Seth Godin tells us that all marketers are liars. I certainly won’t argue with that principle. Marketing is often about who can BS the best (kind of like putting together a resumé, he who BS’s the best without lying wins!)
I think it’s also true that all marketers are thieves. A few weeks back Chevy started an “Employee Discount” marketing campaign where us average Joes can get a car for the same price as Chevy employees. Guess what, it worked!
Shortly after Ford started their own campaign called the “Family Discount”. It must have worked for them too because they recently extended the sale a few extra weeks.
Every great while someone comes up with a stellar marketing idea. It isn’t long before that idea is copied, rinsed, washed, and repeated over and over gain. How many different bumper stickers do you still see copying the “got milk” campaign? “got sand”, “got jesus”, “got fruit”, “got laughs” and so on and so forth.
If its good, they will copy.
But if something works, why shouldn’t it be copied? Why shouldn’t you take someone else’s concept and make it your own? As a marketer, it’s your job to see what works and then find ways to apply that to whatever you are selling.
This doesn’t change our sales message at all, but it does give us an opportunity to be a little cute while pointing out that we’re not just like our competitors and direct them to our client testimonials that reinforce that. That lunch just might have paid for itself.
Of course, the more popular a marketing campaign is and the better it works, the harder it will be to steal it without looking like a thief. The trick is to take an idea and turn it into something new, something different enough to be yours, but the same enough to still be effective. The idea here is to not get caught copying the obvious.
Look around, there are plenty of good marketing ideas all around. I didn’t go to Burger King looking for a marketing idea, but because my eyes were open, I found one, and stole it. What have you stolen lately?