How to Benefit From the Failures of Others

Posted on July 23, 2014 by Bryan B

competition

We live in the age of data, which means companies can use numbers to convince themselves that pretty much anything is true. Data is a big part of marketing and normally that’s a great thing, but it can lead to paralysis by analysis. The simple reason for that, of course, is that marketing campaigns always fall into two buckets — either they work or they don’t.

Press release writers can use fancy stats to spin things any way they want, but at the end of the day, none of the numbers matter. Focus groups and A/B testing are wonderful tools when they work, but it’s all too easy to get consumed by the nitty-gritty and lose track of the bigger picture. And that bigger picture is quite obvious when companies stop looking so much at themselves and start seeing what’s around them.

Keeping it Simple

Marketing really isn’t that hard and that’s especially true today. We have so much exposure to the marketing methods of the brands that surround us. That means that you have more opportunities than ever to determine what you like and what you don’t like. You can also turn the lens on consumers and figure out what works for the general population and what doesn’t. From there, it’s quite simple. Do the things that yield success; avoid the things that don’t.

Sure, it’s not that easy in reality. But it’s not far off either. To succeed in marketing, you have to find a way to connect with people in a unique way. What better way to find a niche in the marketplace than by looking at the failures around you and resolving to avoid their methods? This way, when you find an approach that doesn’t work, you’ll know exactly what not to do, and that’s just as important as striking gold with a good idea in the first place.

The Learning Curve

Employing this methodology isn’t just a good idea in terms of outsmarting the competition. It’ll also help you to learn more about your customers. Every letter, every email, every social media post you distribute gives you information about what customers want to see from your company. The same is true of communications from your competition. Social media makes it easier than ever to see how people react to the actions of businesses. Use that to your advantage! You don’t have to steal the ideas of these companies…but you can certainly stay away from the flops you see out there.

Marketing isn’t just about understanding what people want. It’s also about knowing what they don’t want and avoiding those concepts like the plague. And in a competitive industry, you’ve got a front row seat in the battle for customer satisfaction. Look at what these companies do, find a niche, and do the opposite of what turns off the consumers in your industry. Forget about the overanalysis that plagues so many businesses today. Take a look around and generate inspiration from the bad ideas that surround you.

Bryan B is a freelance writer based in Long Island, N.Y. He is passionate about bad movies and bad puns, and he still thinks pro wrestling is real.


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