Monitoring the strategies and tactics utilized by your competitors is necessary in the process of developing your company’s unique strategy. Evaluation of competitors can help your company stay abreast of various industry trends, which can help you meet your customers at the point of need. Examining different techniques used by similar companies, as well as increased or decreased sales and popularity during the time that the tactic was used can help you gauge whether similar techniques may be of value for your company as well. However, when developing your marketing and publicity campaign strategy, be careful not to completely mimic the tactics used by your competitors.

For instance, if you are planning to open up an ice cream shop and found that the ice cream shop down the street experienced increased media exposure after it hosted a free lunch-time ice cream social for workers in the area, it would not be wise to do the same ice cream social/free giveaway type event. First of all, no one likes a copy cat. The public and the media can see right through a business that does not really have anything unique to offer. While it is true that everyone loves to get something for free, at best you may get a few people who stop by to grab a free ice cream cone and leave. The media surely will not cover an event that has been done before, so rather than reaching the workers and the entire coverage area of the news station that covered the story as the original ice cream store had, your exposure will be limited to those who pass by; not to mention the added cost of providing tons of free ice cream with little if any return in generated publicity. Even if your ice cream is better than your competitor’s, you may experience less than stellar results for using an old idea.

Aside from not producing the desired results, there are other, more severe consequences to not developing a solid marketing and publicity strategy that is unique to your company. The fact is, all companies are different. While it may seem that two ice cream shops that are a block a part with similar products, pricing and customers could successfully utilize practically the same plan, there are many other factors that affect the success of tactics that must be considered.

In my aforementioned scenario I did not mention how long the first ice cream shop had been in business. If the shop was well established, chances are the company has loyal customers that would turn out for almost any event. It may not be as easy to get those same customers to come to your new ice cream shop. It is also possible that the ice cream social coincided with a company anniversary or other unique milestone, which may generate more attention from the media than the opening of your ice cream shop. Longevity often wins over something new, unless your business idea is truly unique (an ice shop is typically not considered a revolutionary idea). In addition to knowing the circumstances under which a tactic was successful, it is also important to take note of when the tactic was successful. Maybe the ice cream social was held prior to the construction of a shopping mall in the area. Now that the mall is near, a lot of workers use their lunch break to shop, so hosting an event during lunch may not be a great idea—even if it is free.

In the end, trying to keep up with the Joneses, or doing everything your competition does, can be detrimental because all businesses are unique. Find what makes your business special and use your tactics to draw attention to your strengths. If you are a soccer-mom-turned-business-woman and are new to the ice cream business, capitalize on what you know. How about offering a play place or noon story and ice cream hour for parents and children who visit your shop?

Author's Bio: 

J. Mariah Brown is the owner and editor-in-chief of Writings by Design, LLC. To learn more about how Writings by Design can help your business formulate and execute a unique strategic marketing and publicity campaign, please visit us at, email your question to or call us at 866-937-2361 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              866-937-2361      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              866-937-2361      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.