Follow the Leader And You’ll Settle Forever

It happens all too often. With the immense uncertainty that small businesses face when it comes to digital marketing, all too often a small business owner will take a “follow the leader” approach.

This of course inadvertently leaves your competitor at a huge advantage over you as they are driving both their strategy and yours. Their digital marketing strategy is clearly working for them – they are the current leaders after all. As for you, you are also using a winning blueprint but in your case that blueprint was made for another business so at best you are going to always be chasing and more likely this is probably not the “winning” digital strategy for your business. As an exaggerated example, if you were to wear Michael Phelps’ swim trunks would you necessarily think that you are ready to swim in the Olympics? Of course not.

Online marketing is confusing. It also can be very unsettling because as a business owner you are being asked to reallocate money from one type of marketing (we’ll call it 1.0) that perhaps you understood a little better – after all everyone owns a television and knows what a newspaper is, and you are now expected to suddenly shift to a new type of marketing (2.0) that you not only know very little about, but you are also hard pressed to be able to measure it. No question – 2.0 is filled with challenges and so when we see a competitor really hitting it out of the park we naturally have an instinct to follow the leader – after all isn’t that what everyone did in the Yellow Pages? Great for the Yellow Pages but as a business owner you are now probably less likely to blindly buy Yellow Pages spots simply because your competitors still does – after all they might be way out of whack and why should your business drown too?

So in the face of this sea of confusion all too often a business owner will simply “Follow the Leader” thinking that because a leader is the leader, they obviously might know how to maneuver. Right? Actually the better answer is maybe, and an even better answer is the leader might know some things, but because things happen so quickly they are likely out of date on their strategy.

So don’t be a shnook – you can do better than simply playing the “Follow the Leader” game – your business demands more and frankly you deserve to treat yourself better.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying you should run out and do the opposite of the market leader – but I do think a healthy dose of reality and planning can always benefit a business owner as they are in the process of evaluating their strategy.

[sws_grey_box box_size=”520″] Stop playing ‘Follow the Leader’ with your Digital Marketing Strategy! [sws_button class=”” size=”sws_btn_small” align=”sws_btn_align_right” href=”http://clicktotweet.com/0bdOa” target=”_blank” label=”Click to Tweet!” template=”sws_btn_forestgreen” textcolor=”” fontweight=”normal” bgcolor=”” bgcolorhover=”” glow=”sws_btn_glow” btnwidth=”” textalign=””] [/sws_button] [/sws_grey_box]

Instead focus on what seems to be working for the leader while also anticipating where the market is heading and try to be “there” just as your market arrives at that place – with some luck, a lot of hard work and some great planning on your part hopefully you’ll find that there is a new market leader in your space – namely YOU!

David Gadarian on LinkedinDavid Gadarian on Twitter
David Gadarian
With deep expertise in both digital strategy, and the "online narrative" David has helped businesses of all sizes to better define and to further expand their digital footprint. Prior to entering the world of 2.0, David spent 15 years living in working in Los Angeles as a television producer where he set up projects at networks including CBS, NBC, FX, TNT, Showtime and Comedy Central.

David is currently employed at Dassault Systèmes as the Digital & Social Media Sr. Marketing Manager for North America. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are in no way affiliated with Dassault Systèmes, but rather reflect the personal views of David.
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7 Responses to Follow the Leader And You’ll Settle Forever

  1. Well I often do believe that there is power in “not” having to re-invent the wheel all the time, as following successful mentors is a good roadmap, though our obstacle is in thinking like we can follow the same road as a multi-million dollar company. We can’t and in fact our road needs to be quite different. The same rules just are not applying, so we are finding out.  Great article, again from a wonderful blog. Thanks…keep up the great info!  Norma

      •  @Gadarian
         normariter@aol.com really is my email. Not sure why it would have bounced ??  I see now that you also offer some great services. I would be interested to see what your firm could do for us.

        •  @BeachSpaResorts Hi Norma – for some reason Google is saying a “permanent error” when I respond?  Weird.  In any event please give me a call (978) 577-5555 and we schedule a time to talk about where you are looking to go and how we might be able to work together.  Thanks for your persistence in following up! Best, David 

  2. David,  Thank you for the great post. We did have a follow the leader mentality but later came out of it and just made our strategy than the current market leader. We took a lot of feedback from our clients to develop the strategy.

    •  @Omni Chaparala – DFW Realties Great point about asking for feedback directly from your clients – “following your clients” seems like a great follow up post and much stronger long term approach.  Thanks for sharing your insights here!