

2 Types of competitive advantage Michael Porter identified two basic types of competitive advantage Cost advantage Differentiation advantage A competitive advantage exists when the firm is able to deliver the same benefits as competitors but at a lower cost (cost advantage), or deliver benefits that exceed those of competing products (differentiation advantage). Thus, a competitive advantage enables the firm to create superior value for its customers and superior profits for itself.

3 Model of Competitive Advantage

4 Resources Resources are the firm-specific assets useful for creating a cost or differentiation advantage and that few competitors can acquire easily. The following are some examples of such resources: Patents and trademarks Installed customer base Reputation of the firm Brand equity

5 Capabilities Capabilities refer to the firm's ability to utilize its resources effectively. An example of a capability is the ability to bring a product to market faster than competitors. Such capabilities are embedded in the routines of the organization and are not easily documented as procedures and thus are difficult for competitors to replicate.

6 Cost Advantage and Differentiation Advantage Competitive advantage is created by using resources and capabilities to achieve either a lower cost structure or a differentiated product. A firm positions itself in its industry through its choice of low cost or differentiation. This decision is a central component of the firm's competitive strategy.

7 Value Creation The firm creates value by performing a series of activities that Porter identified as the value chain. In addition to the firm's own value-creating activities, the firm operates in a value system of vertical activities including those of upstream suppliers and downstream channel members. To achieve a competitive advantage, the firm must perform one or more value creating activities in a way that creates more overall value than do competitors. Superior value is created through lower costs or superior benefits to the consumer (differentiation).

8 Pricing Strategy Develop marketing strategy - perform marketing analysis, segmentation, targeting, and positioning. Make marketing mix decisions - define the product, distribution, and promotional tactics. Estimate the demand curve - understand how quantity demanded varies with price. Calculate cost - include fixed and variable costs associated with the product.

9 Pricing Strategy Understand environmental factors - evaluate likely competitor actions, understand legal constraints, etc. Set pricing objectives - for example, profit maximization, revenue maximization, or price stabilization (status quo). Determine pricing - using information collected in the above steps, select a pricing method, develop the pricing structure, and define discounts.

10 Pricing Objectives Current profit maximization - seeks to maximize current profit, taking into account revenue and costs. Current profit maximization may not be the best objective if it results in lower long-term profits. Current revenue maximization - seeks to maximize current revenue with no regard to profit margins. The underlying objective often is to maximize long-term profits by increasing market share and lowering costs. Maximize quantity - seeks to maximize the number of units sold or the number of customers served in order to decrease long-term costs as predicted by the experience curve.

11 Pricing Objectives Maximize profit margin - attempts to maximize the unit profit margin, recognizing that quantities will be low. Quality leadership - use price to signal high quality in an attempt to position the product as the quality leader. Partial cost recovery - an organization that has other revenue sources may seek only partial cost recovery. Survival - in situations such as market decline and overcapacity, the goal may be to select a price that will cover costs and permit the firm to remain in the market. In this case, survival may take a priority over profits, so this objective is considered temporary

12 Pricing Methods Cost-plus pricing - set the price at the production cost plus a certain profit margin. Target return pricing - set the price to achieve a target return-on-investment. Value-based pricing - base the price on the effective value to the customer relative to alternative products. Psychological pricing - base the price on factors such as signals of product quality, popular price points, and what the consumer perceives to be fair.

Because of inherent tradeoffs between marketing mix elements, pricing will depend on other product, distribution, and promotion decisions.

Because of inherent tradeoffs between marketing mix elements, pricing will depend on other product, distribution, and promotion decisions. 10. Pricing Strategy One of the four major elements of the marketing mix is price. Pricing is an important strategic issue because it is related to product positioning. Furthermore, pricing affects other

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