Competition myopia

Welcome to Seinfeld on Marketing! In this episode, a beautiful woman mistakes George for her boyfriend Neil, a guy who she claims looks just like plain, old George. This intrigues George; he wants to meet Neil. George is oblivious to Danielle’s advances and can only focus on finding out how Neil could ever become the boyfriend of this beautiful woman. In this scene, George talks to Jerry about his obsession:

GEORGE: I have got to find out how he could get a girl like Danielle.

JERRY: (pointing out the obvious) George, you’ve got Danielle. Forget about
Neil. You’ve out-Neiled him.

GEORGE: (surprised) So, I’m Neil? How did I do that?

JERRY: I don’t know, but you better keep it up.

Sadly, George does not keep it up. His obsessive fixation on Neil (instead of focusing on Danielle) led him to lose Danielle to Neil.

risk.pngThis reminds me of a marketing professor that I had that would always encourage his students to play the game of Risk. Don’t get me wrong; Risk can be very fun. However, I wonder if the tactics learned in playing Risk can actually hurt you as a marketer.

The goal of Risk is conquest…worldwide domination. In order to win, you need to learn strategy and intelligent tactical decisions. These strategic concepts can be very valuable. However, an unhealthy balance of attention and time is given to the enemy because once you have dominated your opponent, the country naturally falls into your hands. There is no questioning from the inhabitants as to why you are there.

The real marketing world is not like this. Just because you are better than your competition does not necessarily mean that you can take over the marketplace. In the real marketplace, the inhabitants do not take kindly to dictators. The marketplace can only be “won” over if they want to be and if they believe you have something of value in return.

Knowing the whereabouts of your competition is good business practice. But focusing on your competition to the point of looking past your customers is suicide. Customer centricity will always win over competitor centricity.

Happy Friday everyone!

This post is part of a weekly series, Seinfeld on Marketing.

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