Although the competitive options established in the past (MO, VO, and MVD) will continue to represent the foundations upon which marketing strategies are constructed, organizations should anticipate that the types of competitive interaction and the manners by which strategies are implemented will differ in the future. The following propositions are offered to highlight the realities of future global marketing strategies:
1. Increasing numbers of competitors of all types, more intense rivalry, and a greater diversity of strategies will characterize future competition in nearly every market.
2. Consumer demand will likely be more volatile than in the past as rapid advances in technology lead to new product and service opportunities, and increase the speed and reach of global diffusion of new ideas. Moreover, as economic development raises consumer affluence in increasing numbers of countries, consumer tastes and spending power will evolve and grow at an increasing rate. This will result in an increased number and variety of market opportunities.
3. Although new market opportunities are likely to emerge with escalating frequency, they are increasingly likely to be identified and exploited by multiple global companies simultaneously. The globalization of technology and the global proliferation of competitors, many of which will benefit from government subsidies, mean that uncontested market opportunities will tend to be short-lived. Thus, whereas opportunities may proliferate in the future, they may also be less enduring. As a result, the time period during which profits can be harvested (the interval between product introduction and substantial competitive entry) will be compressed, rendering many ostensible market opportunities ultimately unprofitable. This will mean:
• Less time is available for the judicious analysis of market opportunities if they are to be profitably exploited. New processes for market analysis must therefore be developed, and decision models and heuristics that enable quicker managerial decision making must be constructed. Higher levels and varieties of risk must also be incorporated into these models, and new methods for understanding and moderating these risks developed.
• Existing processes for product development are likely to be ineffective for exploiting new market opportunities when competitive entry is swift and geographically dispersed. Development, production, and distribution times need to be significantly shortened, or more agile competitors will steal and exploit opportunities.
4. New marketing strategies must be developed by businesses using each of the underlying modes of competition. For example,
• Due to their agility and closeness to customers, small MO companies are most capable of adeptly envisioning and exploiting new opportunities (as illustrated by the producers of mobile phone applications). MO firms must remain vigilant for subtle changes in market preferences and should develop the capability to respond rapidly to these changes.
• Larger firms using a VO strategy should be able to benefit from the new sales potential offered by global markets. However, they should direct their marketing resources toward countries with developing economies in which demand is less heterogeneous and is price elastic. Where feasible, VO firms should build production capacity in developing countries to meet this new demand since low production costs there will enable them to quickly capture market share. VO firms must also remain vigilant in the event that VO competitors enter the market, as this will introduce impediments to profitability.
• Large companies that adopt a MVD strategy will need to embrace global marketing strategies with local differentiation, as the MVD approach has the greatest capacity to serve multiple and diverse customer segments. These organizations can also prosper by insightfully and selectively acquiring successful small companies in different geographic markets, and either retaining their market focus or adapting their ability to differentiate in order to appeal to the larger market.