You Can’t Compete

July 05, 2017   /   by  Michael Westafer

Don’t Waste Your Time Trying

When I started Roger West 10 years ago, I quickly realized that I couldn’t compete.

It was just me. I had no big network, funding or staff. There was no way I could out-network my competition. I didn’t have the money, people or time to travel trade shows, set up a booth or hand out tchotchkes.

There was no way I could outbid my competitors on popular keywords for my fledging company.

There was no way to out-market, out-advertise or outspend my competition.

So, I didn’t waste my time.

Instead of dwelling on all the things I couldn’t do, I thought about what I could do. What made me different than those big agencies. How I could set myself apart.

One way was not to try to do everything for everyone. Instead, I started with a very targeted, specific market. In my case, I focused on large national chain restaurants and built up an expertise in helping them. The more restaurant sites we did, the more we got.

We’ve since expanded to serving many other vertical markets including tech companies, finance, healthcare and non-profits – but having a specific target market helped us gain traction when we were starting out.

Second, I established a brand personality that was different. We have a little attitude. We’re fun. If our competitors were going to be stuffy or pretentious or bland, we were going to be the opposite.

Not everyone likes us, but that’s ok. We’re not competing for everyone.

Third, we distinguished ourselves by doing killer work for the clients we had. We exceeded expectations. We went the extra mile without nickel and diming anyone. Happy clients referred us, and then we got more happy clients.

We do a lot of digital marketing for ourselves, but we do it differently. It’s more targeted and personal; we’re not marketing ourselves to the same people are competitors are. We’re still in line, but it’s a shorter line.

The point of all this is, if you can’t compete in the broader arenas, don’t. Find specifically what you’re good at and own it. Find your niche market and specialize. And don’t try to fit in with your competition – stand out instead.

We can help you find your way. This is what we do. Let’s Talk.

Michael Westafer

Michael Westafer


As the CEO and founder of Roger West, Mike brings over 25 years of marketing, leadership, and business strategy experience to our team, clients, and partners. Under his leadership, the Roger West has grown from a scrappy startup to a full-service, award-winning agency. He believes in getting things done, making big things happen for clients, and delivering expert fist-bumps.