Marketing strategies in achieving competitive advantage


Strategy that is a term used by armies for defining their stance against enemies is now common in corporate world. In past we saw various firms competing against each other. They took defensive stances or they took aggressive stances against each other and tried to knock out their rivals. Sometimes they forgot the ethical limits in this rivalry. Example of Coke and Pepsi is there in history. They used each and every tactics that they could do to unravel each other until and unless they decided their market shares through this hustle. This forms the background of my research.

General description of the project topic

Keeping in view the importance of strategies in corporate environment research topic will focus on the historical success of companies in their selected strategy and their failure due to wrong strategies. This Research report will analyze various grand strategies and generic strategies adopted by communication companies of Europe. In order to limit the scope of the work two major competitors are selected namely O2 that belong to UK and Orange that has a French origin. Both these companies compete in various markets internationally.

Rationale for the project 

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The project is based on the rationale of learning through the experiences of the others. It will bring out the strategic options opted by existing companies and will make clear guideline for the new entrants in the market. In this growing sector of economy, there is a great room for new entrants but few market leaders are holding such a huge share of market that it seems difficult for new entrants to get through competition.

Aims & Objectives

Clearly defined aim

Aim of this dissertation report is to look critically at the competing strategies of O2 and Orange for identifying appropriate competitive strategies for both companies in present situation and suggest competitive strategies for new companies entering the industry.

Appropriate objectives

Objectives of this report will be as follows:

To investigate competitive marketing strategies adopted by each company throughout its history

Identify relevance and appropriateness of current strategies of both companies

Suggest future strategies

Suggest new companies better strategies for entering in communication industry

Literature Review

Competitive strategy is a three decades old concept however it remained a question to assess its adequacy as a descriptive system and analyse its propositions in relation to performance as a result of different strategic designs (CAMPBELL-HUNT, 2000). It is thought that this is mainly due to no work yet for accumulating and comparing the research work on this field (CAMPBELL-HUNT, 2000). Cost and differentiation designs are the two high level discriminators of competitive strategy designs proposed yet. However many important propositions of these designs need further research. It is proposed that competitive research should recover something where it has been silent till now (CAMPBELL-HUNT, 2000). Other findings show that both cost and differentiation influence responsive market orientation and perspective market orientation. These orientations then determine organizational performance. It is observed that differentiation strategy has stronger relation with responsive market orientation and perspective market orientation as compared to cost strategy. Moreover it is discovered that perspective market orientation has greater influence on performance that responsive market orientation (Voola & O'Cass, 2010). Another study found that competitive priority mode proved valid. It further identified that four constructs better explain the variance in corporate competitive strategies. It is observed that high performing companies strongly emphasize on quality and delivery services for better performance and differentiation than on low cost strategy. While low performing companies place almost equal influence on all the competitive capabilities. Lack of ability to identify the at which strategy a firm must emphasize more may be a reason for low business performance (Chi, 2010).

Importance of strategic alignment with objectives along with its interaction with general environment, in the form of various environmental factors, is the question of the day. For example adoption of advanced technology in a market before competition starts can avail opportunity for a firm to differentiate its offering (Qawasmeh & Bataineh, 2010). Orange in Jordan applied this strategy successfully.

Project Strategy

Approach and strategy to be adopted

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The project is a basic research that is exploration of secondary research data for investigating strategies adopted by two major competitors in Telecom industry in Europe. Some deductive approach will be applied for driving strategic solution for the new entrants in market.

Types of information required

For the purpose of this research, literature and research data on competitive strategies will be required. Another type of information will come from the historic and current data for Orange and O2. This will provide information about Strategies of Orange and O2 companies. Secondly, general data for other industry players will also be helpful. Literature on strategy will also be helpful in this regard. It will also form a considerable part of the final report. In short, we can say that we will need theoretical data for competitive strategy from literature on strategy and practical data on strategy from Orange and O2.

Secondary data identified

Primary data sources will include Orange and O2 executives and managers. Secondary data for report will be gathered through published sources of information in the form of various reports most importantly annual reports, articles, books and magazines. Major sources of articles will include databases like Emerald, newspapers and magazines etc. few journals are listed below for identification of data.

"New industrial service pricing strategies and their antecedents: empirical evidence from two industrial sectors" by Kostis Indounas and George Avlonitis

"Strategic capabilities, competitive strategy, and performance among retailers in Argentina, Peru and the United States" by John A. Parnell

"Organizational learning as an antecedent of technology transfer and new product development" by Juhaini Jabar, Claudine Soosay and Ricardo Santa

"Knowledge Transfer Barriers Between Research and Development and Marketing Groups Within Taiwanese Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprise High-Technology New Product Development Teams" by Chung-Ming Huang, Han-Chao Chang and Steven Henderson

Annual report of Orange

Annual report of O2

Research Type

As my work is related to research on strategy and management, so I can say that epistemologically my work is phenomenological. As phenomenology can be described as

"In phenomenology here the principle is that only phenomena and hence knowledge confirmed by the senses can be genuinely be knowledge" (Nightingale, 1989).

My research will take data from peoples whether directly or indirectly but there is no direct involvement of me for observing and experimenting so it can be regarded as phenomenological work.

Ontologically my work is based on realist approach. It comes at mid-way between positivist and interpretivist approach. It admits that

"Real structures exist independent of human consciousness, but that knowledge is socially created" (Flowers, 2009).

My research work is neither focused on the interviews and relative understandings of people for the issues nor is it based on testing of hypotheses. So it can neither be regarded as interpretivist nor can it be positivist. It is related to determining solution of problems that can be done only through a mix of both approaches. Thus it can be regarded as realist approach.


I will apply case study approach to my research. As defined by Dul and Hak

"A case study is a study in which (a) one case (single case study) or a small number of cases (comparative case study) in their real life context are selected, and (b) scores obtained from these cases are analyzed in a qualitative manner" (Dul & Hak, 2008).

This approach will be most suitable as my work is related to the companies who compete in a market. There will be number of case studies related to the successful and unsuccessful organizations who implemented various strategies. Further the outcomes of case studies analysis will be interlinked and some fruitful results will be inferred from these case studies. As my work is a constructive type of research so it is inductive and aimed at deriving some solutions to problems of entry in market for new entrants (Jeffrey A. Gliner, 2000).

Data Collection

As most of the work is based on case studies so the data collection will be through secondary research. As my topic is very specific so it will be difficult to trace the executives and managers of those companies who had failed and discontinued operation or have disappeared from the markets. Further it is not yet clear that which companies will like to share their success and failure through interviews or questionnaires. So at this time it will not be possible to set off for primary data collection. But this option is not closed. Where it will be suitable and feasible I will prefer to collect primary data through interviews and open end questionnaires. The second reason for focusing on secondary data is the availability of data. As strategy study is emerging issue of current environment so there is already a plenty of data available through books, journals and articles.

Research Ethics

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Research ethics will be taken into account. As most of the work is from previously published work so data will be easily available. Further all companies selected will be publically traded companies so further data will be easily available.

Time Scale and Resources

The whole of the work will be conducted as described below:

Selection of data for research and prioritizing data collection method (primary or secondary) for each company will be completed in one month.

Data collection through secondary research will be completed in next one month.

Questionnaire or interview design for any possible and feasible primary data collection will be completed in next fifteen days.

Primary data collection will be completed in next fifty days.

Data analysis and short listing of case studies for dissertation will be completed in next one month.

Dissertation out lay preparation will be completed in next fifteen days.

Writing of dissertation will be completed in next one month.

Dissertation will be proof read and finalized for presentation in next fifteen days.

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The whole research and dissertation will be completed in a period of four months from the date of approval of this proposal. Fifteen days are kept spare for any contingency in deadlines. Thus total work will take a maximum of eight months.

Resources will be adequate for preparation of this dissertation as most of the data is to be collected from secondary research. Primary research that can be more costly is limited and subject to selection of companies and feasibility of data collection.