Skip to content

Demolish the competition (part 2 of 4)

Part 1 of this series discussed how to frame a white paper around a nasty industry problem.

This builds rapport with your reader, holds their attention, and creates urgency.

Next, you must destroy the credibility of everyone else’s way of dealing with that problem. Here’s how to do that.

demolition - Demolish the competition (part 2 of 4)

Step #1: List every alternative

Include anything a prospect could do, other than buy your offering. That includes doing nothing and buying nothing.

For IT vendors, other alternatives include working manually, using spreadsheets, rekeying data from one system into another, creating some sort of mashup or developing some homegrown system that the prospect believes is “good enough.”

Then sort them all into various buckets.

But don’t sort by company. Instead, sort by category, class, genre or type. That way you can toss numerous products or companies into the same bucket.

Step #2: Think why no alternative is good enough

Perhaps one option just doesn’t work very well or only works in certain cases. Maybe others are slow, costly or prone to failure. Perhaps another creates unwelcome tradeoffs, unintended consequences or a whole new set of problems.

Whatever the drawbacks, uncover them all.

This can involve searching for what the classic book “Marketing Warfare” calls “the weakness in the leader’s strength…” or the Achilles heel that can bring down a competitor.

For example, Mac OS is much less widespread than Windows, so malware authors seldom target the Mac. That means one weakness in Windows’ strength is the vast amount of malware that attacks it.

Step #3: Take your best shot at each one

I sometimes think of this as setting up a line of wooden ducks in a shooting gallery, and then blasting them to smithereens, one by one.

When your logic is clear, you only need a sentence or two per alternative.

To do this, you can start with phrases like:

  • “In the past, some have tried…”
  • “Existing products are not effective because…”
  • “Many vendors have tried to overcome this problem, but none have succeeded. For example…”

With all the other solutions discredited and demolished, that clears the way for you to introduce your new, improved, recommended solution.

Part 3 of this series shows you how to do that effectively.


Want to hear whenever there’s a fresh article on this site? Subscribe here to stay in the know on long-form content. From time to time, we’ll also send you word about some great new resource or training. And you can unsubscribe any time.  

About Gordon Graham

Worked on 320+ white papers for clients from Silicon Valley to Switzerland, on everything from choosing enterprise software to designing virtual worlds for kids, for clients from tiny startups to 3M, Google, and Verizon. Wrote White Papers for Dummies which earned 60+ 5-star ratings on Amazon. Won 16 awards from the Society for Technical Communication. Named AWAI 2019 Copywriter of the Year.

If you liked this post...

White Paper World logo Feb-2024

White Paper World 42: June 14, 2024

Quick tip: Use AI for tech support Big idea: How to de-position the competition [includes...
white paper ? to !

How can I help with your next white paper?

Whether you're a B2B marketer or a content writer, you can benefit from my experience....
Zeus the king of the ancient Greek gods

White papers and… the Greek gods?!

In ancient Greece, tales of the gods served to inspire, caution, and educate mortals. Today...

Leave a Comment





This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.