Joel Kelly's Blog

Joel Kelly's updates about his latest writing, his process, and his life as a Halifax-based author and marketer.

It's dangerous to think you're the underdog...

...when you're not.

The underdog's job is to steal customers from the top dog, or the other underdogs. They need to focus their efforts on explaining why they're better than the bigger competition, which elevates them to the status of peer, and steal customers.

Sometimes, the top dog gets to thinking they're the underdog. So they focus on stealing customers, instead of making new ones.

If you're the top resort in a region, your job is to get more visitors to that region. Not to steal customers from the smaller competitors. You win if the region wins.

If you're the top rental car company, you want to get more people renting cars.

Now, you of course want to fend off attacks from your competition. You want to keep your customers from getting stolen. You want a moat around your castle, as Warren Buffet says.

But if you focus on simply capturing the business of those already interested, you're going after the small fish when you should be going after the whale.

It happens all the time — your business is suffering so you think the strategy is to focus on getting new customers, instead of growing the category. It's an easy trap to fall into.

But it's a trap.