Competitive Intelligence

Tactical, Operational & Strategic Analysis of Markets, Competitors & Industries

Looking for stories about companies using (or not using) CI for market entry in a new geography

Hi there,
I've been asked to put together a presentation on short notice on the role of competitive intelligence in targeting new geographic markets.

I'd like to spice up the talk with more anecdotes of successful (with CI) and unsuccessful (without CI) market entries.

Eric's Duncan Hines story is at the top of the list for failures:

"My favorite story is the Duncan Hines product launch into Japan. A major producer of cake mix in the United States, they discovered that Asia was an untapped market. They did great market research on the Japanese per capita income, grocery spending, even consumer tastes to determine the right level of sweetness in their baked goods.

A check of potential competition showed that there were virtually NO competitors in this space - an incredible Blue Ocean of profit just waiting!

The product launch was a failure.

It turns out the Japanese generally do not have OVENS in their apartments.

Think broadly, my friends."

Thank you for any examples of success or failure that you can provide,

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Asahi India Safety Glass Ltd is a Market Leader in Laminated Wind Screen glasses in India

A Decade back ie in 1999, their sales dipped. Their COO then approached me with the "problem" and asked me to find a "solution".

What they overlooked and what their blindspots were that:

1. Their authorised distributors were carrying competitor products as well. Customer retention strategies were not in place.

2. Their authorised distributors would push cheaper competitor laminated wind screen glasses to the customer. Their distributors focussed more on customer acquisition rather than retention. " Penny Wise, Pound Foolish"

3. Indian Customers ideally bought / replaced laminated windscreen glass from the "Grey Market", Indian customers preferred Low Cost option. Customers needed to be educated on the relevance of Quality Safety laminated windscreens.

4. Grey market needed to be sorted out!!

5. I broke the smuggling ring in Grey market which was eating into Asahi India Safety Glass Ltd's "Profits".

I advised them to create their own Service centres, where the Moment of Truth could be managed and recommended them to Focus on Service Delivery.

This resulted in their creation of " Windshield Experts" :

Customer Retention was based on effective use of the Service Triangle which enabled them to activate the Ladder of Loyalty.
Anne Lee Gibson has an interesting blog post about providing intelligence to a firm interested in expanding to the Bay Area in California here:, and how that expansion ultimately wasn't a good idea. Three San Francisco firms went bankrupt after that blog entry was posted, including the two she mentions searching for merger partners.

This is certainly not as entertaining as the Duncan Hines story, but it's a great example of the importance of good intelligence.


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