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Improve Market Share and Beat the Competition with Sharkonomics

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Keith Appleton - Expert Author

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Feb 8, 2012

Business competition is increasing and in Sharkonomics, Stefan Engeseth argues that market share can be improved by learning from nature's greatest predator

Business competition is increasing rapidly and reduced resources will only intensify this further. In his new book Sharkonomics, Stefan Engeseth, one of Europe's most radical marketing thinkers - and author of The Fall of PR and the Rise of Advertising – suggests worldwide markets are facing a ‘Jaws’ experience due to the global economic downturn.

The Business of Natural Selection to Improve Profitability

Engeseth offers an original perspective on competing in business and what we can learn from nature. Over 420 million years sharks have developed a highly strategic and efficient way to thrive in nature's competitive environment. Inspired by the shark’s instincts and behavioural traits, Sharkonomics provides businesses with 10 ways to attack market leaders and improve market share.

The result is a book with bite and some easily digestible pearly whites of wisdom. Engeseth builds on a concept developed by Economist Joseph Schumpeter (1883–1950) who came up with the term ‘creative destruction’ to demonstrate why companies need to innovate constantly in order to survive.

Strategies to Succeed in any Market

With the aim of making shark food out of the big fish and market leaders, Sharkonomics provides a unique perspective on how any company can create a presence for themselves in their market.

Using his engaging style, Engeseth explains practical business strategies such as:

  1. Start planning long before your attack.
  2. Don’t get stuck in history.
  3. Spread panic.
  4. Do market research the shark way.
  5. Find blind spots to bite.
  6. Strike unpredictably.
  7. Timing is key to successful attacks.
  8. Move or die.
  9. Kill with style.
  10. Write a Sharkonomics “attack list”.

Examples include Apple attacking the mobile-phone market with its iPhone, taking big bites out of market leaders such as Nokia, and Samsung. Its success is likened to pouring blood into an ocean, attracting hungry competitors. The technical problems Blackberry suffered in October 2011 only encouraged the feeding frenzy of its competitors.

Survival of the Fittest

Other strategies to get your teeth into include 10 ways for market leaders to defend themselves from shark attacks, including:

  1. Develop your defense strategies years before you get attacked.
  2. Never stand still.
  3. Let others spread the buzz.
  4. Don’t panic when under shark attack.
  5. Find out where your blind spots are.
  6. When entering a new market, don’t send out press releases too early.
  7. Sharks will not attack you if there is an easier target around.
  8. Don’t act like a victim.
  9. Attack is good defence.
  10. Develop better escape tactics than the hunter.

The music industry is criticised for not seeing Apple circling years ahead of its iPod attack, and the iPad is now preying on the publishing market. Another example is Virgin, one of the market leaders in virtually every territory Richard Branson chooses to move into. His “Virgin shark” has become big, strong and confident, encouraging it to attack bigger prey. Virgin is so big that it is capable of attacking any business in any sector as recently demonstrated when it devoured Northern Rock in the UK.

Become a Market Leader

Anyone wanting to survive in today's dangerous and rapidly evolving business waters could do worse than feast on the many lessons in Sharkonomics, and take a bite out of the competition by learning from sharks. The key being that companies not constantly moving and developing, will sink like a shark to the bottom and die. Put simply, Sharkonomics is a case of sink or swim.


About the Author

Keith Appleton JP, BA(Hons), N.Dip.M, MInstLM has over 15 years experience within the public and third sector developing high performing teams in a managerial and strategic leadership role. This is underpinned by his academic experience as a visiting lecturer and membership of the UK Institute of Leadership & Management. Article original published on Suite101.



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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2012-03-06 11:17:20 in Business Articles

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