CLIENT: “So I know I’ve approved the wireframes and design, but I saw a vendor site that has this one tiny feature that I thought we should integrate.”
AGENCY: “Oh? What’s that?”
CLIENT: “They have this animated cat that randomly runs across the screen, and attacks your cursor. I think it would add some fun to our site!”
AGENCY: “You sell heavy-duty construction equipment. You don’t even have a cat mascot. Color me confused.”
CLIENT: “Well… I had a cat once when I was a kid.”
AGENCY: “I’m just not seeing how a cartoon cat that interferes with using the site will help you sell more dump trucks.”
AGENCY: “Just because your vendor did it, doesn’t make it a good idea.”
CLIENT: “But it was cool. You keep telling us to humanize the brand.”
AGENCY: “Humanize does not mean make the brand appealing to five-year-olds. It means adding some personality to your content so it’s not so dry.”
CLIENT: “That cat sure had some personality. It was all sass!”
AGENCY: [ beats head into wall ]
It’s tempting to want to imitate your competitors. They may have higher sales than you or hit a target audience that you’ve been unable to crack. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to steal site features they have. Here are several good reasons why:
You have no idea why they made those choices. Your business model is not likely to be identical to theirs. If it is, you need to rethink your business strategy.
IT MAY NOT BE WORKING FOR THEM
You don’t know their metrics. They may hate their current site, and be ready to scrap it over poor performance. And here you are, ready to relive their mistakes.
When all the sites in an industry do the same thing, they are all making the same mistakes, all getting the same results, and turning into a sea of bland. Your customers want to see your advantage to them. By ripping each other off, you’ve failed your customer base.
It shows no originality, no brand differentiation. Just laziness on your part. How are you helping your customers see what makes you stand out from your competitors when you are desperately trying to be them?
THE DAD REASON
“If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you?” If the reasons above aren’t compelling enough, your business model is wrong, or your understanding of marketing is seriously lacking.
While we can’t rewrite your business model for you (although here is a great book on that subject), we can help your brand differentiate itself from your competitors in a way that makes sense for you, your customers, and your bottom line. Talk to us. We can help.