When trying to uncover trendy marketing strategies that you can apply to your business model you’ll need to look at your target audience online, and offline. There are several clever ways to get your brand noticed (how about the Vikings singing opera in the JG Wentworth commercials… 877-CASH-NOW) and a few techniques that you’re probably already using but need to re-visit. Understanding how the market works and what role your business plays in that market is crucial to developing foolproof strategies to further your businesses agenda and success. For a more in depth look at how to develop a marketing plan, check out Marketing Made Easy.
Remember 1996? When Tickle Me Elmo was the hype of the holiday season? If you do, you might also remember going to the store and being surprised to find out there were none, there wouldn’t be any coming in, and to get one online you had to shell out several hundred if not thousands of dollars. Yes, for a red stuffed, vibrating and wildly laughing Muppet. How in the world did such a simple toy become the apple of every one’s eye? First, great marketing strategies from Tyco, knowing their audience, knowing the trends of their industry and excellent promoting skills (they gave away free dolls to The Rosie O’Donnell talk show to give out to the audience). These few calculated steps led them unknowingly right into the arms the scarcity marketing strategy. In scarcity marketing, companies will create a false perception that a product is close to selling out to create hype – but Tyco didn’t have to, it was selling out. So, consumers rushed out to the store to purchase Elmo in fear they wouldn’t be able to get the #1 toy of the year. The scarcity of our furry battery-operated friend created an incredible holiday legacy and millions of dollars for Tyco – and it only originally cost $28 an Elmo.
Minority Report comes to mind here. While stealth marketing isn’t just part of the Smart Body, Smart World paradigm, I’ll use this Blockbuster hit for the sake of example. The sci-fi thriller showcases how a business can market their product or brand to someone who is unaware they are being targeted through use of advanced technology. There is a scene when Tom Cruise walks through the mall and the electronic ads on big screens around him shift to display ads respective of his mood. In the movie, the advertisements were using sensor laden devices (called wearables) to tailor the ads to Tom Cruise as he unassumingly rushed through the mall. Wearables do actually exist, like Google Glass or the Nike Fuelband, but it’s not quite that serious – yet. Subconsciously, we are being shown products that fit our tastes and desires which unknowingly incentivizes us to purchase again. Another great and more familiar example would be product placement. Next time you sit down to watch a movie pay attention to the brands that the actors are using. Did someone drink a Coke? Or smoke a Marlboro? Hello stealth marketing.
Ever heard of those hipster shoes called TOMS? Well, if you haven’t, they’re kind of a big deal. Every hip young twenty-something who lives within 1000 miles of an urban center is sporting these slip-ons. They are reminiscent of clogs, but with a back, and made of fabric – and way more “in”. What does this have to do with marketing? Well, TOMS nailed it. For every shoe purchase you make you donate a pair of shoes to a needy kid in an underdeveloped country. It’s easy. People love to shop, people love to be trendy and people love to give back. This type of marketing strategy is a total win for you, me and the kids that are victims of poverty. For the creative professional, here’s a guide on marketing strategies to help you manage your promotion efforts.
This is an incredibly common type of marketing strategy. You may not even notice that it’s happening, but it’s working. Next time you peruse the shelves of books at your local Barnes and Noble, notice that the coffee shop is a Starbucks. In the early 90’s Starbucks partnered up with Barnes and Noble as an alliance marketing strategy. This partnership helps promote both businesses but doesn’t forge a competitive relationship. What kind of book store doesn’t have a coffee shop? And what kind of coffee shop doesn’t offer to fill the void? Another great advertising tactic executed by the Fortune 500 Company. Building these kinds of business relationships can give your business the boost it needs to be successful and enjoy longevity.
This may come as a shock to you (it won’t come as a shock) but customer retention and satisfaction should be priority. Relationship based marketing strategies hone in on your existing customers and help you develop ways to maintain that relationship and exceed the customer’s expectations. A lot of companies nowadays are using customer relationship management software (CRM) that make this job a heck of a lot easier. These systems help track, manage, and record customer’s purchases, correspondences, and trend patterns. Once you are able to assess the fundamentals of who your customers are, why they are your customers (over your competitors) and what the industry standards and trends are – you’ll be able to keep your status as a customer centric company. (We, the consumers, appreciate this.)
Be Seen, Be Heard
Alright, so there’s no real marketing strategy dubbed “be seen, be heard”, but there is type of marketing that you can’t totally control that’ll kick your business into high gear. The oldest and best way to advertise: word-of-mouth. Be the best you can be and your existing customers will recommend you to friends and family. To make this easier on you, make sure you have some sort of online presence (for more on marketing materials to achieve stellar marketing strategies take this online tutorial), talk about your venture to anyone who has ears and treat your customers with the respect you’d expect. They’ll talk, share and you’ll get new customers. Can’t beat free advertising!