Copycat Marketing Folly


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One of the toughest challenges within marketing is dealing with others perception.

Considering you can study for a PhD in marketing, there are millions of books, webinars, websites, courses, associations and suppliers its unsurprisingly a very broad, complex and often misunderstood world that blends together art and science.

For the outsider, which in most cases is the start-up or established company looking to grow with little to no marketing experience or education, it’s even more misunderstood, as the way that most end up judging marketing will either be based on their own experiences, beliefs or what others tell them. Rightly or wrongly.

This creates a spectrum of view points from “it doesn’t work”, “marketing cheapens products”, “marketing is a waste of money”, “I won’t spend money on marketing”, “marketing is lying to people”, through to “marketing is what everybody else is doing”, “marketing is making things look good”, “I’m not sure what our marketing is doing” and eventually “without marketing our business would not be here”, “marketing IS our business”, “marketing is how we continually innovate”, “marketing is the reason that we have all these customers”.

Marketing works for everybody if you use it correctly. However if you’re looking to invest little money and do things quickly you’re probably of the “opportunity seeker” mind-set rather than the “business builder”. You’re chasing a dream with an unrealistic strategy, rather than building a future on realistic terms. Under those circumstances marketing doesn’t work.

Whilst seeking out opportunity is a good thing, you must switch your mind-set to becoming a business builder that can determine what it’s really going to take to make something a success that isn’t based on hope, misplaced views or incorrect beliefs but a deliverable set of steps, just like when you’re creating SMART goals which are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound.

You can’t do smart marketing unless your business goals are also smart. Whilst there is a case for replicating the components of a successful strategy (which you are certain is actually working and responsible for the results) you should use it as a starting point from which to evolve your own strategy.

“Follow The Money” Does Not Mean Follow Your Competitors Blindly

Often I hear, “yes, but my competitors are already doing this and look, its working for them”. I then ask what factual evidence they have to base their decision that their competitors are profitable and not debt ridden and that their marketing is actually responsible for bringing in the business and not just a waste. The answer is always “well, I’m not sure”. You must have evidence that supports what you see and what is actually happening.

It’s like the local pub that’s advertising right across the region and wasting a ton of money instead of concentrating on delighting local customers. It doesn’t generate any business for them expect to support the owners grandiose ideas about his single and only “global” pub business. You’ve got to match what you’re doing to your potential customers and with your business goals.

The only winner is the person selling that advertising or marketing and later using it as a stick to push your competitors into doing the same. “Oh look your competitors are doing it!” or “We did a great job for them because they said here” does not equate to “It works and created x leads or y sales“.

Marketing Is A Goal Driven Process – So What Are Your Goals And Where Are You Driving It ?

If you’re doing some form of advertising or marketing then stop for a minute and step back. If you can’t honestly say what its brining back to your business in terms of a return on your investment then you need to seriously ask yourself this question.

“What am I doing and why am I doing it ?”

  • Does your business and its product or service have something specific to offer its audience that isn’t necessarily being solved well elsewhere ?
  • Do the methods you are using for marketing your company actually connect with your buyers and generate more leads, sales and loyalty than it’s costing ?
  • What goals or aims did you have in mind before you started marketing and what analysis did you do to decide what activity, costs and time would be necessary to reach those goals ?
  • Are you analysing what you’re doing to decide what is and isn’t working and how to adapt your strategy to bring you closer to what you need or want from your businesses marketing ?

If you’re unclear about any of these things, you’re probably just wasting time and money marketing in the hope that something will happen.

STOP! Marketing will not work for you until you give it a reason to work.

Here’s an interesting book on why copycat marketing kills personality and eventually kills business, unless you can evolve a model and make it your own you’re just another one of those companies that does widgets, so why should anybody buy from you ?

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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