Copying Vs. Innovation in Marketing: What Should You Focus On?
With consumers increasingly relying on their own research before buying a product or service,the demand for valuable content is at an all-time high. The ability to provide this on a consistent basis can allow companies to stand out from the crowd and beat competition. But it’s not an easy job, to say the least.
Many startups and small businesses struggle to produce high-value content and marketing materials at a steady rate. Unable to cope up with the ever increasing demands, some of them decide to follow their competitors’ marketing footsteps. While it’s not unethical to copy, you should know where exactly to draw the line. Plus, this strategy may or may not work in your favor. Here are some reasons why.
They might be as clueless you are – According to research 41% of marketers do not have any marketing strategy and just follow anything randomly. You simply cannot follow such an erratic marketing strategy and hope for success.
Different brand, audience and business model– Even if you share the same business domain, it is likely that both of you will have a different target audience and different brand model. If you imitate your competitor’s blogs and tone, chances are it might not work for you.
You have no idea about what’s working in their favour – If you are blindly following your competitor without bothering to analyze your website traffic or carrying out a competitor analysis, chances are high that you are simply walking in the dark without any proper direction.
You don’t have the resources and budget of your competitors– Often the marketing success of a brand depends on the team which works in the background. Unless you have similar resources and budget to spend on marketing like your competitor, it is unlikely that you can replicate their success.
Copying however is not as bad as it seems. In fact, according to an article published in Harvard Business Review, it has been observed that imitation is more valuable than innovation. When you are trying to innovate, you will have zero idea about product efficiency, distribution channel or unit economics. Copying a business model ensures that you save a lot of time and money, which otherwise could have been wasted on research.
Copying a marketing strategy works particularly well when:
- Your target audience is the same as that of your competitor
- Your brand offers better customer experience than competitors
- You have enough manpower and resources to execute the strategies
- The strategy you’re copying is scalable and long term
How to Integrate Imitation in Your Marketing Strategy?
If you’re inspired by your competitors and want to imitate their marketing practices, it’s important to first figure out how those practices fit into your business model. Learn from what other companies are doing, then offer something they don’t offer.Remember Facebook was not the first social networking platform nor Google was the first search engine.But both identified and filled the gaps left by their competitors in their respective domains.
Here are certain factors to consider when building your own copycat business strategy.
Timing– Timing plays a very important role in marketing. Today if you try to copy the marketing model of Google, chances are very slim that you will succeed. As a smart marketer, you need to understand what is the underlying reason behind your competitor’s success and how can you beat your competitors in that region. You can use the same idea and then tweak it to meet your requirement.
Individuality– It is important that you maintain your individuality if you wish to stand out in the competitive world. Simply don’t go on copying them. Instead, try to find out areas where they haven’t ventured into and use innovation on those areas. You can try to refine your USP (unique selling proposition) which will give your customers compelling reasons to choose your brand over others.
Scale your workforce– in the domain of digital marketing technologies are changing every single day. You can scale your workforce either by training them in new technologies or by outsourcing the job to experts and professional agencies like us who are up-to-date with the industry and are better equipped to handle the job.
Innovation May Not Be for Everyone
While innovation works wonders, every business does not need to reinvent the wheel. Sometimes all you need is to improve the existing. Also, a business — at least, in its initial phase — many not be prepared to innovate as it requires time and resources.
Simply having an innovative idea is not enough. It’s crucial to know whether your product/service idea is scalable, profitable and has a specific audience willing to pay for it. There are innumerable startups and businesses that fail because what they believe to be their innovation has few actual takers in the market.
Your Brand Needs a Mix of Imitation and Innovation
Based on our experience, we highly recommend that you divide your time and focus between innovating and imitating your best competitors.Mix and match both strategies until you’ve hit the sweet spot.
The tried and tested formula that we, here at Digitechniks, follow includes 75% inspiration from competitors while we spend 25% of our efforts in constantly innovating. Then, keep on improving the results which you had the previous day, the previous week, previous month and even the previous year.
Looking to get ahead of your competitors by offering more value through your digital marketing initiatives? Do you want to consistently acquire new customers for your Business?