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Competition sucks … but it does make us better

While painful for those involved, competition among rivals is what’s driving today’s marketing innovation.

2 min read

Digital TechnologyMarketing

How rivals are pushing each other to spur marketing innovation

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Mike DriehorstMy second job out of college was as the city reporter for the Fostoria (Ohio) Review-Times newspaper. Fostoria has the distinction of being located in parts of three counties. This meant that beat reporters from media in other larger cities also were covering the city meetings and major stories I covered.*

Let me tell ya, as a still-learning reporter, not even two years out of school, that stunk. The other reporters had established connections in my city and knew all the background information. They had a leg up and I had to figure out how to compete for stories.

But, the competition made me work harder. It pushed me to take different angles on stories, ask different and deeper questions and work to come up with my own story ideas. 

I hated it, but in the end, it made me a better reporter.

Competition drives marketing innovation

The same could be said in today’s adland: Competition is driving marketing innovation.

Look at Meta. While Meta has been hurt by Apple’s iOS privacy moves, it’s not just lying down and taking it. It’s trying to innovate by creating new advertising opportunities and offering new AI-based and ad automation options.

Many brands and agencies are being forced to find new targeted advertising methods given the – eventual – death of tracking cookies

Again, adtech and other companies and organizations are responding with innovation in marketing technology. There’s DoubleVerify’s new DV Attention Lab offering. The Trade Desk has been making headway with its Unified ID 2.0. And let’s not forget, there’s been a renewed look at contextual advertising.

The move toward a cookie-less future also is spurring other marketing tech innovations, including advancements around first-party data and the rise of zero-party data.

While competition may not be fun, it is what spurs marketing innovation and helps make all of us better as an industry.

*If you’re curious, Fostoria lies in Seneca County (with Tiffin as the county seat), Hancock County (Findlay) and Wood County (Bowling Green).


Mike Driehorst is a senior editor at SmartBrief, where he pens this regular column and helps curate the most important news in marketing each day. Subscribe to our free newsletter to get his insights direct to your inbox.