The difference between competition and a competitor

When I ask you who your competition is, you’re probably thinking about the other MSP down the street, and how they got that great contract you wanted. But here’s the thing: that MSP isn’t your competition. They’re your competitor.

What’s the difference?

A competitor is another business offering the same kind of service that you do. Sure, you can talk all you like about your great differentiators from other MSPs and how you do service best, but ultimately you’re offering the same kind of service, the same kind of support, and the same overall feel. It’s like you’re McDonalds, and they’re Burger King.

Competition is different. It’s the alternative to your service that takes away your business but can’t provide the same kind of expertise that you can.

Your competition is

  • The brother-in-law of a business owner who’s “real good with computers”
  • The receptionist’s son in college
  • The employee who took a few computer classes in college
  • The business owner who says “oh it can’t be that hard”

You are better than your competition, so that’s who you should be marketing against, not your competitors.

Now, that doesn’t mean you aren’t going to go up against the MSP down the street for a contract. We all know that’s going to keep happening, and sometimes you’ll get it, sometimes they’ll get it, but ultimately you’re both just trying to make a living. Don’t badmouth your competitors or try to sell yourself as an alternative to them. No one is going to really care about Burger King trying to tell you that they’re better than McDonalds. They’re just going to think, “Do I want fast food, or do I want to bring a bagged lunch to work?”

When you talk to prospects, sell yourself as better than the competition. Talk about the downsides of working with the “guy who’s good at computers,” and the trouble a company can find themselves in after relying on that kind of service. Talk about everything they get out of turning to the professionals. Make them hungry for the KIND of meal you’re offering, without worrying about the other brand names around you.

Only 1 in 100 IT firms think marketing first, but 100 out of 100 want more leads. Ulistic is here to help managed services providers think strategically about their marketing to get more leads while still focusing on running their business. Our team engages with your team every day, providing expert marketing materials and advice to create a foundation for stratospheric success. Learn more at

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Stuart Crawford
Stuart Crawford
Stuart Crawford is an MSP marketing specialist and coaching professional. He is president of Ulistic Inc., a managed services coaching, mentorship, sales and outsourced marketing services firm. For more info call u 716.799.1999 or email [email protected]

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