Sun Tzu, the author of The Art Of War said,
“All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.”
This is exactly what I keep harping on about in business and in particular marketing.
Think about this ...
If you select tactics you think will work everyone can see what you're doing and can easily copy it.
If however, you decide on a strategy you can choose the most appropriate tactics. Then your competitors may see one or more of your tactics but are very unlikely to see your ultimate strategy. Which means they can't copy what you're trying to achieve.
You may be willing to make a loss on the first two products your customer buys because you've worked out that over the lifetime of the customer you'll make 12 times in profit what they pay for those products.
If your competitor simply sees you selling the first product and then making a loss on the second they wont know why you're doing it. And without the proper marketing tactics to quickly follow-up they wont get further sales and will simply make losses.