A Prelaunch Diffusion Model for Evaluating Market Defense Strategies

Roberts, John H.; Nelson, Charles J.; Morrison, Pamela D.
January 2005
Marketing Science;Winter2005, Vol. 24 Issue 1, p150
Academic Journal
This paper describes the development and application of a marketing model to help set an incumbent's defensive marketing strategy prior to a new competitor's launch. The management problem addressed is to assess the market share impact of a new entrant in the residential Australian long distance telephone call market and determine the factors that would influence its dynamics and ultimate market appeal. The paper uses probability flow models to provide a framework to generate forecasts and assess the determinants of share loss. We develop models at two levels of complexity to give both simple, robust forecasts and more detailed diagnostic analysis of the effect of marketing actions. The models are calibrated prior to the new entrant's launch, enabling preemptive marketing strategies to be put in place by the defending company. The equilibrium level of consideration of the new entrant was driven by respondents' strength of relationship with the defender and inertia, while trial was more price-based. Continued use of the defender depends on both service factors and price. The rate at which share loss eventuates is negatively related to the defender's perceived responsiveness, saving money being the only reason to switch, and risk aversion. Prelaunch model forecasts, validated six months after launch using both aggregate monthly sales data and detailed tracking surveys, are shown to closely follow the actual evolution of the market. The paper provides a closed-form multistate model of the new entrant's diffusion, a methodology for the prelaunch calibration of dynamic models in practice, and insights into defensive strategies for existing companies facing new entrants.


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