You don’t want to create a boring marketing strategy, do you?
No, you want to create something with which potential (and existing) customers will feel obliged to engage. You want to make them laugh, smile, gasp and – if it really floats your boat and sells products – cry.
But how do you do that when every marketing strategy you read about appears to have been tried a million times already?
There’s an answer, and it lies in one (or several) of the unusual marketing strategies below. Some you might be aware of, while others will genuinely take you by surprise.
Get a pen handy and be prepared to have your marketing knowledge completely readjusted.
Do the choreographed song and dance thing
Wait – don’t press the back button; I’m serious.
Remember those adverts that had a brief flurry of popularity a while back when a bunch of seemingly normal passers-by would simultaneously break into brilliantly choreographed song and dance?
It was so unusual and engaging that you couldn’t help but watch. But it’s all gone a bit quiet on that front now, so why don’t you lead the charge again?
If you’ve got a boring conference or exhibition on the way, why not book your own ‘flash mob’ and task them with surprising everyone in a public setting? It’ll be unexpected enough to gain plenty of social media activity and, if you get it right, lots of eyes on your brand.
Get into the bumper sticker game
“If you can read this, I’ve lost my caravan”.
I’ll never forget that bumper sticker – and that’s the point. I probably saw that stuck haphazardly to the back of an old Range Rover (heck, I even remember the car) well over ten years ago. It left an impression.
If you can think of a catchy, intriguing web address from which you can promote a new offer or announcement, why not create bumper stickers out of it? Give them to colleagues, friends and family, and hand them out at trade shows, and you might be surprised by the amount of web traffic it generates.
Give something away with every product
Hey, want to know a secret?
It doesn’t really matter what you give away sometimes – some people just love free ‘stuff’.
So, with that in mind, why not give something away with your newly launched product? A scented candle, 2020 diary or Twix – anything. It doesn’t have to – and indeed shouldn’t – cost a fortune.
There’s a reason you still see adverts on the back of magazines for services and products that include a free pen. It works.
Make the headlines with your strategy
Disclaimer: be careful with this one.
If your business can somehow make the national headlines, you’ve bagged yourself a free marketing campaign in its own right.
How you do this needs plenty of thought, though. I don’t want you to get arrested. Instead, think about any charitable endeavours you should be carrying out, or a particularly heart-warming story that sits somewhere within the business.
If you look hard enough, there’ll be something that might pique the interest of the tabloids, or at the very least, the local press. Any positive PR like this is good PR I this day and age – trust me.
Get involved in a social cause
Apple has long highlighted its desire to do good with its Product(RED) campaigning. Linked directly to their products, this is a brilliant example of how a social cause is also a great marketing tool.
It’s nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, consumers are increasingly looking for businesses that are socially and environmentally conscious. That could be you and it’ll be a key differentiator from the competition.
Therefore, if you can think of a way to tie one of your products or services with a social cause, its marketing will amplify considerably, and with little effort on your part.
Start a fight with a competitor
No, not literally – a good-humoured bit of ‘bants’.
History is littered with companies extracting the urine from each other. If you’re brave enough and know how to avoid straying into defamation and name-calling, it could work wonders for your marketing strategy.
The key lies in identifying a weak spot in your competition and amplifying it by highlighting how you can do far better. A funny graphic, play on their strap line (be super careful here to avoid IP issues) or nothing more than an expertly timed tweet will do it.
Reach out to the people who hate you
You know those terrible Trustpilot, Google or TripAdvisor reviews you’ve got against your business? They could be hiding a unique marketing opportunity.
Reach out to a few people who have told the world how terrible you are and ask how you can make it up. Sure, some will tell you to shove your idea where the sun doesn’t shine, but others might just be interested; they may be prepared to let bygones be bygones.
If you can turn around an unhappy customer experience, you have a brilliant story on your hands. It’s marketing gold dust, actually, and demonstrates to the world that you’re human and care deeply about your product and customer experience.
Turn a product into a challenge
The holy grail of marketing in the digital age is having something ‘go viral’.
Essentially, this means it’s picked up on social media by a huge number of people and shared incessantly. It requires no effort on your part, bar the initial strategy and execution.
One strategy that might stand you with a chance of going viral is turning a product into a challenge. If people can use it, they can use it as part of a challenge – simple.
Perhaps you could ask people to show the unusual places in which the use the product or challenge them to find a brand-new use for it. Whatever you do, ask your customers and followers to video themselves and post it on social media.
Devise a hashtag, and you have a viral marketing campaign ready to go. Whether or not it works depends largely on how funny and tempting the idea is, but there is a significant degree of luck involved, too.
Still, doesn’t hurt to try, does it?
Wrapping up the strategy
So, which of the unusual marketing strategies above have got you most inspired? Are you ready to be brave and forge new ground in 2020?