Bowman’s Strategy Clock

A firm’s strategic competitive positioning is much more important than someone would think. Without a strategic positioning s in place, a firm will struggle to attain competitive advantage against its competitors. For this reason, Bowman put forward the Bowman’ strategy clock which is a method of strategic thinking in order for a business to find the right strategy for their operations.

Bowman’s strategy clock looks into 8 alternative competitive strategies that are plotted along two dimensions: price and perceived value. As the name of the model implies, these strategies are illustrated on a clock figure.

Low price and low added value (Position 1)

This position is not a very competitive strategy within the model since price and perceived value are both very low. The only way to remain competitive in this position is by having incredibly low prices.

Low Price (Position 2)

In this strategy firms attempt to become the low-cost leaders of the market. In order to achieve this, businesses will need to minimize cost and maximize their output in order to generate high levels of profit. This strategy might be hard for small and medium-sized companies that will struggle to increase their volumes.

Hybrid (Position 3)

As its name suggests, the hybrid strategy is an integration of the low price and differentiation position. One the one hand companies attempt to differentiate their products from competitors by increasing the higher perceived value, and on the other hand they focus on lowering the prices. If this strategy is applied correctly it can be a very competitive place to be.

Differentiation (Position 4)  

This strategy is all about differentiating yourself from the rest of the competition. Here, the goal is to offer customers the highest level of perceived added value by offering high quality products and having an effective branding mechanism in place.

Focused Differentiation (Position 5)

This position is similar to the Differentiation strategy but the difference here is that this position falls in a higher price range. This strategy is mainly suitable for the luxury brands that are offering high quality, exclusive products at a relatively high price. In order to stay competitive in this position, firms need to pursue effective segmentation strategies and strong targeted marketing activities.

Risky High Margins (Position 6)

This strategy is a very risky and uncompetitive strategy that it is not suggested to be followed. Here, companies set high prices without offering higher quality or extra features. Eventually, customers will find other alternatives – leading businesses following this strategy to failure.

Monopoly Pricing (Positon 7)

In this position, the company is the only one in the market offering a particular product and it is therefore the monopoly leader.  Considering that there is no competition, the price of the product is determined solely by the monopolistic brand.

Loss of Market Share (Position 8)

This position of the model is a very uncompetitive place to be and it is better avoided. It involves setting a standard price for a product that has a low perceived value in the minds of the customer. This strategy is likely to lead to a loss of market share.

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