The strategies listed here do not contain any tactics to be used and can be applied to a wide variety of situations with various tactics. These strategies are not channel or platform specific (SEO, PPC, Social Media, et al…) and instead can be considered for use on any channel or platform or a combination of channels and platforms.
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” – Sun Tzu, Art of War
There is a lot of debate on the differences between Marketing Strategy and Marketing Tactics. For our purposes we’ll discuss a strategy as a long-term plan usually accompanied with more vague goals such as “increase traffic”, “boost awareness”, “increase revenue”, or “dominate competitors in x channel”. Often times we’ll liken strategies to military battle maneuvers or overall war plans from the past, others might be based on previous marketing strategies companies have been observed using. Various tactics can be used to make a strategy successful. We’ll discuss those under the individual Channel / Medium / or Platform areas.
Digital Marketing Strategies
1. Go Where They Are Not
This centers around finding an underserved market that is being ignored by your competitors. Serving this market often brings in revenue quickly allowing the marketer to expand operations.
2. The Pincer Movement
Building up your business on two sides of the competition and then working to bring the two together. For example a company that wants to be an ecommerce powerhouse first building out the logistical infrastructure and the underlying technology needed for webhosting and running those as separate business before opening an online store.
3. The Battle of Gaugamela
Getting your enemy to move resources away from their main objective / stronghold while holding your own steady and then attacking with full force at the main objective. Based on the famous battle between Alexander the Great of Macedonia and King Darius III of Persia.
4. The Hammer and Anvil
When you find yourself evenly matched with your top competitor move fast to create something for their user base that they cannot and use that to draw away some of their customers. Then launch campaigns to the new customers highlighting that you do that other thing super great. The goal is to pull away large volumes of revenue from the competitor while building your own revenues, crushing them between a loss of revenue and a need to innovate.
5. Rally the Banners
Getting allies to help spread your messages for you. Great example is Affiliate Marketing, Influencer Marketing, Spreading positive reviews around to various websites, and Paid Blog Promotion.
6. Just the Two of Us
Only referring to yourself and chief competitor (if you’re the underdog) in order to set consumer minds that they only have 2 options (i.e. Pepsi vs. Coke).
7. Crossing the T
From the Naval maneuver where you maximize your firepower while minimizing that of your enemy. Find something you do really good, that your competitor does really bad, and focus all of your efforts on that.
8. Oblique Assault
Similar to The Hammer and Anvil but with a strong anchor that crushes one flank of the competitor. For example Google’s Search Engine is so good that it allowed them to crush the search services of competitor web portals quickly. Those portals then used Google’s search services and focused on being Portals. Google began slowly building out portal-like services (News, Maps, Email) perfecting each one as they went, eventually rendering most of the portals useless.
9. Retreat Fake Out
This is where you begin to retreat but come back stronger, catching the competition off guard. This strategy is used when you’re out matched or make a lot of tactical errors in your first campaign and the failure is noticeable. Make a big noise about the failure while retooling / rebuilding the product / service. Seed a campaign to bring it back. Then relaunch months or years later and get natural coverage of the relaunch.
10. The Lobbyist Maneuver
Get ahead by using your stockpiles of cash. Buy any domain, website, social media account, content, app, or company that will help increase your business.
11. Slash and Burn
If you can’t win, ruin all the chances of your competitor getting stronger by destroying anything they try or want to obtain.
12. Hello Alesia, It’s me Julius
If the competitor has retreated into a stronghold to wait out ‘winter’ surround and mercilessly lay siege to it until they submit. This works great in seasonal industries. Start attacking when they are conserving their money until the busy season, by the time busy season arrives you’ll have taken most of their business. Based on the Siege of Alesia.
13. Mirror Strategy
If you are far behind your competitor you can try to compete by mirroring the same steps and setup they have (within the limits of intellectual property law) you can effectively close the gap and eliminate most of their advantages.
14. Arming the Commoners
Seth Godin might call this “Leading a Tribe”. Find a group of people with no voice or no way of making their voice heard that also intersect as good customers and help them be heard. Give them the tools to carry their message and empower them.
15. The Santa Claus
If your competitor is selling something or covering it with ads then build the same thing of similar quality and give it away for free.
16. The Double Strategy
In this strategy you’ll plan out two strategies to use against your competitor. There will be a trigger point (i.e. specific KPI) that signals you to switch from one strategy to second one.
17. The Back and Forth
In this strategy you’ll start with one strategy, switch to another, and then switch back to the previous strategy.