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The Product is King in Lateral Marketing

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What is Lateral Marketing?

According to Philip Kotler and Fernando Trias De Bes, "Lateral marketing is a work process which, when applied to existing products or services, produces innovative new products and services that cover needs, uses, situations, or targets not currently covered and, therefore, is a process that offers a high chance of creating new categories or markets" (97).

What Does the Lateral Marketer Focus On?

The executive trying to implement lateral marketing focuses principally on:
  • additional needs that can be satisfied by changing the existing product.



  • additional customers who can be reached by incorporating changes into the existing product.

  • additional values that can be offered to existing customers.

  • additional functions that the product may perform if it is changed.

  • features of competing products that target the same market segment.

  • new products that can be derived from the current product.

  • substitutes to beat a competing product.
How Does Lateral Marketing Differ from Conventional Marketing?

Lateral marketing diverges from conventional marketing by focusing primarily on an existing product instead of focusing primarily on the consumer. This happens because the process of creative thinking is based on induction and not on deduction.

How Does Lateral Marketing Work?

Lateral marketing begins with dividing the vertical marketing scheme into three main levels:
  • the market-definition level

  • the product-definition level

  • the level containing the rest of the marketing mix
Then marketers decide on a level at which to begin applying lateral-marketing techniques. If we choose the market-definition level, then our objective is to modify the market, and the market includes product utility, the consumer, and purchase situations. If we choose the product-definition level, we focus on product innovations. If we choose the level containing the rest of the marketing mix, we focus on how the product will be sold.

The process of lateral marketing consists of generating a lateral displacement in the elements of a selected level to create a gap, which, when bridged by creative output, provides innovative solutions.

The Three Steps of Lateral Marketing:
  1. selecting the element upon which to focus

  2. generating a lateral displacement of that element to build a gap

  3. building the logical connection to bridge the gap
An Example Illustrating the Process of Lateral Marketing:

Let's work at the product-definition level and use "cotton shirts" as a focus. A logical sequence progressing from the focus would be "cotton shirts need to be pressed," which recognizes a characteristic of the product.

A lateral displacement occurs when a logical sequence is broken by the introduction of an idea apparently inconsistent with the end reasonably expected. A possible lateral displacement of the logical sequence would be "cotton shirts never need to be pressed." In this case, there is a gap generated in the logical sequence between the focus ("cotton shirts") and its feature ("need to be pressed") by the introduction of "never."

Kotler and Trias De Bes write, "Innovations are a result of connecting two ideas which in principle had no apparent or immediate connection" (101).

If "cotton shirts" is the focus, "never need to be pressed" is a displacement of a characteristic of the focus. The gap between "cotton shirts" and "never need to be pressed" provides the creative stimulus. The creative stimulus urges the marketer to make the "movement" to change the material of the shirt and bridge the gap between the focus and the lateral displacement by connecting with a new concept: "wrinkle-free." Wrinkle-free "shirts never need to be pressed."

And that is how lateral marketing works. That is how great innovations like wrinkle-free shirts come into being. That is why the best in the business learn how to master lateral marketing.

Work Cited

Kotler, Philip, and Fernando Trias De Bes. Lateral Marketing: New Techniques for Finding Breakthrough Ideas. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2003.
On the net:Lateral Marketing: New Techniques for Finding Breakthrough Ideas
www.amazon.com/Lateral-Marketing-Techniques-Finding-
Breakthrough/dp/0471455164


Lateral Marketing is Reaching a Fever Pitch
legalinsight.typepad.com/legal_insight/2007/03/lateral_marketi.html

Lateral Marketing & Small Business Growth
infopool.webverve.com/business/marketing/lateral-marketing-and-
small-business-growth.htm
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Popular tags:

 customers  produces  shirts  consumers  relief  innovations  techniques  Philip Kotler


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