Q1. (Broad) Differentiation strategy, it is a strategy that provides products or services that offer benefits that are different from those of competitors and that are widely valued by buyers. Madonna follows differentiation strategy by identifying and understanding the strategic customers. Madonna identifies and understands the target group well, such as target at young ‘wannabe’ girl by poppy style. Also, she was using Marilyn image to obtain a new group of fans, also allow the growing up fans to take more critical message.
Madonna keep changing her persona and style in order to target different group of target segments from children to mother age and even gay-icon audience, etc . Madonna had took part in different ad campaign such as GAP and Max factor in order to differentiate her image and target different kind of people. Besides, we say that Madonna follows differentiation strategy because she can identify the key competitors and differential it’s music genre and image in order to increase the difficulty of imitation.
Madonna realize that there are lots of artists today, the competition is high, therefore, Madonna tried to differentiate its music by teemed up with techno pioneer William Orbit to produce album, this first mover advantage makes Madonna differentiate with other pop stars and gain huge success. Also, she was doing cross-marketing the album image with D&G in its men’s fashion shows in order to become the dance-pop crown.
The strategy followed by Madonna leads other pop stars find it difficult to imitate or follow her chameleon-like ability and therefore Madonna benefits from it such as album sales, revenue, different cohort of fans and sponsors. Q2 Madonna experienced sustained success because she is able to create difficulties of imitation by using differentiation strategy. As Madonna has at the top for decades, therefore she have a lot of experiences in her career, the experiences she obtained is difficult to imitate by other competitors as it’s her own competences.
Also, Madonna’s chameleon-like images like earth mother, erotic porn star, militaristic image and reputation are intangible asset, it cannot be traded, and therefore, the imperfect mobility of the competencies sustained Madonna’s success and hinders the imitation by competitors. Besides, Madonna sustained success because of strategic lock in, which means achieve a proprietary position in its industry, it becomes the industry standard. Madonna is a very successful and well-know pop star for last 2 decades, therefore, she can sustain her success so long as she seems to dominance the dance-pop sound market.
Also, she is the first pop star to team up with techno pioneer to produce album and take up an earth mother/ spiritual image and spawn a trend for all things Eastern in fashion and music, this first mover advantage contribute to the sustained success. Moreover, Madonna is able to target different group of people such as film audiences, strong gay icon audiences, young wannable girl by different marketing strategies, different images, critical messages from music, and different products, therefore, she can stay success for a long time.
Q3 ?Imitation, strategic (re)positioning, blocking first-mover advantage and overcoming barriers to entry by competitors may threaten the sustainability of Madonna success. Other artists may seek to achieve advantage by developing new products or entering new markets in order to imitate such as using high-tech method to produce album. It may threaten her sustainability if others try to imitate her. Besides, her competitors may adopt a different basis of competitive strategy like low-price strategy.
As a result, the competitors may gain advantage by attracting the price sensitive customers. Madonna may lose some fans and decrease the revenue, therefore affect her sustainability. Competitors may try to achieve advantage as a first mover such as more high-tech producing album method or new music style or products, it may threaten her sustainability. Competitors may overcome the barriers to entry, for example, competitors may try to dominate a geographic area or market segment, it may affect the sustainability of her.
Also, some competitors may have substantial surplus resources like outstanding singing skills or unique music style may hinder the sustainability of Madonna or the competitors may merge or building alliance to compete with Madonna. ?Consumer’s preference may change over time. For example, the customers no longer view Madonna as a good fashion icon and they change their music preferences, therefore, they may not support Madonna anymore and it may threaten her sustainability. Political factors- sometimes the artist maybe ban from government or dislike by the public because of political factor. Madonna has a speech concerning the China earthquake in 2008, many people disagree with what she said and many people disliked her. Her image and reputation are affected. Therefore, sometimes her action or public’s view and opinions may affect the sustainability of Madonna too.