I was paging through one of my business magazines last week, when I came across a small ad that made me smile.
The headline read: "Everything You've Ever Learned About Marketing Is WRONG!" But it was the subhead that really gave me a chuckle: "Beat Your Competition into A Demoralized Quivering Pulp."
Yes, you read that right. And the offer was for a free 2-CD Program. The picture in the ad was of an angry looking man (named Bill, apparently) wagging his finger at me.
I'm not sure the kind of response he got, but it was very clear who he was targeting: Angry, fearful people. People with so little sense of themselves that they would actually find this ad appealing.
"Yes, crush the competition. I kind of like the ring to that. Then I would be the KING OF THE WORLD... Ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!"
The sad thing is that he just might get a decent response to this approach, if only out of curiosity (yeah, I sent for a copy). And the reason is that there's a lot of people out there with this twisted mindset.
But I assure you that there are mindsets that work a whole lot better, are much easier to live with, and leave you feeling happy and fulfilled about your marketing.
Let's see what Bill might have said about that:
"What? Are you daft?" Bill screamed. "Marketing is a cut-throat, dog-eat-dog business. It's either you or them. Kill the competition, Grind them to a bloody pulp and come out victorious!"
"Brilliant," I replied. "And what will this actually get you except a few more dollars in your pocket? Will you (or your clients for that matter) really be better off? How about all the enemies you create?"
"That's the problem with all you bleeding-heart liberals," sneered Bill. "You come across with all this win-win B.S. But I'll tell you, it's the last man standing that counts. Don't you watch the reality shows like Hell's Kitchen and Survivor?"
"Well, I admit I've watched an episode or two of The Apprentice with Donald Trump but after awhile it wore thin. It pretended to champion excellence but the underlying theme was 'win at all costs or die.' Don't you think that's kind of limiting?"
"Limiting, are you kidding?" Bill's eyes were filled with fire. "It's ALL about WINNING. What else is there? You have the winners and the losers. And I want to be a winner. Trump is my hero, my god."
"Hey, I don't have a problem with winning the game of marketing. I'm all for that. But my biggest competition isn't out there, it's me. It's my resistance, my procrastination, my indifference. When I've conquered those, there's enough business to go around for everyone."
Bill, with a perplexed look replied: "Man, never admit your weaknesses. You'll be eaten alive for lunch by the big guys. You need to show strength no matter how weak you feel. Make no mistake, your enemy is out there."
"Well, Bill, then I have a question for you. What kind of person would be so worried about the competition? What kind of person would have to succeed no matter what the cost?"
"What do you mean?" said Bill with a dirty look.
"Wouldn't it be someone who deep down was very unsure of himself, who had something to prove, who didn't feel confident that he had a great service and value to offer?"
"Are you saying I'm weak, Middleton? This is war, buddy. Watch your back, because I will crush you to a pulp. When I get through with you, you won't even recognize your business."
Bill stormed off, muttering and cursing to himself. I managed to get in the last word: "Well, OK Bill. Enjoy your day. I have some clients to go take care of."
The More Clients Bottom Line: The "beat your competition" mentality is, at best, severely limiting; at worst, it's evil and destructive. You don't need to go there to be more successful than you can possibly imagine.
Have you learned how to work creatively with your competition? Please share on the Blog.