Throughout history, time and again, the underdog has seized victory from the jaws of defeat. In Biblical times, the bookies made Goliath an odds- on favorite over David, but we know how that contest turned out. From
Truman’s upset over Dewey in 1948 to the Outback Steakhouse victory over
the big casual-theme restaurants that stunned the foodservice world, underdogs
have been turning preconceived notions upside down throughout history.
But these victories were not flukes. They were the result of careful preparation.
Outback orchestrated its win by building an indomitable force from within its
four walls. Every merchandising zone inside the restaurant became a potent marketing weapon loaded with points of persuasion. Outback gave each of its general
managers equity ownership in their own stores, generating an esprit d’corps that
turned Outback’s internal customers into fierce warriors whose only mission was
to vanquish their foes by dazzling their guests. People thought Outback was just
another steakhouse with no guarantee of victory. But the owners knew what
nobody else knew—that they would win.
Underdog Marketing is so basic that it can’t be considered a discipline that’s separate from neighborhood marketing. It’s the whole business seen from the point
of view of its final result—that is, from the customer’s perspective. It is a business
philosophy, a management discipline for running a business with one prime objective: to satisfy the needs of the customer. I’ve developed 35 principles of Underdog
Marketing to serve as a guiding philosophy for success. Here, I’ve condensed them
down to 20 principles, and I invite you to peruse the complete list in PMQ’s digital
edition at PMQ.com/digital.
Try these proven strategies for winning the
war against larger competitors that have
bigger ad budgets.
FEATURE STORY UNDERDOG MARKETING
By Tom Feltenstein