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Dear Tig: Toe-to-Toe With The Big Guns, Below-the-Line Defined, and A Value Proposition vs. Positioning Statement

by Tig Tillinghast  |  
January 7, 2003

Dear Tig,

I just started work at a "little fish" company that is gearing up to be more competitive with the "big fish" of the industry. We pretty much have the technology and service to go toe to toe with the big boys.

My question is this: How do I do that? Not meaning to be too open ended of a question, how do I overcome the "we are the biggest, we are the best, we are nation-wide, we have a bazillion clients and eons more experience than the company you are talking to?"

Given limited resources, where would you focus your efforts?

Thanks in advance, Mini


The deck is stacked against smaller companies. Not only do they lack the scale that gives lower average costs, but they also have to fight an uphill battle for distribution, market awareness and credibility in the sales process. But there is also a long, and sometimes successful, tradition of using the giant's own weight against him.

It worked for Jack on the beanstalk, and it worked for long-shot political candidates like Jimmy Carter. In the marketing field, it worked most famously for the Avis car rental company. They made a huge success of bragging about their number-two status with the “We try harder” campaign.

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Tig Tillinghast writes from the banks of the Elk River near Chesapeake City, Maryland. He consults with major brands and ad agency holding companies, helping marketing groups find the right resources for their needs. He is the author of The Tactical Guide to Online Marketing as well as several terrible fiction manuscripts.

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