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Fall is here! 

The change in season means new marketing campaigns and programs, invites for fundraisers, and the release of fresh digital and print content. Soon our inboxes, mailboxes, and social media feeds will be filled with ads competing for our attention, especially with the holiday season just around the corner. Yes, 2019 is almost over…I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in. 

This is also the moment when we finally see what competitors have been working on over the past few months. As marketing and communications professionals, we’re paying attention to everything from strategy and messaging to content and design. While checking out the competition does have some benefits, the whole experience can be overwhelming and leave you feeling envious or unmotivated (or worse, both).

The next time you catch yourself thinking a bit too much about the competition, remember these three pitfalls: 

1. Getting Sidetracked: Every moment spent focusing on competitors’ strategies means less time and energy spent on your own work—especially on a small team. Have confidence in the strategy your team developed, and focus instead on using your resources aligned with that strategy.

Every moment spent focusing on competitors’ strategies means less time and energy spent on your own work.

Ivy Newman, The Viney Group

2. Overrating Originality: At some point or another, everybody has wondered if their work stands out or is “good enough.” Instead of measuring your creativity against your competitors’ and taking a desperate gamble just to make something wildly original (but perhaps irrelevant to your customers/audiences), take the pressure off yourself by focusing on improving a proven idea that already exists. Follow the adage, “good artists copy, great artists steal.” 

3. Chasing the Competition: It might be tempting to develop something similar to a competitor’s idea, especially if their audiences or customers are responding well to it. But, what might work for one brand might fall flat for you. Instead, focus on what makes your company uniquely you. Embrace the differences that set you apart by having brainstorming sessions with one of your most valuable resourcesyour team (whether it’s your employees, coworkers, family or friends). 

When designing a strategy or creating content, think about what your audience or customers want, not what the competitors are doing. Once you focus on creating work authentic to your brand’s mission and consider your customers’ wants and needs, then you’ll be well on your way to executing a winning strategy. Now, go ahead and close those browser tabs on your competitors’ social media pages and websites, and put away those mailers! You have a strategy to implement. 

by Ivy Newman

by Ivy Newman

As a marketing consultant, Ivy concentrates on strategically working with executives and business owners on solutions for structuring and creatively implementing the right marketing plan to increase business. The brainstorming process is her favorite activity when engaging clients.