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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Automotive: The market share shuffle continues

Observation:  Over the past few years, Korean brands like Hyundai swooped up impressive market share, just as Toyota was suffering from the angst of a major recall in 2009 and both Toyota and Honda were impacted by the effects of the 2010 Tsunami.  But it seems that those musical chairs are shifting again, according to this recent story from Automotive Week and Automotive News.  (Click to link.)

Implications:  I’m not sharing this story only for the benefit of folks in the auto industry.  Virtually every company wants to grow their business.  But a story like this reminds us to ask some very important marketing questions.

If you expect to grow market share this year, at whose expense will you make those gains?  Where will your new business come from?  What will your marketing message say that is so convincing that people will leave their past provider, and instead, come to you?

Also… which of your competitors intends to grow their own market share at your expense?  How will you defend against that assault, or even grow your own business in the face of that marketplace aggression?   Will that threat come from a competing company within your business category, or is it possible this assault could come from an outside category that you now compete with?  (For an automotive example, see the story immediately below about the increased use of mass transit.)  How will your message help you defend against these new competitive threats?  Should you bother defending (is it really a threat to your core business)?

The answers to all of these questions begin with knowing who your real target consumer is, and the benefits they seek when buying the product or service you sell.  Sure, the competition should be considered!  Absolutely!  But always in the context of what your most important customers want from your product, service, and purchase experience.

Mike Anderson, for the Elm Street Economics consumer trends blog. A service of The Center for Sales Strategy, Inc.

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