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Common Enemy Marketing and Why It Works


Everybody likes to have an enemy. When you have an enemy, it gives you something to rally together and fight against. Governments have used this as a means of mass control for centuries. When we all hate somebody together, it makes us work together to fight them. You always see the most patriotism when there’s an enemy to battle against.

It’s just as powerful for marketing as well. You probably know that a common technique in marketing is to identify your customers’ pain and then offer a solution. When you do this, your message resonates with them and they’re ready to take action to solve the problem. Substitute a common enemy for this pain and you’ve got something really powerful.

Enemies to Fight Against

It’s not too hard to think of good enemies. Every single niche has them. If you’re in the weight loss niche, the enemy may be belly fat or lack of motivation to exercise. Offer your customers something to win the battle against belly fat or defeat their natural laziness about exercising.

Other enemies might be food preservatives, debt collectors, financial difficulties, big gas-guzzling cars, corporations, the 9 to 5 routine, or the hassles of Christmas shopping. What you’re doing is reframing their pain and personifying it as a dastardly villain to fight against.

One of the best enemies is the Internet marketing gurus. Lots of products in the IM niche promise to help you, the little guy/gal, cut through the gurus’ BS and discover how to really make money on your own.

Why the Common Enemy Works

Creating a common enemy works incredibly well because of what’s called social isolation. When you identify an enemy and your customer relates to it, you create an ‘us vs. them’ situation. You and your customer are in this together. You’re on their side. This engenders trust and pits the two of you against the enemy.

Fighting an enemy is also a great motivator that leads people to take action. They’re threatened by their hated enemy and they’re already prepared to do something about it. It brings out the natural competitive instinct in people much better than any kind of positive motivator would.

How to Enter into Battle

Although you’re using your customers’ hate as a marketing weapon, you’ve got to keep it fun. Make jokes about it and inject some humour into your marketing. Always emphasize the positive (you winning the battle) over the negative (how evil the enemy is, how much you hate them, etc.).

The common enemy is a great way to get customers on your side, but accomplishing that isn’t the end. You’ve got to keep reminding them about the threat of enemy attack. Turn it into an ongoing war rather than just a momentary battle.

This tactic may sound like something out of junior high school, but the fact is that it works for all ages and all niches. It’s just human nature to rally against common enemies and this goes back to our primitive ancestors. Use common enemy marketing as one weapon in your arsenal.

Toby & Sam Russell

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  1. John says:

    The main motive of every internet marketer is to get visible on the first page. And those of whom with best SEO tactics will gain the role. All these tips are worth of using in SEO marketing. Thanks for such an informative one…

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