Strategic Competitor Intelligence…or Come Together, Right Now

Competitors have become a thing of the past and there is a fascinating paradigm shift taking place in marketing today, especially for those of us lucky enough to be marketing online.

It’s no surprise really, when we begin to look at the meanings behind the words. Everything in our universe operates in a cycle, even language.

Since around 1600, the definition of the word compete was derived from the Middle French (M.Fr.) word compιter meaning “be in rivalry with.”


This is how most of us are used to thinking of competitors: those with whom we’re involved in a rivalry.

People who need to be spied on. People who can’t be trusted. People who would steal our livelihood out from under us if we don’t keep a VERY close eye on them.

Wankers, basically. Right? People we envy, don’t really want to get to know but feel obligated to pay at least some attention to lest they steal one of our precious ideas. Which may seem to happen all the time, but it’s only because they got there first while you were worrying about what they were going to do next.

Competere: com – “together” + petere – “to strive”

If we look to the earlier 14th century Late Latin (L.L.) root competere I think we begin to get a better picture of who our competitors are today, in this new epoch of online marketing.

To compete, used in this context, means to come together. Strive together. Work together. Seek together.


[message type=”custom” width=”50%” align=”center” start_color=”#fffff7″ end_color=”#ffe387″ border=”#d7acd0″ color=”#832674″]…I have to stop for a quick moment to note the word together has just struck me as being so odd…don’t you love when that happens with words? When we pull our awareness to The Familiar it suddenly becomes The Extraordinary. And now, back to your regularly scheduled blog post…[/message]


Marketing online today requires an absolute belief in this not-so-new definition of competitor.

Here’s why:

We are all niche marketers at this point. At least anyone reading this post is. And each of us only needs a very small piece of the virtual pie to be able to make a comfortable living.

Let’s say I want to break into a new niche. I do some research and find there are 30 other people out there selling personalized purple g-stings and I decide to go for it.

If each of us 31 personalized purple g-string marketers keep to ourselves, we might sell a few panties but none of us is going to build an audience large enough to really make an impact.

Just ask anyone who tried to break into niche marketing hoping to qualify for Google welfare (a.k.a. AdSense revenue) when it first began. It all felt so very…competitive then.

But if all thirty-one of us got together…if we cross-promoted each other’s sites…if we collaborated on personalized purple g-string product packages…if we formed a personalized purple g-string marketing coalition to raise awareness on why everyone needs a special g-string in their life…well, the sky’d be the limit!

The real beauty in this approach is there’s absolutely no risk.
It’s. All. Win.

While there may be 30 other purple panty selling sites, there’s only one ME selling them. This means that even while we’re dealing with a limited market (people wanting personalized purple g-string panties), I can still focus on the even smaller segment of those people who really like ME. Those who get ME as opposed to the other panty guy.


[message type=”custom” width=”50%” align=”center” start_color=”#fffff7″ end_color=”#ffe387″ border=”#d7acd0″ color=”#832674″]Yes, I know. This isn’t the best analogy but I’m not a fucking poet, ok? Plus, I’m on a tight editorial schedule and my boss is a real bitch and so it has to be the purple panties. You get the point.[/message]


In short, when we rid ourselves of the old baggage tied to the word competitor, we create the space for unexpected and lucrative new marketing opportunities.

Suddenly we’re allowed to form friendships. We’re able to reach out to those other 30 purple panty people. We may even begin to collaborate and strategize together.

Above all, these friendships will keep us feeling nurtured and energized. They will serve to replenish our spirits, not just our wallets, as we continue together on this journey of world-changing entrepreneurship.

With that small shift in perception we are no longer an island unto ourselves.

We have help.

We have support.

And, goddammit, if you’re one of my friends, we have fun!





23 thoughts on “Strategic Competitor Intelligence…or Come Together, Right Now”

  1. Oh, HOW do you do it – EVERY time?!? I am bowing over here – it’s not just the words (which are so spot-on helpful), but the set up – the fun – the whole purple panties of it!!

    Thank you!!!!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed!! Makes me giddy that you did πŸ˜€ And I’m glad the purple panties were a hit. I stopped in the middle of writing it like ‘WTF are you talking about?’ but screw it, purple panties stuck. (ew)

  2. I totally never understand why people shy away from collaboration when you’re in the same market. There’s just so much STUFF you can do with a co-conspirator (or several). The network is just that much stronger.

    And I AM a friend, damn it! πŸ˜›

    1. Yes, you ARE a friend dammit! And I’m so grateful for that πŸ™‚ YAY for not-so-sekret co-conspirators! <3

  3. Online business is personal and personalized. The cool thing is that you can get your ideal pair of purple panties via the Internet, and you couldn’t before because the smutty lingerie store in town doesn’t stock stuff that only a handful of people want.

    1. Not to mention how overpriced the smutty lingerie store in town is! (Although they do have this really cool throne, like a real one. So I go in to “browse” but it’s really just to sit on the throne and giggle. They probably hate me by now.) Thanks Claire!

  4. There’s also a lot to be said for the idea of not having any competition at all. Bit harder to pull off than a pair of purple panties.

    1. Very true, purple panties are not typically difficult to pull off at all. And there’s much to be said for being a pioneer…surpassing competitors rather than, well, competing with them πŸ™‚

      1. One of my favorite quotes is from Jerry Garcia:

        “You do not merely want to be considered just the best of the best. You want
        to be considered the only ones who do what you do.”

  5. I want green ones. always green. so there’s another collaborator right there — bring in the green personalized panty peeps and you’ll reach ever more of us! love this. you always make me smile and nearly spit whatever I’m drinking on the keyboard. so i have to stop drinking when I read your blog. shame. but worth it.

    1. The thought of you spewing on a keyboard suddenly makes me soso happy πŸ™‚ And you got it! Green ones *nods*

  6. I love this – especially the new/old definition of Competition (you know I’m a word geek too!) and the focus on win-win. And we’re all in this together. That’s REALLY yummeh!

    1. Thanks Susan! I started writing the post before looking up the etymology so you can imagine my giddies when I read the older definition. Such win!

  7. As a fellow word nerd how much do you think I love this post??? A whole helluva lot! Then you throw collaboration into the mix and you’re really speaking my lanuage now sister!

    When do I get my T-shirt?

    1. If I’m speaking your language Sandi, I know I’m on the right track πŸ™‚ And we SO need to get those t-shirts made. Everyone will have to post their pics wearing them lol. Purple panty t-shirt contest!! O.o

  8. Oh, I’m so glad you found this definition of competitor because I have always hated the American insistence on competition in business and pretty much everything else – even parenting, fercrissakes! I believe in cooperation, the Sesame Street version.

    And I’m sensing an opportunity for crazy, purple panty tweets in the next #customerlove tweetchat.

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