In 2008, few former Somalian fishermen who have turned into modern sea pirates attacked 50 ships in the waters off Somalia, hijacked 25 and at least 14 are currently being held by the pirates. They’ve succeeded to capture a military cargo with grenade launchers, piles of ammunition, and 30 battle tanks.
How is it possible that few former fishermen in small boats could capture and hold huge tanker ships, even military cargo with tanks that weigh more than 80,000 pounds each?
Somalian pirates play a game they know they can win. They’ve created the rules that favor their particular skills.
In marketing, the secret of successful underdog companies or small companies in competing with big companies is to move the fight into a territory that favor their particular skills.
It’s a Jungle Out There! You are surrounded by thousands of same businesses vying for the same bounty. Several of these businesses are grossly larger than you. Some have the power and personality of Godzilla. Many of them are far better funded than you. Some have been successfully operating their businesses since prehistoric times. They thrive on competition. Some of them can run more ads in more papers and more commercials on more stations than you’ll ever run. They can mail more materials to more people than you’ll ever mail. They can outspend you in every area of marketing that money can buy. Mitch Meyerson and Jay Conrad
In the Biblical story of David and Goliath, David initially put on a coat of mail and a brass helmet and girded himself with a sword: he prepared to wage a conventional battle of swords against Goliath. But then he stopped. “I cannot walk in these, for I am unused to it,” he said, and picked up those five smooth stones.
What happened when the underdogs likewise acknowledged their weakness and chose an unconventional strategy?
When underdogs choose not to play by Goliath’s rules, they win, “even when everything we think we know about power says they shouldn’t.” – How David Beats Goliath, by Malcom Gladwell
When underdogs fight the conventional way, they engage in battle using the same rules as their stronger. They loose. When an underdog fought like David, he usually won. But most of the time underdogs didn’t fight like David.
What game are you playing? Is it the right game for your particular skills and talents? Is it a perfect set-up for you or your company to win? If not, then perhaps it’s time to play a different game or invent one of your own; one that you can win. – Play the Game You Know You Can Win, by Peter Bregman