What is Flanking Marketing? Benefits, Examples & Strategies

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Flanking marketing is a type of marketing in which one company tries to displace its competitors in a peripheral market and try to capture the market segment, which is not well served by the competitor.

The company performing flanking marketing, try different strategies to perform the same, and outperform their competitors.

In can also be said as an indirect market strategy aiming to capture the market share and segment of its competitors.

The company does this by attacking the weak aspects of the competition and trying to gain an advantage my performing better on those points.

What’s in it for me

Features of flanking marketing

  • Flanking marketing strategy doesn’t openly confront the two teams.
  • The surprising aspect of this marketing strategy, the winning player, gains access to the market even before its competitors come to know about that.
  • This marketing follows until the leading position is to establish by the firm performing flanking marketing.
  • Flanking marketing strategy best works for products that differentiate not for the products which are new.

Fundamentals of flanking marketing

  • Companies performing flanking marketing must avoid direct confrontation with the competitor’s brand. Marketing managers should ensure to make a move in a market segment that is uncontested.
  • Another fundamental point to consider while performing it is to make your move quick and stealthy. The primary goal of this type of marketing is to gain a market presence before the competition is aware of your actions.
  • Companies must try to move in such a way that the competition does not think of the company as a possible threat until it’s too late.
Flanking marketing

Role of managers in flanking marketing

Marketing managers play a very important role when it comes to the execution of flanking marketing.

They are the ones who are responsible for the execution of flanking campaigns and also act as a link between the company and other teams involved in the process of it.

The role of marketing managers in performing it is briefly describe here.

His first role is to identify the market and look for market opportunities where flanking can be done. This is a very crucial role of the manager as it is the first step in the process. If they do not do it correctly, then the further effects will be ruin, and it can incur losses also.

Now the next role of the marketing manager is to develop the product by working very closely with the product development team. The main aim is to create a product that is a perfect fit for the target market. Product fit here is a very important factor because we can fight competition with our product, and if the product only is not strong enough, then our way of doing flanking marketing may fail.

After the final product , keep in mind the market fit of the product, the next step is to decide upon the pricing strategy of the product. Along with deciding the pricing strategy for the product, some other factors like the product placement and promotion strategy is also to look upon. Promotion strategy is very crucial as by using it, we will try to displace or flank the competition.

Role of a marketing manager

Another and ongoing role of the marketing manager who associates with this process of flanking marketing is the coordination of advertising to reach the target market. It sounds similar to traditional marketing, but it is not. The key difference here is that the advertising should reach the target market, but the competitor who is flanking must not know about the advertising. We don’t want his attention to our advertising.

Flanking marketing

Flanking marketing strategy

Glocal Flank Marketing Strategy

This type of flanking marketing strategy occurs when a company or business tries to flank the different areas of the other company in all manner. The company tries to flank its competition locally, regionally, and globally, where the competitor’s resources are not very strong. Mercedes Benz, Pepsi, Coca-Cola are some of the examples which use this type of flank marketing strategy to gain access to the market.

Segmented Flanking Strategy

In this type of flanking marketing strategy, the marketer tries to flank or attack the competitor’s targeted and niches customers. By doing so, the company performing such is trying to win over all their resources.

The concept of a flankering brand in the late 80s, also known as the fighter brand, is often given to offer a new product to the market in order to capture a larger portion of the market segment. The are various benefits of being a flanking brand. A flanking brand allows the owner of the brand to capitalize on the reputation of its leading brand and on all the messages about quality and source, which are espoused in the existing brand. This allows for potential capturing of new clients, including those who are unhappy with competitors’ products in the same space, or those who are looking for a more economical choice.

Types of flanking marketing

Low Price Flanking

In low price flanking type, the marketer tries the strategy and tries to save on some money by cutting down the prices. Using this strategy, te company reduces its prices drastically. As a result, the competitor faces much more difficulty selling the product because the other company is selling similar products at a much lower price. Let take an example. In the US market, the company Day Inns beat Holiday Inns by flanking technique to become the most profitable chain.

High Price Flanking

When considering the high price flanking model, there are many products where a high price is beneficial for marketers. For example, the price of hot wheels toys is the benefit. The opportunity showed up by hot wheels in the price segment by using a flanking strategy in the modification stage of the product life cycle is excellent.

Because of 2 reasons, the high price is better than the low price. First is that the improved product features and quality at a higher price. Second is the opportunity to make high-profit margins by charging a high price.

Flanking with size

Steve Jobs of Apple has a great marketing vision. With small and integrated circuits, he introduced miniature products like the iPod, which at once was taken by the customers. The best example of a flanking strategy is Volkswagen’s Beetle with General Motor’s big cars. Volkswagen outplayed General Motors by introducing Beetle by flanking technique.

Distribution Flanking

When aiming for a new distribution channel, the company can support it by implementing a flanking marketing strategy. Watches earlier were sold in departmental stores until Titan watches came with a new idea and captured the market using a flanking marketing strategy.

Flanking marketing

Popular Companies using flanking marketing

  • Soft Soap

It used product innovation for its flanking marketing strategy. It flanked its competition by offering the first liquid soap in the entire market.

  • Hanes

Hanes used the distribution type strategy of flanking marketing. They flanked their competition by selling their product through a new distribution system, which was supermarkets. The competitors were only selling their products on clothing stores until Hanes did it for the first time.  

  • Absolut

Absolut used a high price flanking model for their business. They priced themselves about 50% higher than other leading competitors. They flanked them on the premium market of the product. 

  • Budget Rent-a-car

They used the low price technique in order to flank the competitors. 


Flanking marketing is a great strategy to outperform your competition and make yourself stand out in the new markets. There is huge competition among brands to outperform each other, and any competitor can flank the other one with their creativity.

It gives you the first-mover advantage over the competition and helps you in both the short and the long run.


What is a flank attack?

Flank attack is another name given to it, and the adopter of the attack tries to attack the weak points of the competitor and try to outperform them.

Popular Flanking marketing strategies?

Low price flanking
High price flanking
Flanking with size
Flanking with distribution

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