But Everybody Else Is Doing It!
Remember when you were a kid and you’d ask your parents for permission to do something (or you’d get in trouble later when you got caught doing it without their permission) and whenever they balked at the idea, you’d use the classic line “But everyone else is doing it!”
Unfortunately, a lot of companies take this same approach to marketing. They blindly follow the leaders in their industry, simply mimicking everything that they do. If the leading companies start Twitter and Facebook pages, they start their own pages too. If one of their competitors takes out an ad in a magazine, they take an ad out too. If they see their competitors touting their low prices in their ads, they start to focus their marketing messages on their low prices too.
Just because other companies are using certain marketing tactics doesn’t mean that they’re right. Don’t use other companies’ marketing campaigns to justify your own campaign. Consider the very real possibility that these other companies you’re mimicking could be doing it wrong too. Or, they could simply have much more money to throw around and experiment with than you do, so they can afford to make some mistakes.
That’s why I always encourage my clients to ask themselves a simple question before they deploy any marketing tactic—“Why?” Why are you taking this specific action? If the answer is some version of “Everyone else is doing it!” you’re doing it for the wrong reasons, and you’re not going to see the results you desire.
Your marketing decisions need to be based on your target audience’s behaviors, not the behavior of your competition. Remember that simple fact, and you’ll be all right.