Do Your Own Thing

The #MeToo movement has been a powerful wake-up call to people across the country, and in some cases, across the globe, giving a voice back to those who had been silenced in an attempt to rectify past wrongs. It’s an important moment in our history, one which may forever alter our course for the future, but out of respect for the movement and those affected by it, I’m not going to talk about this #MeToo movement here.

I want to talk about the opposite of Me Too as it relates to brands.

It’s called “Do Your Own Thing”

Or “Do Your Own Damn Thing” if you want to be sassy about it.

What it means is this: don’t do something – some marketing tactic or message – just because your competitor is doing it. Whether your competitor is doing something really cool or really… meh… doesn’t mean that you need to copy what they’re doing for your brand.

While some brands certainly know what they’re doing, the odds are that your competitor probably does not have the Holy Grailbad billboard-lyft of marketing. Let’s face it: if they’re putting up a billboard with a message trying to get you to call a phone number or it’s crammed full of copy, they don’t even have a Marketing 101 text book, let alone the Holy Grail.

And while we’re talking about it, a billboard – or Facebook ad, pay per click ad placement, radio spot, or TV commercial – is considered a marketing tactic. It’s not a strategy. It’s not a message. It’s a tool used to convey the strategy and message. You don’t start with the tactic; you start at the beginning with the strategy.

Think of it like this: you don’t pick up a new book and flip to the middle of it to start reading. By the time you’re finished, you’re still kind of confused about who people are and what’s going on and you feel like reading it was a waste of time. However, if you start at the beginning of the story, you learn who the characters are on a deeper level, fully grasp the major and minor plot arcs, and finish it with a clear understanding of what’s going on.

Before you succumb to a media rep’s sweet nothings and spend money you can’t really spare on something that may not work, follow the “4Ms” of marketing structure defined by Al Ries to develop your strategy:

  1. Merchandise. This is your product or service. What is it? What makes it unique in your market?
  2. Market. This is your target audience. Clearly lay out everything you know about their collective demographic and psychographic background. This will help you immensely in determining your strategy and how to reach them.
  3. Media Mix. Where do you find your target audience? On Facebook? Instagram? Or reading a newspaper?
  4. Message. What do you need to say to pique interest in your brand with your target market in using the defined media?

Not specifically mentioned above, you need to clearly identify your budget for the campaign so you know how much you need to spend. If you have a small budget, you need to carefully pick media that will yield the biggest bang for the buck. That means reaching as many people in your target audience as possible with little waste (people you don’t want to reach). Heck, even if you have a robust budget you need to do that.

Having laid out that information, it’s impossible to know what your competitor’s marketing plan is. Are they trying to reach the same audience as you? Do they offer a parity product or service to you, or do you offer something unique? Do they really have a huge budget that allows them to buy a billboard on every corner in your town, or did they just get talked into something because they didn’t know what would work?

To that point, how do you know that what they’re doing is working?

In most cases, you don’t know if it’s working. You see the board every time you drive by it or hear it on the radio because you’re in the industry and are paying far more attention to these things than a typical consumer.

Don’t succumb to doing something just because your competitor is doing it.

Do something because it works, because it reaches YOUR ideal audience, because it has the right message to get results. Be true to your brand. Be true to your target market. Stay open-minded. Then, if something isn’t working the way you’d hoped, try something new.

Categorised in: , ,