Posted: October 11th, 2022

Marketing Warfare in the Zimbabwean Mobile Sector Essay


The idea that advertising is warfare will be stated to be largely true in respect of the Zimbabwean cell sector the place gamers have drawn classes from established battlefield ideas of planning, maneuvering and outwitting fellow gamers in order to remain forward of the pack. Nevertheless the advertising is warfare idea doesn’t adequately charectirise the aggressive nature of the cell trade as there are different elements to be considered reminiscent of buyer wants.

The cell sector was launched in Zimbabwe by Attempt Masiyiwa via his Econet model.

A protracted battle with authority ensured earlier than he was lastly granted the licence to function a cell community. In the meantime, Web-one was granted a licence to function and began providing Mobile telephone providers in 1996 adopted by Web-one which was granted a licence in 1998 with Econet being the final to enter the market after its authorized battle in July 1998.

The cell sector has since grown to include different gamers who provide cell providers reminiscent of Africom, Broadacom and most lately Tel one who provide the (086) cell line vary.

Going by the idea that advertising is warfare, the improve in gamers thus equates to a rise in the variety of armies in the battlefield.

This essay shall analyse how the gamers in the cell sector trade have utilized well-known battlefield methods in order to regulate the large share in the cell trade.

‘Marketing is warfare’ outlined

Al Ries and Jack Trout have drawn a parallel between navy warfare and the aggressive methods employed by opponents in the market. Ries and Trout suggest that there are 4 methods that can be utilized in combating a advertising battle; defensive, offensive, flanking and guerrilla techniques. In any trade there’s a market chief, market challenger, market follower and market area of interest. The market chief employs the defensive technique in order to take care of its place as market chief and to increase its market share additional. It has to constantly defend its market share from offensive assaults by its opponents.

The market challenger is the one which follows behind the market chief and might make use of offensive techniques to out rightly assault the market chief and its smaller opponents in order to extend its market share. It might probably additionally select to simply accept its place as a market challenger and struggle to take care of and defend their place as such.

The market follower is way smaller and instructions a smaller share of the market. It might probably selected to make use of the flank assaults which is an oblique strategy fairly than the offensive which might show to be a dearer and fewer efficient methodology. The market follower acknowledges the areas of the market not being coated by the market chief and challenger and focuses its consideration on these areas in order to realize aggressive benefit.

Econet as the Market Chief

Econet, instructions about 58% of the cell market in Zimbabwe with about 8million subscribers while Telecel has a market share of about 28% with subscribers amounting to 2.5 million.Web-One is final with a market share of round 15% and a subscriber base of 700 000.

The above statistics clearly present that Econet is the market chief in the Zimbabwean cell sector. Nevertheless this has not at all times been the place as Web-one, the first to supply cell providers in Zimbabwe was at one time the market chief. This could possibly be attributed to the proven fact that Web- one was the first to supply cell providers with Telecel and Econet getting into the fray two years after net- One had already began offering providers to the market. As such it was solely regular that Web-One was the market chief at this stage.

Because of the financial challenges skilled by the nation particularly the interval earlier than 2008, Web-One failed to take care of its place as market chief ensuing in Econet taking up that place

Amongst the techniques utilized by Econet to realize its place as market chief, is the offensive tactic. It rapidly got here in to extend its market share by rising its subscriber base. This it did by upgrading their capability to allow them to enroll as many new prospects as doable. Econet took benefit of the truth that originally, cell providers had been a scarce commodity and a protect of the elite, to outwit its opponents by rising its subscriber base and flooding the market with its cell strains method earlier than its opponents adopted swimsuit.

One other issue which could have contributed to the rise of Econet to the place of market chief is the proven fact that, for it to get its licence to function, Econet went via a protracted battle with the authorities although that they had give you the thought to introduce cell providers in Zimbabwe. This protracted battle endeared the public to Econet because it was a basic notion that Econet was being victmised. Consequently when it launched its personal cell providers it had already received the loyalty of shoppers method earlier than it began providing the service.

Mobile defence.

When it gained the place of market chief Econet then adopted the defensive technique in order to take care of its place as such. It did this by a continued improve in its subscriber base while at the similar time introducing new merchandise in order to lure extra prospects. By constantly rising its capability in phrases of the subscriber base, Econet ensured that it shut out its opponents, who on account of a scarcity of sources weren’t capable of match Econet’s continued speedy so doing Econet used the cell defence technique which entails greater than only a chief sustaining a fotress place while assuming that its opponents won’t ever catch up.

In the cell defence technique nevertheless, the market chief, ‘concentrates upon market broadening and diversification.’ (Gilligan) Econet additionally went about the enterprise of increasing its community protection space. It did this sizzling in pursuit of Web-One which had gone on a community growth drive, notably in the rural areas an space which Econet had not but penetrated. Econet went on a counter- offensive assault and expanded its community quicker and wider than its opponents thus sustaining its place of market chief.

This methodology was utilized by Cadillac when confronted with stiff competitors from Mercedes. It went on to provide a more moderen and higher mannequin than that which had been launched by Mercedes. That is the methodology which was utilized by Econet, as a result of although Web-One’s now coated the rural areas which beforehand had no entry to cell providers, Econet’s community protection was now larger and even wider than any of its opponents.

Since attaining its market chief place, Econet has labored on growing new services and products to take care of its current prospects and to lure extra prospects. For example, Econet launched the Ecolife service to supply lie assurance providers to its prospects. This was a way of Econet diversifying from its essential providers and likewise labored to make sure that prospects from different networks might migrate to Econet as their networks weren’t offering an identical service. On the different hand, Econet may need supplied this product earlier than doing their homework as regards their capability to supply the product as they needed to withdraw it following disputes with their accomplice.

In an effort to preserve its market share while at the similar time making significant inroads into hitherto unconquered territory, Econet was additionally the first one to introduce 3G providers which enabled its prospects to ship and obtain multimedia messages. The introduction of this service was lengthy overdue as most of its prospects already owned telephones which might carry out this process. The truth that it did so earlier than any of its opponents did gave Econet a aggressive benefit.

In additional diversifying, Econet ventured into web providers via its division Ecoweb. It additional developed this idea by making certain that it was the first to supply web providers on its cell platform thus enabling customers to entry web providers on their cell phones.

Counter-offensive defensive

When Web-One and Telecel launched cell banking via ‘One pockets’ and ‘Isikhwama’ respectively, Econet launched a counter- offensive defence by launching its personal Ecocash. A counter-offensive assault is one in which the market chief responds to an assault by the market challenger. As they are saying that a larger military has received an higher hand and is extra more likely to overpower the smaller armies, Econet might afford to embark on huge commercial and roll out of their new product in order to outdo its opponents. Econet used all its sources and went into overdrive advertising Ecocash. This had the influence of overshadowing Telecel and Web-One’s personal cell banking providers to the level that it’s now nearly as good as if they don’t exist.

Econet used the counter offensive defence in order to make sure that its opponents’ new merchandise had a nonetheless beginning. Utilizing its monumental sources as the market chief, Econet went on to roll out its programme by recruiting brokers throughout the nation, rural and concrete areas alike which additionally function a advertising software for them. By permitting its opponents to introduce their new merchandise earlier than coming in from behind after realizing that the product was viable, Econet additionally used a advertising technique referred to as ‘constructive following’(Mercer1996).

Econet took benefit of the hole in its opponents who, though that they had a good suggestion, didn’t have as a lot sources as the market chief to roll out the programme as successfully as Econet did. On this specific occasion it may be stated that Econet went forward to counter assault its opponents because it didn’t spare any sources in making certain that the product gained consideration. Moreover it has set to flex its muscular tissues by stopping Telecel and its accomplice Cabs, entry to its prospects via their ‘Textacash’ product.

Place defence

The place defence is a technique utilized by a market chief to erect barrier round its firm and be certain that its model place is invincible. This may be finished via huge commercials and promotions to ingrain its place as the market chief. Econet has invested some huge cash in entrenching in the thoughts of the buyer that theirs is the finest model to such an extent that even their opponents may also imagine that this can be a truth.

Its huge revenue margins be certain that it has the cash to dominate the promoting sector and to advertise its model as the main model. The ‘Impressed to alter your world’ catch phrase is used to imprint in the shopper’s thoughts that solely their firm can deliver constructive change to the shopper’s life and that the goal of its very existence is to supply the finest service to its prospects via continued innovation.

All all through the nation, Econet has put up billboards asserting its place as the market chief. This has the impact of constructing their presence felt not solely by its opponents however society at giant. The web impact of that is that its opponents will find yourself believing in Econet’s assertion that its place as market chief is unassailable thus stopping/ decreasing assaults from opponents.

Econet has additionally endeared itself to its prospects via numerous social company accountability actions reminiscent of Capernaum belief, Joshua Nkomo Scholarship fund and the Nationwide Well being Belief. These actions improve Econet’s aggressive benefit as folks start to understand it as a caring group which isn’t simply after their cash.

Telecel as the Market Challenger

From the above statistics, it’s will be deduced that Telecel is the market challenger. As a market challenger, Michael Porter suggests that a market challenger has 3 ways in which to offset the market chief’s benefit:

i) By making a aggressive benefit in value or differentiation.

ii) By neutralizing the chief’s sturdy factors.

iii) By organising a defence in opposition to counter- assault by the market chief.

Telecel has been capable of make use of a number of of those techniques as the market challenger via numerous promotions and incentives to offer it a aggressive edge in opposition to the market chief. A market challenger additionally has to determine whom to problem between the market chief and the market follower.

Frontal assault

The frontal assault is a navy tactic in which the enemy is attacked head on. As a advertising software, it entails the market challenger matching the market chief product for product and worth for worth (C. Gilligan 2010, pg 487). Telecel has saved itself on Econet’s heels by attempting to maintain abreast of all new merchandise supplied by Econet. Regardless that Econet was the first one to launch 3G providers and cell web providers, Telecel additionally rapidly adopted swimsuit providing the similar service to its prospects and at comparable value.

By so doing, it made certain that it didn’t lose a considerable variety of prospects to Econet in search of a greater service. Nevertheless a frontal assault is just not at all times the finest methodology because it very costly and dangerous contemplating that the market challenger is coping with a nicely resourced competitor.

To not be outdone by Econet, Telecel has additionally launched its personal social company accountability initiative via supporting previous folks’s houses which additionally will be seen as a frontal assault on its competitor.

Flank assaults

Telecel has taken benefit of these areas in which the market chief is weak in order to claim itself as a superior model. This technique known as the frontal assault and is much less dangerous and more cost effective than the frontal assault. Telecel has recognized these merchandise that Econet doesn’t present and its weaknesses to fill the void left by Econet. An excellent instance is the pre activated strains that are being supplied by Telecel. Econet doesn’t provide the similar service, the outcome being that it takes longer for a buyer’s new line to be activated than for a Telecel buyer. This offers Telecel a aggressive benefit over Econet.

Telecel additionally gives airtime on credit score as much as a sure restrict, one other service which Econet doesn’t present. By this product, Telecel prospects can use airtime then pay for it later upon topping up their pre-paid strains. Upon buying a brand new cell line, it’s necessary that one registers their particulars with their service supplier earlier than accessing service.

Telecel has offered for this service to be offered by way of the telephone with out the want for filling in of kinds. On the different hand Econet doesn’t have an identical facility and one really has to go to their places of work to fill the kinds with a substantial ready interval.

Telecel was additionally the first one to supply name me again facility. This facility allows a buyer with out credit score to ship a message for an additional subscriber to name them again. Econet then launched a counter- offensive protection by instantly following swimsuit. Nonetheless, Telecel nonetheless has the higher hand in phrases of buyer satisfaction as their subscribers are allowed to ship name me backs throughout all networks. Econet on the different hand, solely permits name me backs by itself community. This might give Telecel a bonus ensuing in buyer migration from Econet to Telecel, for many who require the service to be throughout the board.

Telecel has constantly checked out methods to outwit their market chief by benefiting from these service gaps left by Econet. Telecel took benefit of the social media platforms by being the first to encourage the market to love them on Fb earlier than Econet did. Econet has since taken a counter- offensive response by additionally signing up on the social community platform.

Telecel additionally took the lead on teletunes a service whereby a caller can hearken to a tune while ready for his or her name to be linked. It additionally initiated a quiz facility the place its prospects would stand an opportunity to win prizes in the event that they answered the questions accurately. All this enhanced Telecel’s model as it could continuously search to supply a differentiated service from that of its opponents.

Telecel supplied cell banking providers earlier than Econet did. Econet instantly launched a large counter-offensive as outlined above. This reveals that it’s a dangerous enterprise to assault the market chief, because it has greater than sufficient sources to counter the offensive and even surpasses the market challenger.

Guerilla techniques

These techniques entails hit and run strikes that are designed to maintain the competitor off steadiness. This may be in the type of short-term worth reductions as Telecel did with the introduction of ‘mega juice’ airtime the place their prospects would get huge reductions inside the community after topping up their airtime. This additionally labored to extend product as prospects would purchase extra airtime realizing that they are going to obtain bonuses. Telecel additionally decreased the worth of their sim card starter packs as in comparison with these of their opponents. It might probably really be argued that these two techniques alone helped Telecel to overhaul its opponents from behind thus changing into the second largest cell community in Zimbabwe.

Guerilla warfare may also be by means of product comparisons. When Econet modified its platform from ‘091’ to ‘0772’ while Telecel was altering its personal from ‘023’ to ‘072’, Telecel took benefit of this changeover to place its product in comparability with Econet. Beforehand Econet was related to the elite, while on the different hand Telecel was related to the much less prosperous.

Nevertheless with the changeover of the figuring out numbers the distinction was now not notable. Telecel launched commercials encouraging folks to ‘….transfer over to Telecel since they had been altering numbers anyway’. On its web site in an obvious dig on the market chief Telecel says ‘We’d not be the greatest however we’re the finest’ Telecel additionally underwent rebranding and elevated commercials and visibility. It additionally provides a press release that you simply would not have to be the greatest in order to be the finest.

Web-one as the market follower.

Web-one having is the market follower in phrases of the above statistics. It has the possibility of using the following techniques:

i) Product imitation or the me-too technique

ii) Guerilla techniques via worth discount

iii) Use their Analysis and Growth successfully

Web- One moved from being the market chief to being the market follower due. This could possibly be attributed to the financial meltdown between 2002 and 2009 and likewise the introduction of United States Greenback. Web- One misplaced numerous income because it had established a distinct segment market amongst the company and parastatals that most popular its contract line service. The introduction of the United States Greenback meant that each one cash owed below the Zimbabwe Greenback period was misplaced.

Web-One has launched into a variety of warfare techniques in order to regain its market chief place. Initially, Web-one sought to regain its place as market chief via an aggressive community growth drive. Web-One used the flanking assault by making certain that they expanded to the rural areas whereas all its counterparts had been concentrating on the city areas.

Thus Web-One took benefit of the gaps left by its opponents to realize aggressive benefit. Econet nevertheless countered by increasing its community even wider than Web-One. However, Web-One remains to be perceived to be the community that’s simply accessible in the rural areas.

Web-one has used the me-too technique by additionally introducing airtime promotions and bonuses for topping up airtime. This it has finished in imitation of the promotions finished by Telecel below the ‘mega-juice’ promotion. It’s reported that these promotions have resulted in it rising its subscriber by 500 000 subscribers.

Web-One has additionally engaged in frontal assault in coping with its opponents. In 2006 when Econet supplied to sponsor the nationwide Premier Soccer League (P.S.L), Web-One countered by providing to sponsor a workforce in the P.S.L. This might outcome in promotion battle as Econet needed gamers’ uniforms to all bear its model whereas the Web-One sponsored workforce would even be required to put on the Web-One emblem. In the finish Econet pulled out of the sponsorship deal.

Shortfalls of warfare advertising technique.

It has been argued that the warfare technique’s shortfall is that it concentrates primarily on opponents strikes while forgetting the buyer. It has been proposed that there must be a robust focus upon the buyer and that the group should be customer-led.

The advertising is warfare idea results in an excessive amount of aggression and typically an organization can lose sight of its personal targets and or its personal prospects’ wants. This could have a unfavorable influence on its efficiency as the firm engages in pointless aggression. On the different hand, one can’t be purely buyer –oriented as prospects fairly often don’t notice what they need and counting on buyer opinions will be misguiding.


Marketing has been likened to a soccer match the place one can not simply consider the sport with out taking a look at his opponents’ as a result of they won’t win the sport. From the above it may be stated that certainly if the gamers in the cell sector had been to completely ignore their opponents they might not achieve aggressive benefit. Nevertheless the cell sector must also consider their prospects if they’re to offer their prospects worth. Total it must be identified that the competitors methods highlighted above outcome in worth addition for purchasers as gamers attempt to outdo one another.







• Gilligan C. et al [2009] Strategic Marketing Planning , 2nd Version Butterworth-Heinmann United Kingdom.

• Hooley G. et al [2012] Marketing Technique & Aggressive Positioning fifth Version Prentice Corridor Worldwide, United Kingdom.

• Kotler P. et al……

• Mercer D. [1998] Marketing 2nd Version Blackwell Publishers United Kingdom.

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