A week and a half after launching Killing Giants: 10 Strategies to Topple the Goliath In Your Industry, I’ve learned three important lessons.
First, I have a supportive group of friends. Thanks for everything – all of you – from subtle forms of encouragement to sending me a carton of books (my books, that you’ve purchased) to sign so you can give them away to your clients and prospects.
Second, people are fascinated by the back story – why did I do this, how did I decide to pick up the pen and write this down, etc. Storytelling is still the heart and soul of getting your point across.
Third, people want to know what they can do now, today, apart from the high-brow concepts and theoretical rhetoric. I like these discussions because they’re the reason I wrote Killing Giants in the first place. I’ve never been a big fan of theory. I’m a huge fan – and practitioner – of the art of getting it into the outbox.
So, in this spirit, let me offer up three things you can do today, right now, to start the giant on its downward trajectory.
Win in the Last Three Feet
Giants are great at doing big things. Big launches, big campaigns, splashy stuff. It’s odd that we’re programmed to look down on being reactive, because reacting is a perfectly good idea when you’re competing against a significantly larger player.
When they spend the big dollars, follow along. Hijack the conversation at the point of purchase. In Killing Giants, I describe how Adobe did this skillfully, sending in retail demonstrators to take advantage of their giant’s Black Friday advertising. Similarly, Oslo University did the same thing, leveraging their giant competitor’s advertising with a tactically delivered search campaign. Both turned slam dunks into jump balls, grabbing customers away from their giants at the last possible moment.
Counterpunching is a mindset worth cultivating.
Make it Easier to Say “Yes.”
Look at how JetBlue prices its Cheeps – it’s promotional fares that are so low, they’re comical. Today, it’s a $39 fare from Long Beach to Las Vegas. That’s probably cheaper than taking a bus. Zipcar offers you a subscription for what was once a capital purchase. Look at restaurant chain Denny’s with their free breakfast offer advertised on the Super Bowl – do you know what it costs to serve 2 fried eggs and pancakes? Nothing! It’s pennies! Add the coffee or a muffin, and Denny’s is in the black for the event, with the likelihood that they’ve begun a habit with you.
Changing the way you look at pricing (not just the “price”) and making it easier to say “yes” – particularly in these economic times – is smart.
We’re not talking about the Marquess of Queensbury’s rules anymore. This isn’t a gentlemanly boxing match. It’s a street fight. They’ll gladly crush you if they can, so get ahead of the game and change the rules to your advantage. Still one of the most evocative stories in Killing Giants, let’s turn again to Searle Canada and their launch of Arthrotec, the arthritis pain relief drug. Launching a major ethical drug is usually a case of massive advertising and sales training, followed by a long period of wearing down the objections of the medical community. Searle endowed a $1 million grant to anyone who could detect early signs of ulceration in arthritis sufferers caused by taking traditional anti-inflammatory drugs – the exact problem their Arthrotec solved.
They tapped into the social glue of the medical community and declared the debate to be over. When your teaching hospital staff, your colleagues in the research community and others within your professional circle start running for the exits, you tend to follow them. With a groundswell of social proof in hand, Arthrotec became #1 in Canada within 18 months.
You can put any of these three strategies into play today, right now. So go to it!
PS: A few links for the interested –
The Killing Giants review in April’s Inc. Magazine: http://bit.ly/fFj5X5
The Killing Giants feature in the Spring edition of The Conference Board Review: http://bit.ly/fBOAxO
Marketing Prof’s Killing Giants feature: http://bit.ly/gaSRuY
The Miami Herald’s Killing Giants review: http://bit.ly/gijR83