Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Luxury Real Estate Marketing: So, You Want to Be a Market Leader-Part 2

In Part 1 in this series we covered two keys to becoming a Market Leader, as a luxury real estate marketing professional. The first key is to identify an uncontested or under-served market niche in which you can be the dominant player. We wanted to elaborate on this.

If you are the first major player in a new category you will have a tremendous competitive advantage over potential challengers because you become immediately identified with that category in the minds of your target market. You make news when you start a new category or take over an under-served category. But, beware of the temptation to get complacent if you are unrivaled!

If you want to take on an incumbent market leader be sure you are taking on a category or niche or market segment that you believe you can serve better than the leader or any other contender. Here is an example of a 17 year battle to surpass an incumbent market leader who was the first major player in their category.

Take a moment to answer this question: What is the first lemon –lime soda that comes to your mind? Can you think of more than three brands? Most people can only think of one or two.

Sprite was introduced in the US in 1961 as Coke’s response to 7Up, the market leader. To fend off Sprite’s challenge, 7UP launched one of the greatest brand strategies of all time by positioning itself not just as a competitor of Sprite but as “The Uncola”. This worked for a few years. Then, in 1978, Sprite seized the position of the #1 best selling lemon-lime soda.

By the 1980s Sprite became very popular among teenagers. They launched a slogan to cater to this generation that was used from 1987 to 1994: "I Like the Sprite in You". In 1999 7Up tried a strategy known as “taboo” marketing to appeal to the younger generation. “Make 7UP Yours” was their slogan. But, they placed “Make 7” on the front of T-shirts and “Up Yours” on the back. By then it was too late to regain their market leadership position.

In 2004 Sierra Mist surpassed 7Up on the basis of annual retail sales, placing it as the second most-purchased lemon-lime soft drink in the U.S. Sprite still reigns supreme.

In the 60’s, 7Up was essentially in an uncontested market niche enjoying top-of-mind status. Then Sprite came along. Ultimately, Coke had superior marketing muscle and staying power. But, it took Sprite 17 years to surpass 7Up, the incumbent market leader. That should give you an idea of how the first in a category has a tremendous competitive advantage, especially if it does not get complacent.

Find an uncontested market niche that you can dominate and serve better than anyone else in your luxury real estate marketplace. If you do not get complacent who should enjoy a long ride.


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