Online Marketing – Originality Required

by | Nov 18, 2011

I frequently ask prospective clients what kind of marketing they’ve been doing, why the want to changeonline marketing and what their goals are.  On some occasions I’m told that they’re interested something like social media or a video campaign because they saw a competitor do it.  They want the same results as their competitor so their goal is to mirror it.

This kind of mimicry in online marketing happens a lot more than many business owners realize and it can be extremely damaging to your branding efforts if you fall into this trap.    Let me explain why mimicking your competition is bad.

Reasons to Rethink Copycat Online Marketing

1. You Don’t Know The Results Their Online Marketing Brings

While a campaign being run by your competitor might look clever to you, you don’t even know if it works for them or what kind of results their getting.  On the surface it might even look favorable (like a sudden growth in followers on Facebook) but are those targeted leads?  Will the interest last?  How much did they invest in the campaign and how much are they getting back?

Your competitors aren’t likely to crack their books and show you the costs vs. the return so instead of mimicking their campaign it’s best to formulate your own.

2. Your Audience is Different

While you and your competitor may provide similar products and services there are some aspects of your target audiences that differ.   Likewise, the people they’re targeting with their online marketing campaigns may not be the demographic that you want to target right now.

3. Trends Die off Quickly

If your competitors launch a marketing campaign that follows current trends or consumer interest in similar ad campaigns from other big name competitors, the odds of you slipping in to catch the tail end of that interest are often slim if you’re late to the party.   If you do try it, you could wind up engaging consumers that have grown tired of all the same types of online marketing and messages.

A great example is “random” marketing.  This is the best way I know to explain it – it grew extremely popular with Old Spice and the random, pointless monologues by the Old Spice Man in their commercials.  Since those commercials ran (including the wildly viral YouTube commercials with Twitter commentary) many businesses have tried to mimic this – even big brands including Dairy Queen, Toyota and State Farm.

4. You’re Marketing to the Same People

While your audience might be different, your online marketing and traditional marketing campaigns are targeting the same local groups.  That means your ads are seen by the same folks.  If your online marketing clearly mimics that of your competitors, not only will your audience think less of you for taking the idea of a competitor but it makes it next to impossible to make your brand stand out in the market.

Your marketing should be designed for your brand, targeting your audience, in favor of your products and services.  Before you settle on a particular type of online marketing such as social media marketing, blogging or producing press releases you should first recognize why you’re doing it, the results you want to achieve, how to achieve them, how to measure success, who you’re marketing to, and a lot more.

If that’s a struggle, don’t fret.  A lot of businesses have a hard time figuring out how to navigate online marketing.  Avoid the consequences of mimicry in your marketing and talk to us at Tulsa Internet Marketing today for a free consult on how to make your brand stand out online.