True Confessions of a Digital Marketer #2: “I Learn from the Competition”

As a former CMO, I’ve seen and heard a lot of unique (and some downright crazy) marketing techniques along the way, and “True Confessions” is my way of sharing it with all of you. Like all good legends–marketing or otherwise– there’s always a mix of truth, exaggeration, outright fiction, and just plain wishful thinking. We’ll let you decide which is which below.

In any area of human endeavor, there is going to be mediocrity. You’re going to find people who get money that they shouldn’t get. – Bill Bryson

It starts so innocently. To know thine enemy.

Like all decent digital marketers, you want to get your campaign or landing page right. But the budget won’t allow for you to hire a consultant to figure out the best approach for your visitors. And your website campaign launches at the end of the quarter…which is TWO. WEEKS. AWAY.  Focus groups? Interviews? Of course, but there’s no time for that!

Therefore, it’s probably not surprising that so many of us often do a little drive-by to our top competitor or best in class websites–to, ahem, expedite our work. We assume (the grass is always greener) they’ve done the research and customer usability that we don’t have time to do (and that their page probably performs better than ours…)

And for those digital marketers who weren’t raised as digital natives (i.e. anyone older than millennial) there’s alwaaaaays a new technology or social media we need to be instant experts in –because those KPIs don’t quit. There’s only so many hours in a day. There’s only so many free tips from MarketingProfs we can get. We don’t want to look stupid. So we steal, uh–pay homage–to what the competition does and mumble something about industry-wide best practices and cross our fingers.

Look, just because “they” (your competitors) did something—where did they get it from? Another competitor? The lowest-cost option on Fiverr or Upwork? The brain of the fourth CMO they’ve had in six months?

Borrowing ideas from your competition for your website optimization efforts is like taking home a couch you found on the sidewalk. It may look nice and serviceable, but you don’t know what’s in it. 

And it’s gotta stop. 

For one, if it‘s not working for them, it’s not going to work for you. And unless you have a mole at enemy headquarters, you don’t know if their website is converting.

For another, you might be missing your target entirely. Consider: you may call Companies X, Y, and Z your competition. But they might say Companies A, G, L, and P are their competitors. Not YourCorp. So you might be optimizing a website for someone else’s customer. Not yours.   

For a third thing, they might not have considered customer feedback in their webpage optimization efforts. At all.

So what are you going to do about it? For starters, maybe it’s time to commit to be a digital marketing trendsetter, not crowd-follower. And here’s your answer: Pre-Live testing. 

And here’s how to do all that in one fell swoop: Use WEVO on your pre-live pages and get validation and feedback from your customers, not your competitors.

  • You get a low-risk way to test elements and new concepts with potential members of your target audience. What do we mean by low-risk? We mean without live traffic. No need to approve, code, or launch before your Pre-Live test.
  • You’ll get curated and direct customer quotes about what worked for them, and what you still need to work on.
  • Plus—and here’s a kicker—WEVO lets you compare your pre-live page designs to what your competition already has in market. And it will tell you which one will perform better. 


So you’ll be able to offer your customers what they want: a brand that truly gets them and understands their needs.  

And maybe you’ll become the one your competitors are stealing from.

To learn more about WEVO and Pre-Live testing, contact us.

About Janet

Janet was the first CMO of Constant Contact, and part of the team that created much of what is known as inbound marketing today. She has also held leadership marketing roles at what is now 3M MicroTouch and HP. After creating HSG, a product and marketing consulting firm, alongside fellow entrepreneur Nitzan Shaer, they soon realized that market research is long, expensive, non-actionable, and does not work at the pace of digital marketers. As a result, they created WEVO – the first company to optimize website experiences before going live. WEVO uses target audience testing to diagnose web pages without the need for live traffic. With actionable, validated insights, WEVO enables you to pinpoint reasons why customers aren’t converting, empowering marketers with a low-risk way to uncover why people take action. 

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