There’s a longstanding view in marketing that ‘me too’ advertising or promotion won’t get you anywhere.
You’ve got to stand out, be different.
When this issue is discussed openly, everyone agrees. ‘Me too’ is no good; you’ve got to stand out to be noticed.
When it comes down to it, people, generally, don’t want to stand out. They don’t want to be different.
They want to fit in. Why?
From an early age, we’re brought up to fit in, to not rock the boat, to do things the way they’re supposed to be done, to ‘obey the rules’.
Most of all, we don’t want to embarrass ourselves in front of our peers in case they laugh at us.
To put it another way, we’re encouraged to be a sheep (sounds harsh when you put it like that, but, hey, let’s call a spade a spade and totally mix up our metaphors and idioms).
Emperor’s new clothes
Of course, we’re all familiar with ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’; the children’s book that ridicules such behaviour, because it’s so obviously silly and not a bit like us. Except, that it is exactly like us. Especially, when the issues are bigger and under a greater spotlight.
Even more so, when there’s no scientifically proven way of knowing that something will work. “I’m not going to try it until I’m absolutely certain it will work.”
That’s not something I’ve ever come across in marketing: certainty. Even when you do the same thing you did last time, it returns different results.
You can never be sure if your marketing will work or how well it will work. You can have a good idea of certain things, especially if they are tried and tested over a period of time. And you know that just getting your message out there is better than staying silent. But when it comes to the big idea, the left field message, you can never be sure how well it will be received by your marketplace.
How innovative you need to be in your marketing also depends on where you are in the marketplace. If you’re the out and out market leader, with the best products and/or service, it might be a case of simply reminding people that you’re there, what’s new (and what’s not new, but they’ve not used it yet), how great you are and why they shouldn’t take a risk buying competitors’ products.
Of course, it’s important not just rest on your laurels, but you’re starting from the front, so, by definition, you’re not ‘me too’.
If you’re the challenger – either new to market or wanting to break new ground or take on the big boys – you might need to think, and act, differently.
This is where the importance of not being ‘me too’ really comes into play.
If you’re a new start up, it’s a lot easier, because you haven’t got any history to upset. It’s still not easy; you still have to make your mark, but you can focus your energies solely on how to get the results you want.
If you’re established, then you have a particular brand identity, existing customers and, probably, a certain way of doing things. There’s a massive temptation to carry on as you are, because that’s what’s got you to where you are today. Neither do you want to risk upsetting your existing customers and be in a worse position than you are.
None of these ‘arguments’ should really be a consideration.
Where do you want to be?
First, you don’t want to be where you are now. You want to be bigger, selling more product, at better rates to more customers. Second, your existing customers will more than likely be happy to be associated with a company that is going places. Why wouldn’t they, especially if they continue to enjoy the same standards of product and service?
“But if we’re too bold with our marketing, we might alienate some of our potential audience.” Good. That means you can focus on the part of the market that values what you offer and not have to worry about the rest. It’s easier, it’s less emotionally and mentally draining and you’ll enjoy it more.
Anyway, being bolder doesn’t mean you have to be totally extreme. But it does mean you need to present yourself as different. That’s the difference.
“What if it doesn’t work?”
What if it does?
And there’s only one way to find out.
Along the way, you’ll no doubt hear dissenting voices: “What do you think you are doing?” “It’ll never work.”
If this makes you waver, ask yourself this: “What’s their agenda?”
As we know, you can never be 100% certain that your marketing will get you to where you want to be, but you can be 100% certain that if you don't do something different, you won't get there anyway.
And, if you do it properly, with a thought out strategy, and commit to succeed, you will certainly transform how you are perceived in the marketplace.
Once you’ve established your credentials as being able to offer something different, something that’s in demand from your customers, can you imagine what your competitors will be saying?