Image: Charles Deluvio.
The road ahead is closed. Soon, a line of traffic gathers…
One driver does a U-turn, and confidently heads off at speed in the opposite direction, before turning down an adjacent street. Seeing how assured this driver looks, other drivers follow him, then other drivers follow them. The initial driver has no idea where they’re going. And now they’re all lost, wasting their time and running out of fuel!
Here’s why I’m telling you this. Following the marketing tactics of your competitors has the exact same effect.
The most expensive mistake in marketing
You’ve no idea if the marketing your competitors use is working or if they’re running out of time and money. Following them is a very risky bet. And the odds are massively against you.
Allow me to explain.
Here’s just one extremely common example of how the odds are stacked against you. It comes from the world of advertising.
Advertising providers give ads away to companies, knowing that when a company’s competitors see their advertisement, they’re also likely to advertise. These ads are simply bait, to hook others in your industry.
Google and Facebook offer free advertising coupons all the time, knowing as soon as you use them, they win. They’ve done the numbers. They know a hefty subset of competitors will assume, the ads MUST work, if (whoever) is advertising there.
And yes, this follow-the-follower approach applies to every area of marketing, not just advertising.
If you’re not attracting enough new clients or making enough sales, stop following the followers. In short, quit dabbling. With so much uncertainty about the future, your prospective customers are thinking longer and thinking harder about spending their budgets than ever before. They require a lot more motivating than they used to. As I mentioned yesterday, they’re not going to make a decision unless your marketing fully reassures them.
In today’s economy, your marketing needs to be meaningfully different. And it can’t be meaningfully different if it’s just like your competitors.