Are you caught in the marketing sameness trap?

Are you caught in the marketing sameness trap?

Sean Masters, Creative Director and Partner, Masters Allen

 Submitted by: Masters Allen (, Post published: 29th May 2019

We, as business and consumer customers, are bombarded by thousands of messages every day. Overwhelmed by words and images across dozens of media channels…

This means it’s harder than ever for marketers to get their messages out there. There’s no easy fix but there is a route to being heard.

Too much choice

We’re often time poor, so we quickly decipher what’s of interest and swiftly gloss over what doesn’t appear significant. This means if a brand’s offering is going to be of interest, it has to be relevant to our internal narrative and needs.

Large brands, with their army of strategists, huge marketing budgets and strong market penetration, are well-supported in their goal of achieving greater market share. It’s SMEs and challenger brands that must work smarter. Many offer great products and services yet struggle to articulate their difference and value to customers, ending up caught in the sameness trap with multiples of other look-alikes – too many brands with the same offerings, using the same generic language to relay the same types of messages.

Safety in numbers

The sameness trap occurs because it can be easier and safer to positioning the brand in-line with the market leader(s), who often holds the ground on what matters to people, namely power, speed, performance, efficacy or convenience. Adopting a tried and tested method may mean your message gets out there, but it also leads to a poorly differentiated brand experience, actively making it harder for a customer to choose. It’s also a flawed sustainable growth strategy.

A great way to avoid the sameness trap is to define your difference. This doesn’t come from brainstorming messages, it comes from finding what makes you truly distinctive from everyone else and using that to create contrast between your brand and all the other look-alikes vying for attention.

Problem with differences

This isn’t an easy task. Key differences tend to be small, intangible and often temporary. It’s made even harder because it requires a brand to be truly objective. It’s about self-analysis and asking why you do what you do. You need to distil it down so customers and internal stakeholders can understand what you stand for, rather than getting caught up in the same rhetoric as everyone else. This will not only articulate who you are and why a customer should listen but presents a level of trust that consumers are actively looking for.

Step back

Taking that step back and getting to grips with your brand is vital to modern day marketing success. The first step to achieving this is to bring departments together. Ask both peers and leadership open, objective and probing questions. Multiple perspectives and opinions are key to finding the common threads that everyone can identify with, and this undoubtedly leads to fundamental company truths.

Positive change

There’s no denying that being objective and taking a truly holistic view can be incredibly difficult when you’re immersed in the day-to-day. But if you do want to instigate positive change in your organisation, this is a great way of overcoming subjective opinion and creating the authentic differentiation that’s rooted in structure and fact.

It’s time to break free from the sameness trap so you are better placed to guide customers towards making the right choice.

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