The Enticing Trap Of “Frankenstein Marketing”

by | Nov 4, 2018 | Customer Growth

Keeping up with constantly changing marketing trends can be a real challenge.  

Just when you have a marketing strategy nailed down and ready to roll for your business… something out of your control changes to disrupt your expected results.   

Because of this confusion, many business owners and marketing firms fall into an all too common trap, “Frankenstein Marketing.”  Rather than researching the market and fully understanding the brand of the business, bits and pieces of marketing ideas are taken from various competitors (or at random from other non-competitor companies).  

 

“Frankenstein Marketing” Defined


I first heard this term from a long-time virtual mentor of mine in the copywriting space, Ben Settle.  He used the term to describe copywriters who take bits and pieces of copy from other copywriter’s to create a sales letter or advertisement.  

Essentially, they’ll take a headline from copywriter #1, an intro paragraph from copywriter #2, a closing from copywriter #3, and so on. As you can imagine… this leads to an incoherent message that is not true to the market being targeted.

In the marketing world, many businesses try to copy exactly what other companies are doing.  And, they do this across each of their marketing channels.

For instance…

 

@Wendys is brilliant on social media, so you may think that it makes sense to copy the style used by Wendy’s for your own business’ social media.

➔ You really enjoyed that email newsletter you received with so many great jokes and memes, and you decide to put together something similar for your business.

➔ You find a website that looks really sharp with many bells and whistles, and you decide your website should be updated with a similar look and feel.

➔ You’ve been listening to a podcast related to your industry, and it’s very entertaining. So you jump in and start planning your own podcast with the same theme.

➔ You love watching entertaining YouTube videos—and you see many other businesses starting to produce content for YouTube—so you decide it’s time to start making your own YouTube videos for your business.  

Are you seeing the likely downfall with this piecemeal pattern?

 

Why Is This A Bad Marketing Approach?


Marketing TrapThere are several problems with this approach.  Let’s cover a few of them below:

#1: Are the businesses you are copying targeting the exact same market as you?  Even if you’re taking a competitor’s approach from the same industry where the target market is the same (or at least very similar)—it’s still an issue as you’ll see below.

#2: The words you use and the tone you take all depends upon your own brand image and what your specific market wants.  If you take on the tone and brand image of another company, yet you use it with your own target market, this will almost certainly lead to undesired results.

#3: Copying different marketing channel ideas from various companies will lead to your business having an inconsistent brand image and message in the marketplace.  

Related Post: Why Failed Marketing Can Be A Good Thing

 

When It’s Ok To Use Ideas From Other Businesses


Although I’m telling you to avoid “Frankenstein Marketing” due to its negative impact on your business and brand over time, it doesn’t mean you can’t get ideas from other businesses.

There is very little in marketing today that is truly original. Most of today’s great advertising can be traced to ideas first used by many of history’s advertising greats, such as Claude Hopkins, Mel Martin, Eugene Schwartz, David Ogilvy, Gary Halbert, and many others.  

So, this now leaves us with the question… how do you take concepts and general ideas from other businesses and make them your own?

Obviously, you never want to plagiarize or rip-off any advertisement.  Not only is this completely unethical (and oftentimes illegal), it also follows the path of being a “Frankenstein Marketer” by blindly using the ideas from another business.

Here’s what you need to know:

 

First and foremost, you must always completely understand your target market.  Although the numbers differ slightly from who you ask, the success of your marketing is based upon the following percentages:

➔ 50% How well do you know your market?

➔ 30% How good of a product or service are you offering?

➔ 20% How well written and designed is your ad?

As you can see, market research is just as important by itself than your service offering and advertisement combined.  

When you copy the ideas of other businesses, you’re not taking into account your specific market.  

Target MarketHowever, if you take the general concept being used by another business—and then spend time analyzing whether your target market would resonate with such a concept—it may make sense for you to make it your own.  

This doesn’t mean copy it exactly, you must adapt it to your own brand image.

Going back to the examples from above, it very well may make sense for your business to get on social media like Wendy’s, create an email newsletter, update your website, start a podcast, and/or start creating YouTube videos.  

Yet, these must all be platforms your market uses. And, your message must match what your market wants, and not simply match the way some other business is talking.

 

What Now?


If you’re looking to grow your business with a new marketing strategy, you need to spend time getting to know your target market as in-depth as possible.  This knowledge will help guide your decision-making on what your marketing strategy will look like.

Ultimately, you may get lucky and have success in the beginning by following a “Frankenstein Marketing” strategy… but this approach won’t stand the test of time.  

The best of luck to you on your marketing journey.  And, we’re here to help if you need any guidance with your market research or overall marketing strategy.  

Ryan has been heavily involved in the world of Information Technology and entrepreneurship since the early 2000s. From small business consulting to Fortune 500 IT leadership, Ryan has a wide array of industry knowledge. He earned his BBA from the University of Iowa in 2004 majoring in Management Information Systems and later earned his MBA from the University of Iowa in 2009 with a focus on Management and Marketing. When he's not spending time with his wife and three young children, you'll find Ryan pounding away at his keyboard, spinning on his Peloton, or listening to a good audiobook or podcast.

Connect with Ryan on Twitter or Instagram.

Ryan Glick

Co-Founder, Pixelayn Innovations

Ryan has been heavily involved in the world of Information Technology and entrepreneurship since the early 2000s. From small business consulting to Fortune 500 IT leadership, Ryan has a wide array of industry knowledge. He earned his BBA from the University of Iowa in 2004 majoring in Management Information Systems and later earned his MBA from the University of Iowa in 2009 with a focus on Management and Marketing. When he's not spending time with his wife and three young children, you'll find Ryan pounding away at his keyboard, spinning on his Peloton, or listening to a good audiobook or podcast.

Connect with Ryan on Twitter or Instagram.

Ryan Glick

Co-Founder, Pixelayn Innovations