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Sustainable competitive advantage

In marketing, sustainable competitive advantage is a core competency that one firm has relative to competing firms. To be really effective, the advantage must be:
  1. difficult to mimic
  2. unique
  3. sustainable
  4. superior to the competition
  5. applicable to multiple situations

Examples of company characteristics that could constitute a sustainable competitive advantage include:

  • superior product quality
  • extensive distribution contracts
  • accumulated brand equity and positive company reputation
  • low cost production techniques
  • patents and copyrights
  • government protected monopoly
  • superior employees and management team
The list of potential sustainable competitive advantage characteristics is very long. However there are some commentators that claim that in a fast changing competitive world, none of these advantages can be sustained in the long run. They claim that the only truely sustainable competitive advantage is to build an organization that is so alert and so agile that it will always be able to find an advantage, no matter what changes occur.

see also: marketing, marketing management, core competency, positioning, marketing mix, marketing plan

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