3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Copy Your Competitors

Inspiration. Most of us as marketers overuse/misuse this word for various reasons from trying to play safe to avoid taking a risk.

We often want to do something that our competitors have done because we feel it is cool. Whether it is a banner advertisement, ebook, whitepaper, or even a webpage, we are tempted to do something similar.

But, is that really the right thing to do? Why should you take a step back and rethink about it?

Huge success comes with a little bit of risk

Proven methods; It is safe and smart to do what has already worked (those reassuring words when we try to imitate). Sometimes accidentally the inspired/imitated piece of promotional content may produce results but not as huge as when it was invented.

There is this law of shitty click-through rates, where the results produced by an innovative idea tend to decay over the period. People respond to novelty. So, always the first-to-market enjoy a huge success for a limited period until competitors follow suit.

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The first banner ad ever, HotWired (1994)

The first-ever banner ad received a click-through rate (CTR) of 78% in 1994 but now the average CTR of a display banner ad is 0.05%.

Being innovative and doing something out of the box always takes courage. It involves risk. All your ideas might not end up going viral. There will be more failures than success. But, unleashing your potential can give you huge success than doing what is easy and involves lesser risk.

You don’t want to live and die under the assumption

Inside jokes; You can never understand until it is explained. Also, the chances of you thinking it is funny are less. The same applies to a competitor’s strategy or tactics. But, we don’t dare to make wild guesses. How often do we hear, you know what? XYZ brand has done a beautiful ebook to attract the ABC customer segment.

Being inspired is okay. But making assumptions and trying to do something similar is outrageous.

It especially happens when the brand is bigger and established one. We easily start to assume everything they do is well thought through and start pinning down our own reasons. But, the reality is that the brands might be bigger but the people working behind it are just like you and I. They might have taken inspiration from somewhere else like you do. Even if they have really thought through something innovative it doesn’t guarantee that it is producing results. Even if you know it is working for your competitor, it doesn’t mean it will work for you.

Making assumptions is locking yourself in a coffin and feeling you are safe.

Each business is unique, so should be your strategy. Be thoughtful in creating something that can add value to the customer and bring you results.

To build your own brand

Copy-cat; People are so smart than you think. They always know who innovated and who copied. With your every imitated promotional piece, you are making them remember your competitor from whom you inspired.

Imitation not only limits your growth but also negate the uniqueness of your product or brand. You just add up to the noises that are already out there.

To make the most out of the attention you get through interruption. Be original; It gives the freedom to be creative and innovative.

As mentioned earlier, people love novelty. So, tell your story — your way. Not just in marketing but through your product, customer support, and literally in everything you do. That becomes your brand.

Doing competitor research is an essential part of building your marketing strategy as it helps you spot gaps and opportunities. But, it starts to get out of the proposition when we start to take inspiration instead of taking leverage on the advantages we got over competitors. Inspiration tends to limit ourselves and stop being creative and innovative.

Why you would want to stand behind when you can stand out?

Butterfly Effect

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