Should I Copy My Competitor’s Marketing and Website?

Original jSinger Digital Marketing Tips & Commentary

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Most businesses keep a close eye on their competition’s marketing and branding tactics. Do they have a huge Facebook following? Are the doing video marketing? Do they rank at the top of Google search results?

It’s wise to be watchful, but it’s a huge mistake to copy their website or marketing methods.

Here’s why…

  1. They may have a poor strategy – or none at all. Most small businesses don’t take enough time to plan their marketing. They want quick fixes, are swayed by consultants, and don’t have enough manpower to move the needle in sales. Their intern may make their Facebook page active and pretty, but they get no ROI from it.
  2. You don’t know their motivation. For example, it’s possible that the CEO of your competitor ordered the marketing team to do “more videos!” without a strategy, because he heard it was the hot new thing on Fox News. As silly as this sounds, I’ve seen it happen!
  3. They are not like you. Though you think they are a good model, or an “ideal” trendsetter, they may not be at all. For example, many small business seminars will use social media samples from major brands, like Coca-Cola, Oreo, or Netflix. Not only are these much bigger than you, with more budget and manpower, but they are also selling low-cost products to a huge audience. Most of our clients at jSinger Marketing have a well-defined niche to sell too. And many of those audiences may not care about social media in the same way.

Copying your competitor will cost you…

If you decide to battle against competitor using their own strategy, you’re going to lose. Consider…

  1. They’ll always be one step ahead. You are afraid to go out on a limb and try something new. That means you’ll always be playing “catch-up” and never leading the way.
  2. You could be missing a huge opportunity. No competitor of yours is doing everything it should. The digital marketing world changes so often, it’s impossible, so they are likely neglecting a marketing channel that could flourish.
  3. You will waste time and money. Similarly, your competitor is spending time on marketing efforts that don’t pay off. That intern working on Facebook three times a week may have brought no sales to the company.

What you should do…

When you evaluate your marketing efforts, it’s smart to first determine your audience. Then, research what advertising or marketing channels will reach that audience. Definitely still consider what your competitors are doing, but don’t let it drive your plan.