Home > Articles > Business & Management

Marketing-Driven Strategy to Make Extraordinary Money

  • Print
  • + Share This
"What am I selling to whom, and why will they buy?" The authors of Marketing That Works: How Entrepreneurial Marketing Can Add Sustainable Value to Any Sized Company, 2nd Edition explain that determining the answers to this seemingly simple question will have more impact on the success of your venture than anything else.
This chapter is from the book

Orvis Company—Excellent Entrepreneurial Positioning

The Orvis Company has done an excellent job over the years of capitalizing on a unique positioning in a very competitive industry. They sell “country” clothing, gifts, and sporting gear in competition with much bigger brands like L.L. Bean and Eddie Bauer. Like their competitors, Orvis sells both retail and mail order. How is Orvis differentiated? They want to be perceived as the place to go for all areas of fly-fishing expertise. Their particular expertise is making a difficult sport “very accessible to a new generation of anglers.”1 Since 1968, when their sales were less than $1 million, Orvis has been running fly-fishing schools located near their retail outlets. Their annual sales are now over $350 million. The fly-fishing products contribute only a small fraction of the company’s sales, but the fly-fishing heritage adds a cachet to all of Orvis’s products. According to Tom Rosenbauer, beginner fly fishermen who attend their schools become loyal customers and are crucial to continuing expansion of the more profitable clothing and gift lines. He says, “Without our fly-fishing heritage, we’d be just another rag vendor.”2

The Orvis positioning pervades their entire operation. Their catalog and their retail shops all reinforce their fly-fishing heritage. They also can use very targeted segmentation to find new recruits for their fly-fishing courses. There are a number of targeted media and public relations vehicles that reach consumers interested in fishing. Their margins are higher than the typical “rag vendor” because of their unique positioning. The positioning is also defensible because of the consistent perception that all of their operations have reinforced since 1968. A competitor will have a very difficult time and large expense to reproduce the Orvis schools and retail outlets. It also will be difficult for a competitor to be a “me too” in an industry where heritage is so important. The positioning decisions Orvis made in 1968 probably added close to $1 billion of incremental value to their venture since that time. That value is our estimate of the difference of Orvis’s actual profit since 1968 compared with what the venture’s profitability might have been had they just been “another rag vendor.” Victoria’s Secret is another company that has really leveraged excellent positioning, as discussed later in this chapter.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account