When it comes to designing a marketing strategy, it’s easy to fall into herd behavior.
If all your competitors are focusing on search engine marketing and you’ve read a dozen books about it, then the marginal advantage to your company for following that strategy will be less than it would be otherwise.
Strategy may be an intangible good, but it’s subject to supply and demand in the same way that everything else in the world is. The more people that follow a particular behavior, the less of a competitive advantage that strategy will confer.
When comparing your company to competitors, it’s simple to collapse into mimicry. It’s safe, and guarantees that your company will at least maintain market share against its competitors.
But it’s also expensive, and carries its own hidden risks.
If your company markets using the same methods as its competitors, then it becomes a competition based solely on quality and price. The fight for market reach is kept off the stage. It also creates an arms race effect. If your used car company runs similar advertisements to your competitors on the same cable channels at the same time, there’s a high probability that much of that spending will be wasted, as the branding will become confused.
Be creative in how you choose to reach customers. If what you’re doing is exactly the same as everyone else, you may expect to hold onto a steady level of market share, but it will maintain a ceiling on your growth and keep your profit margins low.
Zappos was founded in 1999, animated by an unusual vision for customer service and social media marketing. It took nearly a decade for it to grow to the force it is now – and it chose an unusual strategy to accomplish it.
Are you using rare methods to promote your company, or are you mimicking everyone else?
JC Hewitt is an independent copywriter and marketing consultant based in New York City. JC has a history with Wall Street: reading avaraciously about it, zealously following it, and even writing on his blog prolifically about it. JC loves innovative companies of all sizes and has consulted startups on how to achieve maximum operational capacity with minimal financing. Read his blog at JCHewitt.com. You can also follow his tweets at @jckhewitt on Twitter.