There can’t be more than 10 commandments in the 10 Commandments of Marketing, so let’s call this the first amendment: “Thou shalt not covet thy competitors’ marketing.” It’s a real issue, because as a marketer, how often do you see a good idea, kick yourself, and think, Why didn’t we do that?
No New Ideas
The first thing to understand is that there are no new ideas. If you want to test this theory, think of the wildest thing you can and Google it. Chances are it’s already been invented. When I started writing this blog, I thought that the 10 Commandments of Marketing was a great new idea, but Jack Trout thought of it back in 2012, and I’m having the same great idea eight years later. (Of course, Jack ripped off Moses, who came up with the original 10 Commandments in 1446 BC.)
Marketing Envy – We All Experience It Sometimes
The second thing to understand is that marketing envy (ME) is a periodic source of frustration, and you have to isolate it to understand it. You can do this by asking yourself this question: “Do I feel that my competitors’ marketing is better, or do I feel that my competitors’ marketing, sales performance, management, and products are better? If it’s just marketing, it’s fixable, or at least explainable. If it’s everything about your company, then perhaps a career with a new company will alleviate your frustration.
Next, consider the underlying source of your ME. We can break it down to performance factors and their causes.
|Performance Factors||Possible Causes|
|Slow sales||Marketing drives sales. If sales are poor, is your marketing effective?
Review your constraints. Resolve internal issues regarding resources, alignment, or conflicting priorities and make sure your focus is on your business goals and your target audience.
|Customer churn||Lack of visibility or understanding of customer
Customers are the reason we market. The relationship has to be managed (with the right tools – not outdated legacy systems).
|Online sales performance||On-line sales are imperative to survival for most companies these days. It’s not rocket science, or computer science — it’s behavioral science.
Determine if the problem is the strategy, the message, or the delivery and fix it.
|Lack of conversions||Again, it’s not rocket science, or computer science — it’s behavioral science.
Perhaps your customers are getting lost on their journey. What do you want them to do?
Face the Facts
Your competitors’ marketing is not any better than yours, it’s just different. There are a few things you could do to sleep better at night:
- Contract with an external agency to do a marketing review of your strategy and efforts. An arms-length review will uncover areas to improve. You cannot underestimate the value of an independent analysis.
- Formally benchmark your competitors. If your target audience is the same, determine what specifically you like about their marketing efforts. If creative is the issue, review your resources and seek to improve. If it’s execution, review your systems (CRM, marketing automation, project management), and see what needs upgrading. If it’s timing, review your strategy and marketing plans.
Make a list of constraints that prevent you from being as good as your competitors. A key issue to consider in any competitive comparisons is budget. As you analyze your competitors, attach a value to each of their efforts. If the core of the issue is that they outspend you, discuss the deficiencies with your management. Create a plan and budget accordingly to improve the situation.
Marketing doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It exists in a world of constant comparisons, and your competitors probably admire your marketing efforts as much as you admire theirs. In the end, you’re both striving to focus on the customer and tell a good story!
If you need help with a marketing review, contact us for a 30-minute consultation.