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Utilising flanking marketing


MY family and I have fallen in love with Slice Pizzeria.

It is a relatively new pizza outlet in Bulawayo situated at the corner of 12th Avenue and Fife Street. Slice Pizzeria uses a wood-fired pizza oven.

Their pizza is very tasty and fresh. They have a wide variety of both vegetarian and meat pizzas that their competitors do not

They also have cookie cutters and dough for children to play with while you wait which they bake for the “kiddies” to take home.

This is quite a clever strategy of ensuring they capture the hearts and minds of the children, whom we all know love to play and go out with for pizza.

Every time we drive past the outlet, my four year-old twins stop whatever they are doing and beg us to go inside to play and buy pizza.

At this stage, Slice Pizzeria may not be giving Pizza Inn a run for their money. However, if their growing popularity continues, who knows, it could just be a different story a few years from now.

In marketing, there are marketing warfare strategies.

These are essentially strategies for fighting a marketing war.

The one we will briefly cover is flanking marketing.

This is the strategy I believe Slice Pizzeria is committing its marketing arsenal to.

BusinessDictionary.com defines flanking marketing as “an indirect marketing strategy aimed at capturing market segments that are not being well-served by the firm’s competitors”.

The aim of flanking is to win under-served customers.

Flanking is typically employed by innovative businesses against larger competitors. It might be employed by both larger and smaller firms.

Al Ries and Jack Trout, the authors of “Marketing Warfare”, present the following three flanking principles:

  • A flanking move is best made in an uncontested area. The product should be in a new category that does not compete directly with the leader.
  • A flanking move should have an element of surprise. Surprise is important to prevent the leader from using its enormous resources to counter the move before it gains momentum.
  • Follow-through is equally as important as the attack itself. The firm should follow through and focus on solidifying its position once it is established before competitors launch competing products.
  • Today, competition is greater and more unpredictable than ever. The battle for customers is intense.

    This means that to win, you need to choose your marketing warfare strategy very carefully.

    In my opinion, Slice Pizzeria has chosen its battle well.

    My perceptions (image) of the outlet are pretty positive at the moment.

    All they need to do is be persistent and keep flanking.

    I am sure they will soon win over the hearts and taste buds of the rest of Bulawayo.

    Nonto Masuku is an executive partner of an image management consultancy firm.

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