Competitive positioning

In competitive markets, players with different interests interact with each other, each of them trying to improve their position. Introducing new products, segmenting the market by developing and communicating specific features, defining a geographically differentiated strategy, or even deciding to stay out of a certain market or segment are some of the typical issues we have dealt with so far. Particularly in markets with a limited number of large and important players in the steps of the value chain —suppliers, competitors and customers— actions will cause specific reactions of other stakeholders that can —to a certain degree— be predicted from their position and preferences. Thus, when evaluating strategic initiatives, a proper understanding of the complex interplay of all players’ options and objectives is essential.

Our process provides a well-structured approach to assess these interplays and to support our clients’ decisions.

Selected cases: Competitive positioning

Growth strategy for an innovative drug

Our client had a well-established drug portfolio containing a highly innovative drug in a medium-sized segment for prescriptive indications. Growth and positioning were challenged by a competitive drug targeting a broader segment with recognized additional benefit. The client’s drug was viewed as a model for a larger future range of new treatments in the pipeline. As additional complication, special and expensive testing needs had to be considered. Together, we developed a defense and growth strategy to ensure the successful future development adaptive to the approach of the rival.

Portfolio/repositioning strategy for a drug at the end of its product lifecycle

In a large but saturated segment with many similar drugs/treatments (prescription), a competitor launched a new drug that was expected to quickly gain a great deal of market share. As a consequence, our client’s well-established, high-volume product in the second half of its lifecycle was seriously challenged. At the same time, their new product did not receive the approval of additional benefits from the authorities.

During the project, we helped our client develop a value-maximizing repositioning and partial pullback strategy by focusing our attention on specific patients.

New product positioning, marketing, and introduction

For an over-the-counter (nonprescription) indication, our client had developed an interesting new medication that fundamentally combined the advantages of the main competing drugs. The challenge we met together with our client’s team was finding the segmentation sweet spot, together with a full marketing mix, including communication, promotion strategy, and channel prioritization.

Defining a future strategy, positioning, and product specification for a vehicle's new value-added service

Our client was a major car manufacturer (OEM) designing a specialized value-added service intended to be both profitable on a standalone base and, at the same time, support sales. Due to the special requirements, partnering options with technology enablers were evaluated. We helped the client team find the best options for product features and positioning, both considering the reactions of established players and assessing risks and opportunities from entries into the industry, including a realistic assessment of the industry landscape to come.

Switching to and investing in future network systems while staying profitable

Although highly profitable, our client intended to heavily invest into a new upcoming technology to meet future customer demands and to maintain his technological advantage. As shifting all customers and products to the new product would have been way too expensive, the investments had to happen stepwise. We helped our client to identify customers, products, and segments strategically most important and to develop the best sequence for the stepwise investments too.