Punch Above Your Weight: Why Digital Favors David, Not Goliath

Do you know what your unfair advantage is? What about your business’ unfair advantage? An even better question might be — do you know what an unfair advantage is?

An unfair advantage can be defined as a person’s native genius, something that is unique and cannot be copied. This applies to business too. In business, an unfair advantage is something that comes both from the structure and priorities of a business as well as the culmination of the unfair advantages of each employee. Ultimately, whether on a business level or a personal level, an unfair advantage is a method of differentiation.

An unfair advantage—or one that’s being successfully utilized—hinges on a fixation with one quality or asset. Google’s success as a search engine exemplifies this. Not only has it become the best in its space, Google’s leaders are working every single day to stay the best. (Inc Magazine) Of course, Google has its variety of other projects—self-driving cars, Google Glass, home automation, the list goes on. The decision to separate Google and Alphabet, its new parent company that houses all of the technological innovation, shows that these new initiatives won’t take the focus off of what Google has always been the best at.

The Crucial Connection Between Punching Above Your Weight and Leveraging Your Unfair Advantage

Sports such as boxing or martial arts separate contestants by weight, to ensure the competition measures skill, rather than sheer force or size. To punch above your weight means to compete in a weight bracket above your own.

Unfortunately, there are no weight brackets in business and, thanks to the Internet, companies are finding themselves having to attempt to punch above their weight on a regular basis. Luckily, though, size doesn’t always necessarily matter when it comes to success, especially in the digital space – and this is where your unique advantage comes in. If you can identify where your organization shines, and strategically focus on that, you’ll be able to appeal to your target audience in a personalized way that no giant, one-size-fits-all company can do. And with the growing importance of personalization in marketing, your unfair advantage can play to your strengths in more ways than one.

The oldest example of utilizing an unfair advantage to punch above your weight is the biblical tale of David and Goliath. While Goliath had the size and strength to crush David with one foot, David managed to come out the winner. And this didn’t occur out of sheer luck or a superhuman show of strength. Instead, David hit Goliath with the right thing—a small rock flung from a slingshot–at the right time in the right place—specifically, Goliath’s forehead.

David fired (metaphorical) bullets, not cannonballs, and he won.

What Role Does Digital Marketing Play?

Digital has made the net of competition much larger for nearly every business in every industry. You’re no longer just dealing with your competitors on the other side of town or with the Walmart down the road. On top of these challenges, you’re also dealing with global competitors like Amazon or other heavyweights in your industry that were previously inaccessible to your audience due to distance or price. Standing out against this fresh competition is essential, but the increasingly saturated market coupled with disengaged audiences makes that extremely difficult. It’s easy to assume that this only applies to B2C marketers, given the popularity of e-commerce. In some ways, this is true.

Online shopping reached an all-time high in the most recent Black Friday weekend, which is further complicated by the fact that online shopping on tablets and smartphones has overtaken desktop usage. (The Verge) B2B marketers are facing many of the same complications, though. Currently, 55% of B2B buyers are searching for both vendors and product information on social media. And it’s estimated that a majority of B2B purchases will be made online by 2018. (Meltwater)

Just as the digital space has increased competition, it has also revolutionized the necessary components for successful marketing. Budget and reach are not the keys to success anymore. There is, essentially, no such thing as being too small or not having enough resources, especially when it comes to accessible and lucrative tactics such as social media advertising.

In fact, the rise of digital marketing has, in some ways, given the power to the smaller, nimbler Davids of the world. Content production has been democratized and, while it’s possible to spread your message across the globe, it’s easier than ever to identify and speak directly to your audience. Mass marketing methods are no longer effective, and leanness in both marketing and business operations are favorable given the fast pace of change the need to pivot both quickly and often. The efficiency available through marketing technology is now allowing even the smallest marketing teams to reach unprecedented levels of production and streamlined communication.

Punching Above Your Weight: A Short How To

Punching above your weight doesn’t have to be a struggle. Starting with these few points below, you’ll be channeling your inner slingshot in no time.

  1. Identify your audience by asking yourself who these people are, where they communicate online, and what they care about.
  2. Identify your unfair advantage in light of both what your most powerful strengths as an organization are as well as what your audience care the most about.
  3. Focus on nurture marketing philosophies that put the audience first and prioritizes communicating across all channels
  4. Drive organizational change if necessary to highlight your unfair advantage in operations and marketing
  5. Create a guiding framework that highlights the role of your unfair advantage in operations and marketing.
  6. Launch a content strategy that hammers home your unfair advantage in all communications and across all channels.
  7. Focus on speed, agility, and responsiveness to changes in the market. Don’t settle and always keep honing your unfair advantage.


The saturation of the market materials means that products and processes are hardly unique anymore. Setting yourself apart with a niche unfair advantage is one of the few ways to maintain distinction in an overwhelmingly crowded space.

Luckily, focusing on your unfair advantage also correlates with staying lean by capitalizing on what you’re already great at and not wasting resources trying to market what you’re not so great at.

If David can beat Goliath, you can beat Amazon (or whoever your biggest online competitor is).

And you don’t have to be a ‘little guy’ to follow this advice. In nearly every situation, there will always be someone better than you in some facet or another. If you are the Goliath in your space, though, it still wouldn’t hurt to trim a little fat.


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Did you like this post? Let us know why (or why not) in the comments. In the meantime, check out our blog Blurred Lines: The De-Silo-Ing of Marketing to discover why breaking down organizational silos is key to staying agile and ahead of your competition.

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