Chances are, if you are a startup, small or medium sized business you are looking to grow; and often there is a larger competitor in your way. Competitive marketing strategy is a game, and it’s just like Chess where the objective is to manoeuvre yourself in such a way that you checkmate your opponent. Providing you follow the strategic rules, you can have a decent shot at success.
RULE NUMBER ONE: NEVER ATTACK FULL-FRONTAL.
Goliath is bigger than you. If you attack him full-frontal he’s going to squash you like an ant. It will almost certainly be a costly exercise (especially for you) – and potentially a disastrous one as well. He has more money than you; he has more resources than you; and he has more to lose than you. You need to expect a reaction.
RULE NUMBER TWO: DON’T COPY.
You cannot win by copying Goliath. You can only exploit Goliath’s weaknesses against Goliath.
RULE NUMBER THREE: FIND THE HOLES.
The bigger Goliath is; the more holes appear in the business armory. Holes are exactly that – they are small areas of weakness; just waiting for David to target. If you are going to tackle Goliath, find and tackle a hole. Keep your focus narrow and on the hole; and don’t let go.
RULE NUMBER FOUR: DON’T COMPETE ON PRICE.
Don’t go in on a price lead. Goliath has deeper pockets than you and could wipe you out financially.
RULE NUMBER FIVEL SERVICE A NICHE MARKET.
Look for uncontested areas. Often larger players cannot service niche markets. Look for areas where the cost of servicing the niche outweighs any financial benefit to the larger player (bearing in mind that the bigger you are, typically the greater your cost base and the greater the need to mass-produce to create efficiency). Find a niche market that is small enough to defend.
RULE NUMBER SIX: KEEP QUIET!
Don’t tell anyone what you are doing. All it does is alert your competitors to the game plan. Shut up and move quickly. Surprise is the name of the game. There will be plenty of time to brag later.
RULE NUMBER SEVEN: BE A LEADER BUT DON’T BEHAVE LIKE ONE.
Become a leader in your part of the market, but don’t get complacent and behave like one. If you do, just as you took from someone; someone else will take from you.
RULE NUMBER EIGHT: TAKE CONTROL AT THE TOP.
Keep decision making away from the committees. You want one person (preferably at the top) directing the plan of attack. Be the general – directing your troops.