Sunday, March 16, 2008

Positioning is Almost Everything

What happens when you start off a company and target your product to the high end market only to receive the customer volume of a mainstream product? You get Mercedes Benz. Recently Mercedes Benz officially acknowledged Ludhiana (a city in Punjab, India) as the Merc Capital of the World. As you can read here the citizens of Ludhiana and all over Punjab are going crazy over Mercedes Benz products. The managing director of the sole MB dealership has told the media that he is unable to fulfill the entire consumer demand. Next year he predicts sales of 300 cars in the growing market of MB. Customers buy these vehicles not only to flaunt but to reward themselves for all their hard work and efforts.

With the release of many revamped and new models, the value customers see from MB vehicles is extensive. This is not only true in India but in the US as well. The US Markets, as you can read here, took a loss in # of units sold by 2.9% in December 2007. This is while MB came out with a 2.2% increase in # of units sold through 2007.

After knowing know that the market has grown so much, is MB still a high-ender on this positioning map? Obviously it continues to exhume high end product characteristics but has the mainstream market gotten used to those features and now consider them mainstream ? Or can it be that MB is starting to receive a larger market segment (IE: their bubble is getting bigger)? As we try to explain this phenomena with MB I wonder if we should replace the title 'Mainstreamers' with 'Middle-enders' to better portray that the Mainstream market isn't always the biggest (IE: market refers to the blue bubbles)? What is really going on here?