So your product is less than best, people aren’t talking about what you are selling.. They are talking about the “other guy”. Your competition always seems to be working harder and longer to do what you have been doing. You now surmise that since they are always on the leading edge, the trailing edge will eventually send you to the poor house.
Familiar story? While there are many marketing techniques that are available to turn this type of condition around, I have been seeing alot of this golden-oldie. Enter Confusion Marketing.
Consider a new newspaper start-up that begins publishing weekly on Wednesday. Their copy is clean, their advertisers are legion and their first two issues were completely free to everyone as they hope to gain their first subscribers. Sounds like a perfect start-up strategy right?? Well, enter Confusion Marketing.
Now consider the existing newspaper, with an existing subscriber base found that the new newspaper may be working harder and better then they have been in acquiring and courting subscribers and advertisers. Seeing this, they executed Confusion Marketing 101.
Their publishing date was Saturday and their subscribers received it on Sunday. They changed their publish date to Wednesday to match the New Newspaper, they even changed their name, tweaked the look of their header-box and appearance. They eliminated their old reporters and substituted with New ones, and they also started to “give away” their publication for free during the two weeks when the New newspaper planned to. All in an effort so that confused consumers would choose Old over New. trailing over leading. If the consumer is confused as to which one is “hot and new”, they may accidentally subscribe to the wrong publication.
Confusion Marketing is not new. Both foreign car manufacturers Toyota and Honda mimicked US car brand shape, style and colors for 3 years until lawsuits eventually prevented it. What is the difference between a Super Size Fry and a King Size Fry? And my favorite, taking food that is really bad for your health and putting “with added fiber” on it. All of these efforts were done to confuse the consumer as to which product is the one that “everyone” is talking about. Popular sentiment is a powerful marketing force.
I would only recommend confusion marketing for those businesses that cannot adequately compete with new features, new options or unique capabilities. If innovation is not an option for you… Sure, confusion marketing will work well to make your innovative competitors products appear less unique and you may be able to hoodwink new customers into buying your widget, if they think that they are buying the widget of the other guy.