How to Lose opens up an interesting if controversial idea.Seth Godin seems to be on a run with intriguing posts these days. His Oct 29th post about
I think most marketers, with any spark of fire in them, are very competitive people. While we try not to copy our competition (most of the time) we end up studying them all day long. What are their target markets? What are their key messages? What are they saying when they run up against us? What can we use to “attack” them?
But we just can’t compete on every deal. If you’re smart, there are some segments you don’t go after because the odds of winning the deal are low. And, if by some accident you do win, the odds of having a satisfied customer are even less.
What if you identified a “competitor” for these markets that you could send leads to when they aren’t a fit for your solution? Obviously, a “quid pro quo” relationship is what you’re trying to establish, so create that relationship with someone who is willing to admit that they can’t meet the needs of some of the markets that you target.
For those of you brave enough to try this, it will take some work. Cooperation for scarce resource (or sales) is not a natural thing in human nature – at least not in modern humans. You’re going to have to work hard to find the right competitive partner. You’re going to have to be OK with the relationship being a little one-sided at times. You’re going to have to give up your old dreams of putting the competition out of business.
I know, I know. I’m talking about an old idea – co-opetition. And, maybe some of you have actually tried this before. If so, let us know how it worked, or didn’t work, for you.