How do you know that your competitor’s adverts are working?

If they are the usual “institutional type” (see below), then it’s unlikely that they are working well. Copying their advert could actually help your competitor and here’s why…

If your competitor has been running an advert for a period of time in the newspaper, the readers become accustomed to seeing it. Another advert appearing selling the same thing and looking similar can produce the response “oh, it’s like X Company’s advert.” Who are they most likely to buy from? Yes, the first advert that they are familiar with, which would be your competitors.

What Is Institutional Advertising?

These are the type of adverts you see today in newspapers and especially in Yellow Pages. The format is very simple – the company name at the top, a list of products and services they offer, contact details and logo at the bottom. They all look the same!

Here’s a simple test.

If you’ve written your advert in the institutional format place it side-by-side with a competitor advert. Mentally remove the business names, logos and telephone numbers. Now, do you think, by just reading the remaining text that a prospect will be able to understand the difference between the two businesses? Could you swap logos, addresses and phone numbers and literally have the same advert?  If you consider they are literally the same then how does a prospect select which business to call or buy from?

It’s vital that you ensure your advertising is different from your competitors and it has a superior message. Saying that you provide a quality service or product will not convince a prospect.


What do you think your competitor is saying? I suspect they also say they provide a quality service. And what does “quality service” really mean? Does it mean you have a one-day delivery, the broadest range of stock or you only sell the top of the line models? Does your competitor do the same, or is this where you really differ?