The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Warfare in 2022

Table of Contents

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Kyle Börner

Cofounder, Chief Creative Marketer and Strategist

The sheer volume of conflicting paths to marketing success is overwhelming executives like yourself in 2022. Have you considered marketing warfare to win more business?

Depending on the competitive nature of your company and industry, the term “warfare” may not be well received. Loser mantras like “Everybody is a winner.” has spread through the business world like a plague.

As one executive put it, “… marketing warfare tactics that attack the competition are deemed ‘negative thinking’, and we only do ‘positive thinking’ here. 

When ‘positive thinking‘ leads to negative results, you have to be honest with yourself. Some of your competitors are not falling for the aforementioned status quo of sensitivity and niceness. They’re hungry, and your competitors are coming for your customers, market share, and marketing personnel.

If you’re looking to grow everything with a newfound approach to marketing, continue reading this blog post, or go all in and download your free copy of the ebook below.

Want to know more? Download the 50 Page eBook Today!

You'll learn about customer and competitive intelligence, strategies and tactics, creative and multiplier personnel, and so much more.

The Marketing Warfare Guide

Marketing Warfare is Growth Marketing

Growth Marketing.

It’s a buzzword these days. So much so that there are now Growth Marketing or “Growth Hacking” agencies popping up in every metropolitan area.

It’s a trend brought on by the surplus of available marketing technologies. We really are spoiled, yet overwhelmed by the options, and that’s why these firms are getting outstanding and well-deserved traction (let me know if you’d like a free Growth Marketing Audit).

Growth Marketing is focused on consistently driving more awareness, traffic, conversions, and retention—all of which are crucial to the success of your business.


It’s only part of a much larger picture of growth.

When you’re in business, your priority is to grow the real numbers: Awareness, Revenue, Market Share, and Size… and the only way you’re going to consistently drive those numbers is if you approach marketing like a five-star military general.

Marketing is War.

As you may recall from my articles on why companies don’t grow, customer-first and competitor-first orientations are complementary in their relationship to your organization’s success.

Unfortunately, when we look at 99% of today’s marketing plans, there are more pages dedicated to the customer and the product than there is to the competition.

Huge Red Flag… actually a huge white flag, you’re surrendering to the competition.

Would you like to know more about this? Download the Marketing Warfare ebook to learn about next steps

Size Matters in War

Market Leadership.

You’re either there or you’re working hard to get there.

It was once believed that it was easier to get to the top than it was to stay there… then it was believed that it was easier to stay at the top than it was to get there.

The one truth that has resonated across time is WHAT it takes to get to the top AND stay there.

Size Matters.

But the size of what, exactly?

Some would think that I’m referring to the size of the company. While having more employees (or soldiers in this analogy) than the competition has worked for some market leaders, it’s not a sustainable strategy for getting to and staying at the top, and it hasn’t always been a key to victory on the battlefield, either.

Mark Twain famously said, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

Those who live and personify the business—think Steve Jobs and Elon Musk—are a superior weapon for winning over customers, prospects, and employees en masse.

The Size of Apple’s and Tesla’s Force Matters.

What do I mean by Force?

Force is the level of strength, passion, stamina—you name it—possessed and exerted by a human resource to benefit the business.

Would you like the Force Multiplier Grid? Download the Marketing Warfare ebook to get the grid and more!

Know Your Battlefields

We’ve talked about marketing warfare as your priority growth strategy, and we’ve discussed incorporating marketing warfare with your marketing talent strategy. Now that we have a clear mission and a solid group of marketing personnel, it’s on to assess the battlefields!

As you already know, marketing warfare is a marathon.

What do I mean by that?

Two things.

One, you’re not going to win the war overnight, and when you do take over the industry, you’re not going to want to rest on your laurels—this fight never ends.

Two, the Battle of Marathon is one of the most epic battle stories of all time (yes, when you run a ‘marathon’ you’re reenacting the most famous event from that battle), and as you know from your school years, most battles are named after their location, so…

WHERE you fight the competition matters.

You may be thinking, “Where is this battlefield? The Internet? Retail Stores? Both? I want to see it!

Similar to the end of the previous chapter on where to allocate your force multipliers, you have to know where your competitors are located on the tangible marketing battlefield, and whether it’s a stronghold of theirs, or a weak spot.

In today’s digital marketing world, the tangible battlefield is more vast and multi-dimensional than ever before. Therefore, good reconnaissance is necessary for today’s marketing warfare.

Would you like to expand your buyer persona profiles? Download the Marketing Warfare ebook to learn what to add to each profile.

Surround Your Competition

Throughout history, we have seen the ill effects of imperialism, ie. the extension of one country’s rule over another foreign country by way of military force or some other power. In the real world, this is greatly frowned upon, especially today.

In the business world, however, well. . . it’s business as usual, as it should be.

When it comes to marketing warfare, there are many applications to choose from, but for the sake of this eBook, we are going to focus on the most important and the most rewarding, Offensive Marketing Warfare.

There’s a reason for the special focus on offensive marketing warfare.

It’s good to be the one that keeps competitors back-peddling on their heels and not the other way around.

While you can be creative in defensive marketing warfare, being on the defense clearly demonstrates there’s a hungrier force than you, and you’re reading this to learn how to be the hungriest force, top of the food chain.

It’s been said by past experts on marketing warfare that you should first find your place in the industry by determining where you rank in market share, and from there decide whether your strategy is going to be offensive [dominate and acquire], defensive [lead or survival], or
something else relegated for much smaller companies.

While I can agree to this thought process, I’m going to share with you how and why you should use offensive marketing warfare no matter your size, because if your main mission is survival, you’re already at a great disadvantage.

Would you like a graphical representation of your battlefield? Download the Marketing Warfare ebook to learn how to get your hands on one!

The Round Table

Do you know where some of the greatest military strategies are developed?

Right on the front lines, one table surrounded by several commanding officers, reconnaissance, and troops.

The same goes for developing marketing warfare strategies.

Your takeaway?

Stop excluding everyone but three chief executives from the board room, and please stop spending tens of thousands of dollars on flimsy vacations (that’s what they are no matter how you put it) to a “business resort” for a “destination strategy meeting”.

As I referenced earlier, and if you’ve read my other blog posts, you know that I have great disdain for marketing strategies that are implemented without the anticipation of tactical results.

These “I got an idea!”, “Well, just because.”, and “What if we, like, run more Facebook ads?!” marketing “strategies” or “mindsets” are a huge reason why businesses remain stagnant or fall backwards.

A military force that initiates battle just to initiate battle is bound to lose.

Rather, a military power that comes up with desired and achievable tactical results (eg. blowing up a bridge) to execute a strategy (eg. disrupting the enemy’s transportation of supplies) is bound to win.

Like they say, don’t put the cart before the horse.

Would you like a useful chart to help discover your team’s specialists? Download the Marketing Warfare ebook and hand it out to your staff.

Create More Victories

Did you know that the allies of World War II used a magician to win a battle against their enemy’s number one general?

It’s true. Jasper Maskelyne, a master illusionist, helped the allies hide their position and distract the enemy with fake tanks and explosions.

Such imagination and creativity are not too common on the military battlefield. Leaders who apply fundamentals and age-old tactics don’t have room for these open-minded disciplines.

But when military leaders are backed into a corner, outnumbered, or facing a superior opponent—imagination and creativity are more than necessary; they are essential.

What can we learn from this story?

It’s not that militaries and marketing departments should hire magicians (as fun as that would be!).

It’s that nothing drives progress FASTER than imagination and creativity.

I know what some of you may be thinking. “We don’t have time for daydreaming and unrealistic fantasizing.”

When the disciplines of imagination and creativity are used in marketing warfare, they are fueled by data, facts, and ideas; not fantasy.

Let me stop for a brief moment to define what I’m getting at…

When I say “imagination”, I’m referring to the mind’s ability to be creative without constraint. When I say “creativity”, I’m speaking of the orchestration of imagination with knowledge and evaluation, so as to create something of value for a customer.

Would you like to know how to discover your most creative talent? Download the Marketing Warfare ebook and take the first step to becoming the most creative team in your industry!