Marketing Myths – Copy the Competition

Welcome to the first edition of our brand new weekly blog series, Marketing Myths. Each week’s installment of Marketing Myths will aim to bust a commonly held belief about marketing. Last week, we busted the “People Read” myth.

This week’s myth = Copy the Competition

You can’t blame the people running a business for paying a lot of attention to the competition. It’s been hammered into them from the very first business courses they ever took. They learn about competitive strategy and competitive analysis. It gets baked into everything from pricing and product development, to sales and marketing.

And because they are so tuned in to thinking about the competition, they tend to put more faith than they should in the relative intelligence of those firms. They point to things the competition is doing and ask their own team why they didn’t think of that first?

“How come we’re not doing that?”

And in many of these companies, copying the competition becomes a key bit of strategy.

Here’s the problem – no company ever achieved long term success by copying what another company is doing. Companies succeed when they stand out, when they do things no one else is doing, when they have a clear advantage over the competition.

Instead of copying the competition (who might be just as clueless about strategy as you are), it is important to figure out what sets you apart. What makes you different from them?

If you don’t know the answer to that question, neither do your customers. And that’s a recipe for disaster.

Stay tuned next week for another myth. If you have a marketing myth you’d like me to bust, add it in the comments below.