Copycats, clones, dupes, imitators, reflections, mirrors, repeats—no matter what way you slice it, “copying” tends to have a negative connotation.
We’re here to change that connotation and tell you it’s time for a 180-degree shift. If you don’t replicate in marketing, your business is doomed.
Replication, or the ability to reproduce the same results of a given study no matter where or who you are, isn’t new. It’s been used in the sciences—both social and physical—for decades. Elementary school experiments on up are all based on the idea of replication—baking soda and vinegar produce the same physical reaction each time. A feather dropped, whether you’re in Dallas or Dubai, will fall at the same speed each time. These results can be replicated no matter who conducts the experiment or where it’s happening. And this type of replication carries with it the weight of truth.
Fields like psychology and economics are currently in the middle of what they’ve called a replication crisis. It stems from the fact that 40% of studies in the social sciences fail a replication test when the study is run again by another person. This crisis has caused academics to review their processes and results more closely.
When it comes to digital marketing, replication makes good business sense—but many of us balk at those bad connotations and copycat strategies. Marketers seem to be actively drawn to ideas that don’t replicate. When it comes to marketing, there’s a fascination with new and disposable ideas—and that’s why there’s potential for an even bigger replication crisis in marketing.
Hear us out.
Sure, marketing ideas have been celebrated at Cannes and even during Advertising Week. But trying to replicate those ideas seems akin to buying a winning lottery ticket. While no one in their right mind would bet their annual salary on the lottery, marketing teams at companies—both small and large—happily bet annual budgets on the luck of the draw each year.
If marketers dug a little deeper, they’d find the solution. There are usable strategies that have been shown to replicate for many in many industries through the years. One of the replication strategies that we like is called the 60/40 rule.
But what does the 60/40 rule mean, exactly?
It was coined by Les Binet and Peter Field, and it’s the the optimal spend split between brand and activation budgets. It says that companies that grow the fastest (when it comes to both the short-term and long-term) spend 60% of their budget on brand building, and 40% on sales activation.
The research behind the rule looked at 10,000 campaigns in a variety of industries over a 30-year period—and the results are replicable.
The 60/40 rule doesn’t just mean marketing success, though. It also equals financial success, as it coincides with outperforming peers in not only market share, but also sales volume, profit margins, and cash flow.
Recently, the same research results from Binet and Field were replicated for the B2B audience by LinkedIn. Their key points were simple: Sustainable growth in B2B depends on branding, mental availability and fame. As long as you balance brand and activation, you’re on the right path.
Now, while companies can invest in a replication strategy, they might also employ an overall replication marketing tactic.
What do we mean? Stick with what works. If you produce a newsletter or a market report that has traction, keep updating it.
You’ve surely seen it in B2C marketing, when companies like Nike (“Just do it”) and Mastercard (“Priceless”) coined taglines that have been in circulation for decades. They run the same tagline in every campaign and in every market to much success.
That’s a replication campaign. While we could go on listing successful replication campaigns for a while—every kiss begins with Kay, the Happiest Place on Earth, and the Ultimate Driving Machine come to mind—what they all do is establish a pattern for consumers. They repeat the same tagline over and over, until it’s ingrained in our brains, and we repeat the campaigns by heart.
And the key thing, here: They keep the same tagline. They replicate.
Sure, we’re often told as marketers that we need to change our marketing and come up with the next, new thing to achieve success. But when it comes to building a brand—the exact opposite is often the better method. Agree on a digital campaign and keep the main elements—logos, taglines, and characters, for example—the same, year after year.
Like a good pair of jeans, great brands don’t wear out. They wear in. They build on consistent exposures over long periods of time, and they make those sales in 27 touchpoints or less.
Want help replicating for your business? Reach out.