You Need to be Treating Your Competitors Like Enemies

by Bert Stouffer Mar 23, 2018

Is your digital marketing a roadblock to your success?

If you are searching for the right approach, start with some ancient wisdom from Sun Tzu:

“Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.”

Put simply, the best digital marketing strategy begins with two fundamental elements. To be successful with B2B lead generation you need to know your competitors and you need to know yourself.

Want more leads? Consider our Competitive Analysis and Digital Marketing Audit


1. Know Your Competitors

If you're going to fight your enemy, you have to know who your enemy is, what they're doing, where they are, and where you are going to meet them on the battlefield.

For you, the battlefield is the Internet. Google, LinkedIn, Blogs, etc. This is where you go to war.

To compete online you have to know what your competitors are doing in this space, and you have to determine how you can compete with them. How much work is involved with competing, and how much will it cost?

Don't pick a fight that you can't win

For instance, some markets are so saturated online and competition is so fierce, that a direct attack will not work.

A quick example is that if your average competitor has 1,000 backlinks and you have 10, you are in trouble. This is a battle that will take a long time to win, if ever. You may need to niche and find a space that is not so crowded.

Another easy metric is how often does the competition blog? If they are blogging once per day and they have 500+ blog posts already published, then they are probably dominating the search engines. You will have to do something different.

That said, if your competition blogs once per month, you can easily come up with a plan to blog once per week and win the search engine war.

Don't start marketing before knowing what your marketing needs to do

This has always been an important aspect for any business marketing strategy. In today’s environment it is critical because your competitors can come from any corner of the globe. Unfortunately, I don’t think this gets as much attention as it deserves.

For each one of your major products, you should do a thorough online search to determine which companies have competing product offerings. This provides awareness of what they are doing, and it generates data that you can use to understand how you fit in the landscape.

  • How are they differentiating their product?
  • What do they want prospective customers to know about their company and how they do business?
  • What keywords have they chosen to focus on?
  • What type of clients are they getting?
  • What amount of resources have they allocated to their marketing? Paid advertising? Blogging?

Remember, your prospective customers are going to be conducting their research online before they reach out to contact any of you.

Starting with a competitive analysis to see your competition the way your customers do will provide valuable insights that will shape your strategy.

2. Know Yourself

Once you have a better understanding of how your competitors are positioning themselves and their products to customers, it is time to look in the mirror.

Before you go online ask yourself this: What makes your company remarkable and unique and what specific problems do you solve for your customers that no one else does?

The danger many firms run into online is that they are an 'also ran' in a crowded race.

It's hard to use marketing to differentiate yourself if there's nothing about your product that is different

Start by putting your browser in incognito mode and doing some Google searches based on keywords you think your prospects might use and see how you stack up. What keywords are your strength? Where do you have ground to make up? Where are you not even showing up in the top 100 pages?

Review the content on your site from the perspective of your customer:

  • Would your customers be impressed by what they find on your site?
  • Where do they spend the most time?
  • Would they find your blog posts engaging?

Review the content on your social properties:

  • Would they feel like you understand their situation and needs?
  • Do you have a product that would provide them good value?
  • Are all your digital properties coordinated and working with purpose?

Take a hard look at your paid media efforts:

  • Does your messaging speak to them?
  • Do your landing pages engage them and provide the information they need for their product research?
  • Do you have content appropriate for each stage of the buyer’s journey?

Ultimately, you need a digital audit to complete a realistic picture of the competitive landscape, understand where you fit and what you need to do to win.


These two exercises are fundamental steps that must be taken before trying to undertake any strategy development. Without understanding your competition or yourself, you’re fighting at a disadvantage.

Ready To Unlock Your Marketing?

One additional note. It is important that both reviews be done in an unbiased fashion. Human nature makes us prone to overestimating our own value and underestimating the appeal of our competitors. That’s natural, but it can make you vulnerable.

Hold your team accountable to an objective review. Make sure they understand that for the exercise to be beneficial, it must be performed with a critical eye. I can guarantee that is what your prospects will do.


If you want some help generating leads with your online marketing, read more about our Competitive Analysis and Digital Marketing Audit service or contact us.