Strategic alliances: Our competitor as a partner

In an increasingly and irreversibly globalized environment, the establishment of strategic alliances between companies and organizations is one of the most frequent formulas to face development.

They arose as a market necessity, from the changes of scenarios with which companies are, in recent years.

Alliances have a more invertebrate structure that makes them more adaptable, freer, to evolve as the environment changes.Strategic Alliances

These changes in scenarios produced great uncertainty since, not knowing them, it was not possible to act safely and effectively for each circumstance.

Every day we read in the newspapers some new alliance initiative between companies from very diverse sectors. In fact, the growth of strategic alliances between companies has been exponential in recent years, despite the fact that, as some analysts comment, the average life of alliances is seven years and 80% conclude with the sale of one of the the partners to the other.

The reasons for the boom in the establishment of alliances are common to those that justify other processes of business concentration. Among the most cited reasons, the globalization of many business sectors, the difficulty to cope with increasing expenses in research and development, the shortening of the life cycles of many products or services and the technological convergence are often mentioned.

All these factors have also led to the blurring of the boundaries of many business sectors, and the consequent drop in barriers to mobility. Certainly, in recent decades, new forces have developed that have transformed the structure and competitive characteristics of sectors ranging from soft drinks to telecommunications. In one sector after another, as some specialists explain, demand has globalized first, then supply, then competition and, finally, the competitive strategies of companies.

The factors cited above have driven not only the creation of alliances, but many other concentration strategies between companies, such as mergers or acquisitions. However, the option for the establishment of a strategic alliance has advantages over other alternatives, mainly flexibility, assumption of less risk, possibility of having a trial period and, perhaps, faster execution over time.

Making use of the biological analogy, so widely used in professional and academic circles, alliances have a more invertebrate structure that makes them more adaptable, freer entities, to evolve as the environment changes.

Two changes of scenery marked a before and after in the history of marketing.

Growing internal and external competition (mergers / mergers / alliances)

The situation is aggravated by not knowing who our true competitor is, are they those who manufacture our same product? Are they those who manufacture a substitute product? Are they those who make a product that has nothing to do with us? With the concept of mergers, mergers and alliances, in a market that was quiet, with few competitors, suddenly a monster appears. This is how large corporations in the service area are getting into the product manufacturing market and vice versa. Today we have to keep our eyes wide open to know what potential competition is coming.

It is not the same to compete with a company of our same level as to compete with a large global corporation or a multi-product manufacturer. For example, telephone companies used to only provide voice services, and now with the changes in the market they are dedicated to Internet services, mobile telephony, and competition is fierce because in 2000 when the telephone market was deregulated .

Marketing transition

The marketing transition has occurred in the decade from the ’70 to the ’80 and in the ’90, which is the most important where strategic alliances appear.

The previous decade was characterized by mergers and adsorptions, to pass to the decade of STRATEGIC ALLIANCES, where we begin to see our competitors as partners. Because many times it is a great business to partner with our competitor to develop a strategic alliance, not definitive, not total, but partial. We must prepare our people in this culture focused on design and service differentiation, on perceived value, that our suppliers have to be partners, that they have to be perfect in execution and implementation. Prepare them so that if a plan is written, consequently, it must be executed. Let them think in the sense of strategic alliances. Where we can get a partner to achieve competitive advantage.
We went from static marketing, where they discussed whether there were 4 or 5 marketing variables, where there were variables that were not in any book such as brand, creativity, innovation, reaction speed, etc.

Essentially strategic and competitive dynamic marketing. You have to be competitive in excess, to the maximum. Within organizations, internal marketing is developed so that the organization understands the value that marketing gives to the business, paying attention to the competition.

If we put both eyes on the consumer, we are crossed because we do not know what to do with the competition. Also develop a benchmarking, that is, see what the best do in any area and see if we can apply and improve.

In short, the phenomenon of Strategic Alliances no type of company has been subtracted, not small, medium or large corporations. In the case of smaller-scale companies, alliances are the most recurrent vehicle for entering new markets or for dealing with technology-intensive projects. For their part, large companies enter into alliances with other organizations to jointly develop activities that are outside their “core competencies”, to increase their competitiveness or to enter markets that are difficult to access for structural reasons.

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