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Note—Competitive Price and Positioning Strategies

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  • John R. Hauser

    (Harvard University)

Abstract

Brand positioning and brand pricing are important strategic decisions for marketing managers. Such decisions are interrelated and depend upon competitive brand positions and prices. However, any unilateral decisions may encourage repositioning and price adjustment by competitors thus leading to either new market equilibria or a price/positioning “war.” This paper examines such price and positioning decisions in a competitive environment by extending the ‘Defender' consumer model to more complex equilibria. We assume that the brands are already in the market and that positions are “sticky” in the sense that brands cannot leapfrog one another. Among the insights for such incumbent brands are: • if prices are symmetric and held constant, firms seek to reposition toward the center of the market, • but price advantages by central firms can mediate that central tendency such that an equilibrium exists with positive profits; • if brand positions are held constant, the Nash equilibria for prices exist and are unique, and • category profits, the sum of brand profits, are maximized for maximum brand differentiation; • for two and three brand markets the (subgame perfect Nash) equilibrium, where positioning decisions are made with foresight on the price equilibria, causes firms to unilaterally seek maximum brand differentiation; but • for four or more brands greater foresight and/or cooperation appears necessary to reach the point of maximum brand differentiation. These results apply where the Defender consumer model is an exact description of consumer response and where the competitive reaction assumptions hold. In any empirical situation such forces might be softened resulting in differentiated, but not maximally differentiated, brands.

Suggested Citation

  • John R. Hauser, 1988. "Note—Competitive Price and Positioning Strategies," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 7(1), pages 76-91.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormksc:v:7:y:1988:i:1:p:76-91
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mksc.7.1.76
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    Cited by:

    1. Mohammad Hakkak & Amir Hooshang Nazarpoori & Mehdi Mohammadi, 2014. "Analysis and Identification of Competitive Positions of Companies Operating in Iranian Battery Industry Using Hierarchical Analysis," Journal of Asian Scientific Research, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 4(12), pages 741-756, December.
    2. Glen M. Schmidt & Evan L. Porteus, 2000. "The Impact of an Integrated Marketing and Manufacturing Innovation," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 2(4), pages 317-336, April.
    3. John Hauser & Gerard J. Tellis & Abbie Griffin, 2006. "Research on Innovation: A Review and Agenda for," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(6), pages 687-717, 11-12.
    4. Buechel, Berno & Klein, Jan, 2014. "Do Consumers' Preferences Really Matter? - A Note on Spatial Competition with Restricted Strategies," MPRA Paper 55288, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Shriver, Scott K. & Srinivasan, V. Seenu, 2011. "What If Marketers Put Their Customers ahead of Profits?," Research Papers 2091, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    6. Bloch, Francis & Manceau, Delphine, 1999. "Persuasive advertising in Hotelling's model of product differentiation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 557-574, May.
    7. Ansari, A. & Economides, N. & Steckel, J., 1996. "The Max-Min-Min Principle of product Differentiation," Working Papers 96-10, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    8. Berno Buechel & Jan F. Klein, 2016. "Restrictions in Spatial Competition: The Effects on Firms and Consumers," Homo Oeconomicus: Journal of Behavioral and Institutional Economics, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 157-172, August.
    9. Dmitri Kuksov & Yuanfang Lin, 2010. "Information Provision in a Vertically Differentiated Competitive Marketplace," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(1), pages 122-138, 01-02.
    10. Takeshi Ebina & Noriaki Matsushima, 2017. "Product differentiation and entry timing in a continuous-time spatial competition model with vertical relations," ISER Discussion Paper 1009, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    11. Yunchuan Liu & Rajeev K. Tyagi, 2011. "The Benefits of Competitive Upward Channel Decentralization," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(4), pages 741-751, April.
    12. Jordi Sintas & Ercilia Álvarez, 2002. "The Consumption of Cultural Products: An Analysis of the Spanish Social Space," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 26(2), pages 115-138, May.
    13. Yong Liu & Daniel S. Putler & Charles B. Weinberg, 2006. "A Reply to “A Comment on ‘Is Having More Channels Really Better? A Model of Competition Among Commercial Television Broadcasters' ”," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(5), pages 543-546, September.
    14. Peitz, Martin, 1997. "Models a la Lancaster and a la Hotelling: when they are the same," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 147-154, February.
    15. Marks, Ulf G. & Albers, Sönke, 1995. "Experiments in competitive product positioning: An equilibrium analysis," Manuskripte aus den Instituten für Betriebswirtschaftslehre der Universität Kiel 364, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Institut für Betriebswirtschaftslehre.
    16. Nicholas Economides & Joel Steckel, "undated". "The Max-Min Principle of Product Differentiation," Networks, Compatibility 94-16, Economics of Networks.
    17. Jonathan D. Bohlmann & Peter N. Golder & Debanjan Mitra, 2002. "Deconstructing the Pioneer's Advantage: Examining Vintage Effects and Consumer Valuations of Quality and Variety," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(9), pages 1175-1195, September.
    18. Caplin, Andrew & Nalebuff, Barry, 1991. "Aggregation and Imperfect Competition: On the Existence of Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 25-59, January.
    19. Palsule-Desai, Omkar D. & Tirupati, Devanath & Shah, Janat, 2015. "Product line design and positioning using add-on services," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 163(C), pages 16-33.
    20. Rajeev K. Tyagi, 2000. "Sequential Product Positioning Under Differential Costs," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(7), pages 928-940, July.
    21. Raphael Thomadsen, 2007. "Product Positioning and Competition: The Role of Location in the Fast Food Industry," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 26(6), pages 792-804, 11-12.
    22. Zhang, Yue, 2015. "Designing a retail store network with strategic pricing in a competitive environment," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 265-273.
    23. Sudharshan, D. & Ravi Kumar, K. & Gruca, Thomas S., 1995. "NICHER: An approach to identifying defensible product positions," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 292-309, July.

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    Keywords

    pricing; positioning;

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