Chapter 5

Conclusion

This chapter explained generic business-level strategies that executives must choose between to keep their firms competitive. Executives must identify their firm’s source of competitive advantage by choosing to compete based on low-cost versus (often) more expensive features that differentiate their firm from competitors. In addition, targeting either a narrow or broad market helps firms further understand their customer base. Based on these choices, firms will follow cost leadership, differentiation, focused cost leadership, or focused differentiation strategies. Another potentially viable business strategy, best cost, exists when firms offer relatively low prices while still managing to differentiate their goods or services on some important value-added aspects.

One predictor of long(er)-term business success is the firm’s ability to stick to strategy.  Low cost firms that venture into additional features or services often find that they have to increase prices to pay for these additional features, decreasing their ability for cost leadership.  Similarly, firms that differentiate need to invest sufficiently in R&D to ensure the element of differentiation remains both current and desirable. Whatever their strategy, all firms can fall victim to being “stuck in the middle” by not offering sufficiently unique features or competitive prices.

 

Exercises

  1. Divide your class into four or eight groups, depending on the size of the class. Each group should select a different industry. Find examples of each generic business-level strategy for your industry. Discuss which strategy seems to be the most successful in your selected industry.
  2. This chapter discussed Target and other retailers. If you were assigned to turn around a struggling retailer such as Kmart, what actions would you take to revive the company?

 

Attributions

Figure 5.1:
TARGET By Nina Matthews Photography (https://www.flickr.com/photos/21560098@N06/9653422798/) used under CC-BY license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

Figure 5.2:
Remodeled Walmart by GeneralCheese (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Remodeld_walmart.jpg) is in the Public Domain (first); Holt Renfrew Opening 1 by anjuliruth (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Holt_Renfrew_Opening_1.jpg) used under CC-BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en) (second); Fun at the 1$ store! by Cosmic Kitty (https://www.flickr.com/photos/cosmickitty/35922747/) used under CC-BY license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) (third); MAC in SM Aura, BGC by Hans Olav Lien (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MAC_in_SM_Aura,_BGC.jpg) used under CC-BY-SA license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en) (fourth)

Figure 5.3:
IKEA of Sweden by Håkan Dahlström (https://www.flickr.com/photos/dahlstroms/4406947248/) used under CC-BY license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) (first); Darkoakadelaidesside by ASuitableWardrobe (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Darkoakadelaidesside.jpg) used under CC-BY license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) (second); Hairdressing by Ben Salter (https://www.flickr.com/photos/ben_salter/4348195855/) used under CC-BY license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) (third); Oh thank heaven by waferboard (https://www.flickr.com/photos/waferboard/3806352731/) used under CC-BY license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) (fourth)

Figure 5.4:
Yugo by Antp (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e7/Yugo.jpg) used under CC-BY-SA license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/)

Figure 5.5:
Camping in Exmouth, Western Australia by Joanna Penn (https://www.flickr.com/photos/38314728@N08/4116215148/) used under CC-BY license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) (first); TV and Computer Monitor Recycling Pen – geograph.org.uk – 1025508 by David Wright (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TV_and_Computer_Monitor_Recycling_Pen_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1025508.jpg) used under CC-BY-SA license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en) (second)

Figure 5.6:
Store closing banner, S&B, Southwest Plaza by Bradley Gordon (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Store_closing_banner,_S%26B,_Southwest_Plaza.jpg) used under CC-BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en)

Figure 5.7:
typographic tour of chicago part 2: morton salt factory (3/3) by _nickd (http://www.flickr.com/photos/_nickd/2313836162/) used under CC-BY license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) (first); Fedex.a310-200.n420fe.arp by Arpingstone (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fedex.a310-200.n420fe.arp.jpg) is in the Public Domain (second); chevelle SS ’69 hot wheels by Guillermo Vasquez (http://www.flickr.com/photos/megavas/3302486505/) used under CC-BY license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) (third); Zoom elite 2 by ChunkySoup (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Zoom_elite_2.png) is in the Public Domain (fourth); Day 4 – Magic Kingdom by Derek Hatfield (http://www.flickr.com/photos/loimere/5068068920/) used under CC-BY license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) (fifth)

Figure 5.8:
Patent Drawing for Coleman Model 520 Stove by B. W. Tullis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Patent_Drawing_for_Coleman_Model_520_Stove.jpg) is in the Public Domain

Figure 5.9:
Express Oil Change by Dystopos (https://www.flickr.com/photos/dystopos/87015273/) used under CC-BY-NC license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/)

Figure 5.10:
Coach Bag by slgckgc (http://www.flickr.com/photos/slgc/5379074286/) used under CC-BY license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) (first); Handbag BrownBlue FW2010 by Parfois (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Handbag_BrownBlue_FW2010.JPG) is in the Public Domain (second); elisha_cuthbert_chanel-purple-handbag by Ashley Cooper (http://www.flickr.com/photos/classicchanelhandbags/4988644763/) used under CC-BY license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) (third); fake purse by EvelynGiggles (http://www.flickr.com/photos/evelynishere/5300824118/) used under CC-BY license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) (fourth)

Figure 5.11:
Counterfeit Rolex Watch, dsc4577 5f270 by US Customs and Border Patrol (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Counterfeit_Rolex_Watch,_dsc4577_5f270.jpg) is in the Public Domain

Figure 5.12:
Redbox1 by IlliniGradResearch (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Redbox1.JPG) used under CC-BY-SA license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en) (first); Pepperoni pizza fast food by Jon Sullivan (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pepperoni_pizza_fast_food.jpg) is in the Public Domain (second); Claires by TenPoundHammer (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Claires.jpg) used under CC-BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en) (third); Big Buford by Gaming4JC (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Big_Buford.jpg) is in the Public Domain (fourth)

Figure 5.13:
A big mac and saving private ryan please by Valerie Everett (http://www.flickr.com/photos/valeriebb/2224649723) used under CC-BY-SA license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/)

Figure 5.14:
Whole Foods Market Cranbrook Village Ann Arbor Michigan by Dwight Burdette (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Whole_Foods_Market_Cranbrook_Village_Ann_Arbor_Michigan.JPG) used under CC-BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en) (first); Build-A-BearWorkshopVaughanMills by Raysonho (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Build-A-BearWorkshopVaughanMills.JPG) used under CC-0 License (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/deed.en) (second); Cinnabon by rjp (http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimpenfish/385384830/) used under CC-BY license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) (third); Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 2 cropped by Cars en travel (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mercedes-Benz_SLR_McLaren_2_cropped.jpg) is in the Public Domain (fourth)

Figure 5.15:
S-Klasse W221 by Fadi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:S-Klasse_W221.jpg) used under CC-BY-SA license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en)

Figure 5.16:
Stocking caps by Lisa Dusseault (https://www.flickr.com/photos/milele/6463957255/) used under CC-BY license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) (first); Richardsson Daniel Tour de Ski 2010 by Iso76 (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Richardsson_Daniel_Tour_de_Ski_2010.jpg) used under CC-BY-SA license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en) (second); En-Mauser 98k based hunting rifle by Francis Flinch (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:En-Mauser_98k_based_hunting_rifle.jpg) is in the Public Domain (third)

Figure 5.17:
Jake Shimabukuro by Surfupusa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jake_Shimabukuro.jpg) is in the Public Domain

Figure 5.18:
Trashbags Lady East Village 2011 Shankbone by David Shankbone (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Trashbags_Lady_East_Village_2011_Shankbone.JPG) used under CC-BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en)

Figure 5.19:
WestJet Boeing 737-8CT | C-GWSZ / 812 | “Walt Disney Livery” | Flight WS2660 from YYZ to MBJ by Lord of the Wings© (https://www.flickr.com/photos/aseemsjohri/14513060711/) used under CC-BY-SA license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/) (first); Two Americano soft tacos (8009893681) by Jim G (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Two_Americano_soft_tacos_(8009893681).jpg) used under CC-BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en) (second); Target by Kevin Dooley (https://www.flickr.com/photos/pagedooley/5313218644/) used under CC-BY license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) (third); Pabst Blue Ribbon Neon Sign by Charles Roberts (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ckroberts61/4399109703/) used under CC-BY license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) (fourth)

Figure 5.20:
IKEA of Sweden by Håkan Dahlström (https://www.flickr.com/photos/dahlstroms/4406947248/) used under CC-BY license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

Figure 5.21:
Sushi Sashimi Medium Platter – Yama-ya by Alpha (https://www.flickr.com/photos/avlxyz/2570349350/) used under CC-BY-SA license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/) (first); vijs-at-home-cookbook-launch-20100918-IMG_6335.jpg by Roland Tanglao (https://www.flickr.com/photos/roland/5003057345/) used under CC-BY license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) (second); arturo’s mexico to go – 050420116656 by Roland Tanglao (https://www.flickr.com/photos/roland/5688155762/) used under CC-BY license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) (third); Poutine by shankar s. (https://www.flickr.com/photos/shankaronline/8391133171/) used under CC-BY license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) (first)

Figure 5.22:
Hey Cupcake! by Evan Bench (http://www.flickr.com/photos/austinevan/3237785474) used under CC-BY license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

Figure 5.23:
Arby’s Roast Beef Sign by Ethan Prater (http://www.flickr.com/photos/eprater/4592959910/) used under CC-BY license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) (first); TheSourcePromenade by Raysonho (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TheSourcePromenade.JPG) used under CC-0 license (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/deed.en) (second); Sears – Aids That Every Woman Appreciates by Rachel P. Maines (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sears_-_Aids_That_Every_Woman_Appreciates.jpg) is in the Public Domain (third); Big Kmart, Ontario, Oregon 2006 by Caldorwards4 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Big_Kmart,_Ontario,_Oregon_2006.jpeg) is in the Public Domain (fourth)

Figure 5.24:
Can’t please everyone2 by Walter Crane (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Can%27t_please_everyone2.jpg) is in the Public Domain

Figure 5.25:
BlockbusterMoncton by Stu pendousmat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:BlockbusterMoncton.JPG) used under CC-BY-SA license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en)

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