For too long, marketers have looked closely at what the competition is doing as a driver of their own campaigns. After all, if an approach worked for a successful brand, why wouldn’t it work – reimagined of course – for your own needs?
In fact, this desire to copy others is deeply ingrained in our social psychology and difficult to ignore. However, smart marketers are realising that success now requires differentiation. Copying a social media tone of voice, or taking ‘inspiration’ from a brand simply results in a homogenised product that fails to engage target audiences.
In fact, when the trend to adopt similar marketing tactics takes place in a market, it simply dilutes the results of those tactics. Customers find that they can’t differentiate and their decision-making process actually becomes simpler – choosing products on the basis of their quality and cost alone.
Suddenly, the value of differential messaging goes out of the window.
The danger of this trend is only magnified by the excess of tools that make it easy to digitally monitor competitor activity. With pressure to succeed, it seems like a low-risk approach to follow what other successful brands are doing.
Of course, competitor activity can be informative and useful for providing guidance. But it’s important not to use this data as a template approach.
For better results, it’s essential in today’s market to communicate how your product is better; not simply focusing on unique credentials but demonstrating value. A focus on sustainability is important to many customers, for example. Show how that value is delivered consistently.
Examples of benefits that customers care about include usability, convenience, durability, comfort and flexibility. Remember that bells and whistles are unlikely to be sufficient to encourage a purchase.
From this point, pitch your marketing activity between the unique value that your products provide and what your competitors do not. Be distinct to gain attention and then drive actual purchases with solutions that are better than the current incumbent alternatives. No jazzy campaign will deliver sustainable conversions if the underlying offer is poor.
Experiment with fresh approaches too, so that you can identify new ways of meeting customer needs. This means analysing all of the data at your disposal and working with it carefully to derive usable insights.
Look at tactics which are currently under-used in your industry, or seek out examples of different tactics that other industries use and assess how you could apply them to your own. It’s also valuable to research other emerging channels – for example, social media platforms – to see whether they are likely to have value and traction in your own market.
Keep analysing that data, run trials, find out what your customers think and look for ways to be creative, engaging and exciting.
As ever, the secret to effective marketing lies in being bold, innovative and energetic in your approach. Copying others is a lazy approach which is unlikely to deliver sustainable results.
If your business is looking for can-do digital specialists, why not contact the resource experts at RC&A today.
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