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Developing Your Marketing Plan Strategy Options With the Ansoff Matrix – ‘Market Penetration’

Practical marketing planning to help you maximise your marketing budget

In this series of articles, I take a look at an easy-to-use strategic marketing planning tool. Known as the Ansoff Matrix, the enduring popularity of it is probably down to its simplicity. In short, it says a business has only four possible strategic choices – depending on whether you choose to market new or existing products in new or existing markets.

‘Where to play and how to win’ is a great phrase summarising the benefits of using it. In these articles I have provided examples to make particular points and help develop your understanding of it, and how you can apply it to your business when planning its strategic direction.

As a reminder, take a look at the Ansoff Matrix and the Different Strategy Options.



Market penetration/expansion is all about how to sell more of your existing products or services to your existing customer base – a strategy that has the least risk, understandably.

For your business, evaluating your product or service portfolio is a key issue, along with whether to focus on the business to business (B2B) or business to consumer (B2C) sectors, existing customer demand, likely future demand and new market opportunities.

The most basic way of gaining market share in existing markets is by winning competitors’ customers. Techniques can include reducing prices,  targeting your competitors’ customers and identifying known users of your products or services in key industry sectors.

More generally, increased promotional activity in those key industry sectors can be beneficial in raising awareness of your products or services. This is easily said as a method of market penetration say in the B2B sector, but needs to be targeted, planned as a campaign and followed up – perhaps using online advertising, email messages and then a follow-up phone call.

For existing customers, you may want to find ways of trying to lock them in to your service offering. You could also look to increase usage among your existing customers or converting non-users who may be contacts but not customers to try and get them started with you. Two ideas here –

  • Longer opening hours – changes in Sunday trading were looking very likely as a consequence of the pandemic, but would full 7 day week shopping for retailers of all sizes enable big name high street brands to further dominate (what’s left of) the high street actually be beneficial?
  • Finding a tangible or quantifiable customer service improvement. This could aim to reduce order processing times for quicker delivery.

The reason for mentioning this is to show how regulators have had to swiftly adapt to the virus to enable business to continue. Another consequence of the pandemic was the Financial Conduct Authority permitting electronic signatures – previously documents had to be printed and signed.

Question – Is there a regulatory obstacle or opportunity relevant to your business? The summer 2020 announcement of partial deregulation of planning laws will have considerable implications for local authorities and be of considerable interest housing developers – to name just two.

Showcasing your product portfolio is another technique for market penetration – an idea that has proved very successful with one client is bespoke e-mail signature graphics to promote their services and sent out as part of their day-to-day communications. They are changed every few weeks and the links are trackable; overall it make a small but valuable contribution to their website traffic.

Question – Do you mention your other products or services in your marketing communications?

Another way of gaining market penetration is to quite simply buy up your competitors or merge with them. A recent example is Sports Direct buying leisure clubs and retail premises from rival business DW Sports Fitness after it fell into administration. 

Lastly, your degree of market penetration can actually be calculated and shown as a percentage. This may be more relevant to firms with larger market share. You get this by dividing your existing customers by the number of all potential customers in the market and multiplying that figure by 100.


Next time I take a close look at the second of these strategies – market development

Click here to read – Getting started: developing your business strategy with an easy-to-use marketing planning tool.

Click here to read – Developing your marketing plan – basic product/marketing strategy options using the Ansoff matrix.


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Click here to request the complete series of 6 strategic marketing planning articles.

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