# How to win at Markstrat (Markstrat Tips and Tricks) – competitor analysis

The last part in the How to win at Markstrat series, I will discuss competitor analysis and the various methods to speed up the analysis process.

In most cases Excel’s Conditional Formatting Colour Scales is all that is required. For the below examples blue is segment targeted. It is important to apply the conditional formatting over each market segment individually, not the entire market.

In other cases, a little bit of work is required, the square root of the sum of squared differences can be used to determine the distance between two points, in many cases this can be used to calculate how close a competitor is to ideal values. Excel makes this calculation easy with the SQRT(SUMXMY2()) formula.

Advertising competitor analysis is the easiest, the Estimated Advertising Expenditures (in thousand dollars) gives a good indication to which company is targeting which segment.

# Commercial Team

Using the Estimated Commercial Team Size (in full-time equivalent), the exact commercial team size per channel of the competitors’ products can be determined.

Converting the distribution between each channel to a percentage, it can then be compared against the Shopping Habits found in the Consumer Survey. Using Excel’s SQRT(SUMXMY2()) we can get the difference between the ideal distribution and the actual for a particular product and segment. A lower value means closer ideal and actual.

The results show which company is targeting their products to which segment. But more importantly, which product has a more ideal commercial team distribution to meet a particular segment.

# Semantic Scales

Similar can be done to semantic scales, which provides an indication to which products are ideal for the market segment. The two tables to use in the calculation are Brand Perceptions and Ideal Values.

# Multidimensional Scaling

Similar to Semantic Scales, the same can be done for Multidimensional Scaling. Ignoring the values, what is interesting is how similar the Multidimensional Scaling is to Semantic Scales seen through the similar shades of colours. Change Multidimensional Scaling Perceptions and you change Semantic Scales perceptions and vice versa.

# How to win at Markstrat (Markstrat Tips and Tricks) – Market Forecast and Segment Selection

Having recently completed the Markstrat strategic marketing simulation, I thought I would share some tips and tricks learnt along the way.

When initially starting Markstrat, all the data can be quite daunting, as you progress through the periods you get a feel for what to concentrate on.

A multiple-part series, the first part will look at Market Forecast and Market Segment selection.

# Market Forecast

Start by looking at the market forecast, determine which segments are the high-growth segments, get into these segments early. This has two benefits, establishing segment dominance and control which makes it difficult for competitors to enter the segment, secondly, the high-volumes help to decrease unit costs over time.

Plotted is the market forecast of each segment with an exponential trend line, forecasted additional three periods in the future. Shoppers and Savers clearly have the highest market growth in this example.

Integrate the equations between period 0 and 8 to get total volume.

 Segment Equation Total over 8 periods Explorers y = 231764e-0.029x 1,654,717 Shoppers y = 176438e0.2592x 4,733,251 Professionals y = 160089e0.1414x 2,376,865 High Earners y = 146295e0.1815x 2,637,148 Savers y = 280506e0.1738x 4,868,505

One thing to consider is these two segments also have the smallest margins.

An estimated simple Contribution Margin can be calculated using Recommended Retail Price minus Base Cost for each existing product. The summation of market share of each product multiplied by the calculated CM of each product gives as estimated CM per market segment.

 Product Est. CM Explorers 262 Shoppers 221 Professionals 299 High Earners 286 Savers 199

Using the total volume of each segment multiplied by CM of each segment, we get the following segment total CM.

When semantic scales are available from period one, we can associate price perceptions to actual prices, adding in an exponential trend gives a rough price perception to actual price equation. Semantic scales will be discussed in more detail next part.

Using ideal values for each segment, we can get a rough price for each segment.

 Segment Ideal Values RRP = 147.77e0.1955x Explorers 3.5 294 Shoppers 3.4 288 Professionals 5.7 449 High Earners 5.3 420 Savers 2.3 231

An estimated base cost for each segment can be determined by summing the products of individual product’s base cost and individual product’s segment market share. With the estimated segment product cost and estimated base cost, the estimated contribution margin per segment can be calculated.

 Product Est. CM = 147.77e0.1955x Est. Base Cost Est. Total CM Explorers 294 169.839 124 Shoppers 288 120.982 167 Professionals 449 211.426 237 High Earners 420 200.058 220 Savers 231 74.964 156

Again, the Professionals and High Earners segments, as expected, have the highest contribution margins.

Finally, plotting the total contribution of each market segment calculated by the segment CM multiplied by the total segment size. It can be seen that Shoppers and Savers are still the higher earning segments, even though Professionals and High Earners have higher contribution margins, though the contribution growth is slightly slower.

It should be noted that spending more budget in a Market Segment naturally increases the market segment size. Companies moving into the high-growth segments will naturally fuel the segment’s growth in a virtuous circle, while the abandoned low-growth segments continue to die in a vicious circle.

I am happy to provide general MarkStrat help, or can discuss each period for a fee, feel free to contact to discuss.