In the ever-changing world of online consumerism and marketing, your marketing strategy has to be flexible, and you can’t get stuck in one line of thinking. If you are in a small or tight-knit industry, you’ve likely already scoped out all the ideas from your competition.
And that is when it’s time to steal.
Stealing Like a CMO
When you’ve already looked to the competition for fresh ideas, looking outside your industry can seem like a waste of time at first – after all, the way a bookstore markets its products is different than the way a bicycle repair shop will market its services.
But, underneath the specifics, we are all in the business of meeting demand with supply. Taking ideas from industries outside your own, and putting your own industry-specific spin on them, is a great way to shake things up when your marketing efforts are in a rut.
Where Should You Start?
Before you can start your theft, you need to know what it is you’re going after. In what area has your own marketing strategy been failing lately? Where can you be stronger? Understanding this helps you decide what types of industries to study outside your own.
If your problem is customer retention, consider what type of business always has loyal, repeat customers. A doctor’s office, perhaps? What do they do before, during, and after each appointment to ensure that patients come back to the office? These techniques may be able to be adapted for you.
Team Up: Your Experts with Their Thinkers
If possible, steal marketing ideas right out from under their noses with a face-to-face meet up. The important thing to remember with this kind of pairing is that you have to make sure any ideas you walk away with are relevant to your business. Take some experts from your industry with you, and meet and discuss with the other company’s creative team.
Of course, don’t be afraid to let them take you out of your comfort zone. After all, the best and freshest ideas will come when you are finally out of the same mind space you’ve been stuck in.
What You Need to Keep in Mind
When “stealing” your ideas, don’t forget basic marketing 101 concepts:
Stay on Trend: Look at what is popular in pop culture at the moment. Is it zombies? Vampires? Musical retellings of fairy tales? Whatever is popular in movies, TV shows, and books defines the latest trends, so consider finding ways to add those into your marketing. For example, a medical clinic may choose to do a series of blog posts or funny videos centering on healthcare for vampires.
Gimmicks Don’t Sell: While you’re looking for ideas to steal from other industries, remember that gimmicks don’t work in the long run and often cause more problems than positive outcomes.
Understand Your Audience: You may find a great idea in another sector that could be adapted to your own sector, but it doesn’t mean a thing if it doesn’t match up with your target customers’ interests, needs, and demographics.
When stealing like a CMO, don’t forget that the rules of marketing are still pretty basic: create something, optimize it so it can be found, and promote it so it will get consumed.
Everything else is just on display for the next band of CMO thieves.