We all know the saying, “imitation is the best form of flattery.” When it comes to art, science and marketing, drawing inspiration from someone else’s work is something that’s been going on for centuries.
But when it comes to marketing, copying your competitor’s creative can be much more dangerous than it might seem. While it might be tempting, there are quite a few risks that come with copying the competition. Here are a few of the most important reasons why you shouldn’t copy your competitor’s creative and what might happen if you do:
1. It Might Not Work
Even if your competitor’s creative looks or sounds appealing, how do you really know that it’s actually working for them? Unless you’re privy to their marketing analytics, you run the bigger risk of picking up their marketing bad habits rather than emulating the good ones. No matter how good the creative seems, there is simply no guarantee it will work for you.
2. It Might Be Mistargeted
There’s no guarantee that the competitor you steal from is targeting the exact same audience as you are. Their creative might be designed with one specific audience segment in mind that you have no intention of targeting. Each business has it’s own unique strategy in regards to targeting their audience and without having that insight you simply won’t know if that creative is appropriate for your audience.
3. It’s Unoriginal
Savvy consumers will recognize copycat marketing. It shows them that your business lacks creativity and a drive to promote your business in an original way. By copying creative, you’re also not testing the waters to see what works and what doesn’t for your business. The result is a lack of marketing innovation and evolution within your organization.
4. It’s Limiting
By simply copying your competitor’s creative, you’re unwittingly putting a ceiling on how great and effective your marketing can be. Your creative will only be as effective as your competitor’s and probably less so because you won’t know exactly how to execute it like they do. You’ll also limit your internal creative department. By choosing to copy creative instead of going with their original ideas, you’ll be discouraging them from using their expertise and producing great creative in the future.
5. It’s Confusing
This goes for both your business and for your customers. By copying your competitor’s creative, you’re not giving your business it’s own unique brand identity. You’ll also confuse potential customers, as they will see the same style and messaging of creative from both you and your competitor.
Don’t underestimate the damage that copying your competitor’s creative can cause when it comes to your marketing efforts. By taking these five reasons to heart, you’ll resist the temptation to take a great radio jingle, for example, and try to make it your own.