Inbound Marketing What’s Best Leading, Following, or Setting The Pace?

Competition is a part of any industry. As an inbound marketer, you’re probably very aware of your competitors and how they affect your place in the market. How you respond to your competitors is very important. You can’t rely on your competition defeating themselves. So when faced with a competitor who is skilled in both content creation and inbound marketing what should you do? The three common responses are: try to lead the market using your time-tested methodology, respond to successful competitors by using their ideas against them, or setting your own goals and ideas independent of your competitor’s actions. Before answering that question let’s take a wider look at the marketing world.

About Seth Godin

Born in Mount Vernon, New York Seth graduated from Tufts for his undergrad degree and received an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business. After working in software and running his own book packaging business Seth founded Yoyodyne an internet based direct marketing company that was highly successful. After selling Yoyodyne to Yahoo! He would serve as their vice president in charge of direct marketing. He would later found content sharing site Squidoo in 2005 and it was later sold to HubPages in 2014. In 2012 he started a business themed podcast to share his experiences. Currently, he also writes a blog and has authored 17 books covering a range of topics including marketing, business, and technology.

Inbound Marketing

A key flaw in many inbound marketing approaches is that companies don’t lead they follow and react to what others are doing. This means that instead of following their own marketing ideas or goals they instead copy what other companies have done successfully becoming a knockoff. The key drawback is that this makes your company reactive instead of proactive and drives your strategy in reacting to other companies instead of your own overarching goal. Perhaps worst of all you’re just like everyone else.

While competition is a part of a business you shouldn’t base your marketing strategies or methods on what others are doing especially not after it’s already been done. Innovation is an important part of the industry as a new approach allows you to reach customers you may not have reached before or reach customers who were not originally in your target market. Innovation also allows you to create a unique corporate identity which makes you stand out from your competitors.


As the above shows, Seth Godin is a knowledgeable source in the marketing industry and can serve as an inspiration for your own marketing. Not just because of his own experience but because he offers an outside view that encourages you to consider other viewpoints. His blog offers daily insight and thoughts on the industry which we find valuable. We also quote his book Purple Cow fairly often. A key aspect of inbound marketing is recognizing others’ ideas in terms of how they approach the industry, this allows you to strengthen your brand and make needed adjustments to your approach.

P.S. One last thing to consider. We’re all marketers here and we’ve all encountered that fear that a great idea will be copied making it lose that uniqueness it once had. Never be afraid of your own good ideas. A competitor may see the finished idea but they don’t know how you formed it or where you plan to take it. They don’t have the authenticity of your creative vision. A copy is just that an imitation of the original but it doesn’t have the spark of creativity it can only mimic it can’t create. Remember that people can detect fakeness really easily but that’s also true of authenticity. Anyone who’s copying you is just walking behind you they are not leading. So put your unique ideas out there and let people walk up front with you because they’ll know the real thing when they see it.