David vs Goliath: how to outsmart marketing giants

Great ideas come at an even greater price …or do they? If you were to think in a traditional manner, great marketing campaigns bring connotations with big brands. Big brands, that is, brands that have loads of money. Loads of money needed for banners, cooperation with influencers like youtube phenomenons, TV ads, free samples of a product or at least a branded pen. Goliaths of marketing. You think so? Then think again!

David beat Goliath with intelligence, resource management, and superior decision-making skills . You too can prove more succesfull at marketing than your incredibly affluent competitors. All you need to do is find the right stone for your sling.

“David and Goliath” by Erik Bragalyan

“David and Goliath” by Erik Bragalyan

Be flexible

Goliath was a giant. His size was the source of fear in enemies and competitors, but also a great disadvantage. Moving a heavy body around is difficult and rather slow, which does not prove very useful in combat. Just like Goliath, big companies are not very flexible. They can also implement an impressive marketing strategy, but they cannot alter it and adjust to market needs as easily as you.

David was small, fast and smart. He quickly assesed the size of the giant and his weak point, and then worked with the resources at hand to reach it. You should use your size and resources to your advantage just like David.

Small companies are not limited by the constraints that big ones have to face. Inbound marketing campaigns are generally less resource-consuming and can be easily tested, changed, adjusted without attracting negative comments from the media, whereas loud outbound campaigns devour small fortunes and cannot be stopped without the loss of money, even if they fail at the very beginning.

Use inbound marketing, test what works and what doesn’t, and come forward with the answers to your clients needs and expectations. Be fast, flexible and smart, before Goliath is even able to make one small move.

Be close to your clients

As we already established, big companies are slow. So is their communication and decisive process. Say, a client wants to include some last minute changes to a project. They send a mail to the Project Manager, who then contacts his or hers Team Leader. A Team Leader, who needs to notify the CEO. And if they are a well-managed company, at the very moment the TL tries to reasonably explain the need to include another small change that will delay the completion of the task, Project Manager contacts the vendors responsible for the corresponding part of the job. Legal Department stays over hours today – they have to prepare amendments to all the contracts for parties interested and see to their signing. ASAP. They’ll probably be late.

Decisive process length: up to 24 hours

The client calls you asking to include some last minute changes in the project. You open the project manager on your computer, include some changes, tell the client how much this is going to cost. If they agree, you contact the vendor or just proceed to perform the change yourself.

Decisive process length: 1 hour, provided the vendor is not answering their phone and you have to drive to them by car

No client is going to opt for the first variant, unless they are forced to. Stress your solidity and punctuality as often as you can.

Be different

In his bestselling book on content marketing ‘Content Inc’ Joe Pulizzi also uses the reference to David and Goliath. He says:

“David won because he played an entirely different game than Goliath did. If David would have fought Goliath as tradition demanded, one warrior in hand-to-hand combat against another, he would have lost. And this is what happens to almost every entrepreneur dreaming up an idea that will make him or her successful. Entrepreneurs, whether bootstrapped or funded, have no resources compared with those of the large enterprises they are competing with.”

Again, this is not a constraint in marketing. It’s a constraint in outbound marketing. And you are not going to play this game even if your competition is. As we said last week Inbound marketing is what you need.

  • Observe the market. Visit the forums run and visited by the prospective clients of your trade. Read about their usual problems with products similar to yours, see what questions they are asking when looking for the perfect product. Analyze the answers given by other users – this is usually a great hint when you’re not sure who is the biggest player among your competitors.
  • Plan and implement a good inbound marketing strategy. Customize your website, strategically place ads and links to subscriptions/newsletters/registrations.
  • Make SEO your sling in the fight with Goliaths, master its use with keywords of different weight and meaning.
  • Use statistics, after a while of putting your offer ‘out there’ read into the statistics for your website. Perhaps heatmap shows that the ad should be placed on the left, because that is the place that the clients were more likely to click.
  • Place a live call widget on your website so that the clients have no time to hesitate once the thought of contacting you appears in their heads.
  • Don’t be afraid of competing against the big companies whose names are practically everywhere. Remember, it’s not about branding, it’s about getting leads.

Be critical of your competitors

If the services provided so far were at the highest level and the way the industry is set up would be satisfying, there wouldn’t be any room for you and other small companies. And yet, here you are.

Your product is either innovative or high-quality, ideally both. You did not come up with the idea for it thinking ‘Wow, that stuff ‘X’ is doing is cool, I have to open a company delivering IDENTICAL services so that it makes no sense whatsoever‘. You differ and the difference is substantial. Believe in your product, the fact that it is competitive on many levels, and that you are going to sell it. Don’t be overwhelmed by the seeming greatness of an expensive marketing campaign of your competition, focus on your own sling and finding the perfect stone for it.

Remember, if David focused on the size of Goliath and panicked, he would have ended up dead.

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