Military Analogies in Business Management

Every day you run a small business, you’re essentially going to battle. Adversaries not only include the competition, but market forces and other intangibles. Fittingly, there are a variety of military terms that can be applied to your day to day marketing efforts.

Here we look at five of the most popular, and how to effectively navigate them:

Price War

A price war begins when someone in an industry feels they can capture market share by undercutting a competitor’s prices. It escalates when the competitor responds by dropping his or her prices, and can continue indefinitely or until someone concedes defeat.

Consumers usually win price wars because they get a great deal. To survive a price war, emphasize the quality of your product, what makes it superior, and why there’s value in paying a little more for something that’s more appealing in the long run.

PreEmptive Strike

Let’s say you run an auto supply store and your brother-in-law informs you that a competitor will be offering a terrific buy-one-get-one (BOGO) deal on tires in a week. Instead of standing pat and hoping to weather the blitz, you could launch a preemptive strike by offering the same deal even earlier.

A preemptive strike requires keen competitor intelligence. One way to gain insights is to have an employee secretly shop the competition. Another is to follow your competitor on social media or sign up to receive competitor emails.

Guerilla Marketing

Guerilla tactics in warfare emerged when smaller forces with fewer resources learned they couldn’t go toe-to-toe with larger, well-prepared armies. Instead, they used the elements of surprise, resourcefulness and ingenuity to overcome the odds.

Guerrilla marketing tactics employ the same methods and are uniquely tailored to help small businesses take on larger competitors. Guerrilla tactics might include a pop-up store that sells coffee and hot drinks to crowds lined up for Black Friday. Another may be an attention-getting newsworthy head–shaving event to promote a cause your business believes in.

To check out some of the best guerrilla marketing tactics deployed recently, visit Creative Guerrilla Marketing.

Strategic Alliance

There’s a saying that goes, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” If a common "enemy" competitor dominates your industry, joining forces with businesses like yours who are intent on beating the front-runner can give you a competitive edge.

This could mean aligning marketing tactics, and, possibly even merging your businesses. In doing so, your efforts will multiply along with your chances of cutting into the front-runner’s competition.


Once a term used to describe all-out, no-holes-barred military attacks, a blitz in marketing terms conveys the same rationale – a surprise, comprehensive and sustained attack on a competitor or product.

A sales blitz is designed to deliver a punishing blow to the competition by stealing share of wallet or even market share. It may entail aggressive pricing and promotion, a vigorous growth strategy, or the launch of a new, superior product. No matter what tactics it involves, a blitz demands confidence, strategy and planning.

Whether you’re military minded or not, the tactics used in warfare can prove helpful for your small business. As the commanding general of your own small business, it pays to know and understand which tactics can lead to victory.

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