“While I like a new idea as much as the next person, I also value following the leaders. After all, why blaze your own trail when someone else has cleared a perfectly good one for you. Watch, listen and learn and you’ll be able to avoid making the costly mistakes of your predecessors.”
This was my quote published in Inc.com. The article, written by Darren Dahl,
9 Reasons Why It Pays to Imitate, offers a wealth of knowledge and many other expert’s advice.
I would like to give some additional information that will help you conserve resources, market more effectively and hit the ground running when you start a business or introduce a new product.
If you’ve been monitoring the competition correctly, you’ll have some valuable insight into what is currently working and what isn’t. This clarity will allow you to perfect the design, improve the message or tweak the marketing strategy.
Make no mistake about it
The mistake many people make is to offer the same product or just a cheaper version of the same products, marketed the same way and attempting to reach the same audience. This costs everyone (all the companies involved in marketing these types of products) money.
In a perfect world, you would be able to adjust the offering to create an innovative product, that would solve a different challenge. You should seek to reach an entirely new audience, or even the same group with a alternate solution. This is frequently where the BIG money is hiding.
New uses for everyday products
The example that immediately springs to mind is cotton swabs. We all use them to clean our ears, apply ointment and clean the computer’s keyboard. Many of us also used them for applying cosmetics. Now they have special swabs for all these jobs. When applying eye make-up there are at least 5 different shapes, each for a specific use. Many of these are sold by different companies and the prices are much higher than the regular cotton swabs. Basically, the regular, cheaper ones would do the job nicely, but having the different shapes is much cooler.
The moral of this post is even when “copy catting” innovation pays off.
Not feeling very creative? You might want to explore ways to start thinking outside the box.
Can you think of any other examples of products like cotton swabs? I’d love to hear about them.
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