B2B Marketing: Why Competition Doesn’t Matter

by Jennifer Beever

B2B Marketers Lead not FollowLead, follow or get out of the way. When it comes to your competition, if you’re spending too much time and energy watching the competition, you’re just following them. Or, at best, you’re looking laterally at business opportunities in an attempt to keep up.

In Good to Great, Jim Collins writes that great company leaders never talked about competitive strategy. They were not focused on what competitors were doing, but on getting the right people in the business and on excelling at their core competencies.

One way to lead in your marketplace is to know what your customers need that they can’t get now. Another way to lead is to stay ahead of opportunities for your business and your industry, because sometimes your customers don’t know what they need. They don’t know what they don’t know. It’s up to you to tell them.

W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne take this a step further in their book Blue Ocean Strategy. Companies that find their blue ocean of opportunity (bypassing the bloody red ocean of competition) can do so by looking at applying their product or service to non-customers. They may be able to gain new market share that competitors don’t have.

So don’t waste a lot of energy on the competition. Know where they are at and what they offer. But look to customers and even non-customers to expand your markets.


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Best of B2B Marketing Zone for January 11, 2012 « Sales and Marketing Jobs
January 12, 2012 at 9:07 am

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Terry Miller January 16, 2012 at 11:39 am

You may not care what the competition is doing, but you may still play in the same arenas…..same channels, same ad space, Google Adwords, etc. If you are a Steve Jobs type, this is valid advice….just have the right people in place with the right skills and a product no one can live without. If you are elbowing for market share, maybe this philosophy doesn’t work in that instance.

Jennifer Beever January 16, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Hey Terry, Thanks for the comment. My blog post is a little more focused on strategy than tactics, but in keeping with the topic of not worrying overmuch about the competition, what I would say about Google Adwords or SEO is to find that niche phrase or niche keyword to optimize for, rather than trying to go head-to-head with the competition on the same keywords. And maybe that niche key phrase fpr which you optimize or pay for click thrus comes from knowing something unique about your customers or a sub-segment of your customers that your competition doesn’t know. It’s about leading and being innovative, not just blindly following.

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