Marketing is War. Part 4: Surround Your Competition.

Table of Contents

Kyle Börner

Cofounder, Chief Creative Marketer and Strategist

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.

As sports fans, we’ve all heard the adage, “the best defense is a great offense.” In business, there’s also the adage, “the best offense is a great defense.”

Whereas old thinking would recommend the latter of the two to a market leader because it minimizes risks to protect their lead, us sports fans know that a conservative strategy fails more often than not, because playing it safe is a negative exercise, concentrating too much effort on responding to the competition (playing defense) rather than dominantly engaging with the competition (playing offense).

One reason businesses and the agencies they work with fail to recommend attacking the market leader is because they fear the market leader will respond swiftly and with excessive resources.

This is old thinking and relies too heavily on the military analogy. Today, there are 100s, if not 1,000s, of different marketing channels to reach customers and attack the competition.

As shared in the previous chapter, having the best marketing reconnaissance can quickly show you where the leader, or any competitor, is weak. And as you’ve seen in several military movies, once the adversary sends troops and resources to help a weak spot, that’s when you attack the now diminished stronghold.

Marketing warfare, as well as marketing overall, was once considered an art and not a science. Some still think this today. I can’t tell you how much I loathe when people consider marketing more of an art than a science. It’s simply not true.

This old-fashioned-way-of-thinking gave birth to the idea that there are industries where offensive marketing warfare against the leader is inconceivable.

I’m here to tell you. . .

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