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Keep Your Friends Close – But Your Competition Closer!

This is a guest post by one of my clients, Chris Spoerl at Magic Pool Services in Orlando. Chris took my post a few weeks ago on paying attention to your competition to heart…to say the least! What would you do if you were in his shoes and thought your competitors were duplicating your efforts?

“All war is based on deception.” – Sun Tzu

Marketing is a tough business, and if business is tough, people will do whatever it takes to succeed.  I am referring to your competition folks, and sometimes if you are not careful, they will try to get the best of you.

This weekend we attended the 2011 Orlando Pool and Spa Show, which is basically the pool-a-palooza for the pool industry.  Vendors from across the United States and the world display the newest products and technologies and there are also continuing education courses and training seminars.

I noticed that one of our competitors had recently hired a marketing firm (this after contacting Darren and him telling them that he had an existing relationship with us) to revamp their website and handle their social media.   The local pool company owner is also on the board of directors of the trade show, and invited their marketing guy to speak at a seminar called “Internet Marketing.”   This was going to be a great way for my competitor to do some self promotion.

What they failed to tell the attendees, is that they were modeling their marketing attempts after mine.

Needless to say, I found a way to attend this already booked class, and when we arrived, the speaker was pretty surprised.  He quickly went to our competitor and told them “I didn’t know your competitors were attending”.

We had definitely caught them off guard, and they were completely off their game for the entire 45 minute presentation. In fact, one of my industry peers with Lake Nona Pools tweeted:

“We just suffered through an internet marketing class. Felt more like a promo. #Fail #opss

The moral of the story is keep an eye on your competition and keep them honest, sometimes by any means necessary including Black Ops.

6 responses to “Keep Your Friends Close – But Your Competition Closer!”

  1. Chris Spoerl Avatar
    Chris Spoerl

    Thanks Darren for allowing me to do a guest post here.
    Your blog post inspired me in the first place.

    You are the best in the business.

  2. KEN kisselman Avatar
    KEN kisselman

    Interesting story… Using microphone time at conferences or other industry events to covertly tout a client or agency services to an unsuspecting audience in the guise of generic advice about a topic of interest is a classic tactic. Attending your competition’s seminar is a smart and simple way to better understand how they are approaching your shared marketplace. Being able to throw them off their game through your presence alone is not only a wonderfully amusing bit of reality hacking but also speaks volumes to your position in the competitive landscape of your marketplace. To extend your metaphor… It’s one thing to enter the enemy camp in order to learn what they are up to, it’s another thing entirely when simply having you show up there is enough to undo their confidence and alter their battle plan.

  3. Paul Avatar

    Chris, What a great story. These types usually get hit with the karma stick at the worst time. Keep up the good work.

    Darren, I really enjoy reading all of your insightful blog posts. Thank you.


    1. Darren Avatar

      Hey Paul,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting…and for the kind words!


  4. Elle Avatar

    Lmbo! That’s an awesome story!

  5. Shearer Painting Avatar
    Shearer Painting

    Darren, funny/awesome….”we made our way in”..this part deserves more details.

    Love your blog..learning lots.