Marketing is War. Part 3: Know Your Battlefields.

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Kyle Börner

Cofounder, Chief Creative Marketer and Strategist

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 marketing 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 warfare 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.

We recently performed a growth marketing audit for a silicon valley software company, sending out scouts to over 50 digital marketing footprints to assess each competitor’s strength of position, in addition to the industry’s overall level of engagement.

While the growth marketing audit gave the owners a high degree of confidence in the direction of their marketing roadmap, they also needed to know where their competitors’ strongholds and weak spots were on the more important intangible marketing warfare battlefieldthe mind of the customer.

I’m here to advocate for the importance of the tangible marketing battlefield, but on a secondary level, because it’s easier to do, and it’s a fundamental practice in marketing. How many times have you heard this at a marketing meeting:

Competitor X is performing Marketing Activity Y, we must do the same thing, perhaps outspending them, that’s how we’ll move the needle.”

Can you see my face cringe?

This is why I’m one of the strongest advocates for differentiation that you’ll find in this world—because it takes place in the customer’s mind and it’s not easy, and nothing of superior value, especially a competitive advantage, ever comes easy.

In order to win ‘The Battle for Customers’ Minds’, you need to. . .

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