Why is business marketing so important?
Every business, from new startups to local stores and established companies, places an emphasis on their marketing strategies. But what exactly does “marketing” mean? We know the obvious answer: to get the word out about your brand. However, is that where marketing ends? No.
The most successful businesses use marketing to solve problems before they even arise. Some of the best advice I’ve ever heard was from Kaaren Hanson, Vice President of Design Innovation at Intuit and a social psychologist, who said, “fall in love with the problem, not the solution.” At first, this might sound counter intuitive, but upon further inspection, makes perfect sense. Whenever an obstacle surfaces, most businesses rush to find a solution and immediately execute the first one that comes to mind. While the problem may disappear for the moment, more than likely, it will reoccur. If you constantly keep the problem as your main focus, you will see more innovative results.
The best marketers go beyond the typical strategies, i.e. social media and content marketing, to find something unique. This is not to say that you shouldn’t utilize the more conventional strategies. In fact, a recent study found that 92 percent of marketers have increased their exposure through social media and 80 percent had positive results in terms of traffic; content marketing delivers 54 percent more leads into the marketing funnel than traditional outbound marketing. Traditional marketing strategies are still vital to companies, especially one’s that are trying to get their start, but to give you business that extra edge, consider a more unconventional approach:
Use An Alternative Plan Of Action:
Whether you have a limited or overflowing marketing budget, implementing one or more of these strategies will set your business apart from the rest.
Neil Patel, professional business consultant for brands like Amazon, NBC, and HP suggests throwing a lavish party. While this may not be a possibility for some, it is a great way to meet like-minded individuals and a great place to network. A party atmosphere takes the pressure off of “business conversations,” but still gives you the opportunity to meet potential clients. It may sound excessive to throw an extravagant party, but it is sure to get people talking about you and your business. Just make sure that the entertainment represents and is consistent with your brand identity.
Another way to drive traffic to your business is by guest posting. This takes content marketing to the next level. You should already be posting content to your business’s webpage; to prove yourself as a thought leader in your industry. However, if you have a knack for creating original content, submit your work to other reputable outlets. Sites like Forbes, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Inc are always looking for new contributors with high quality ideas because it helps them boost their own traffic, but it can bring traffic to your site too! Generate revenue by writing about topics that are relevant to your industry so that you can organically mention your business or area of expertise within your posts. Most outlets give guest writers an author page where you can link back to your personal or business website.
I will start with the disclaimer that this method of marketing will not work for everyone; however, if you are in the business of consulting, showing off is a great way to market yourself. If you are an entrepreneur and the only person in your business, it is essential that you become your brand. If this means flaunting your success across your social media sites or bragging about your fancy new car, then you should bite the bullet and own it. You don’t actually have to be as obnoxious in person as your sites may suggest, but if you appear to be living the lifestyle that potential clients desire, you will generate multiple leads.
A few years back, LEGO Land came up with a brilliantly creative marketing campaign for their new line of hotels. Their advertising agency hid miniature, LEGO sized billboards throughout the streets of London and then released their geographical coordinates on twitter like a treasure map. The campaign soon went viral, and those who found the billboards posted pictures with excited captions on their own social media outlets, essentially advertising for LEGO for free. This does not mean that this specific strategy – placing mini billboards around town – is what you should do, but take their idea of getting people excited and in a competitive spirit. This campaign was genius because it offered a kind of incentive, but one that was virtually free to the company: bragging rights for those who found the hidden signs first. Incentives are a great way to get people talking about your business, and LEGO Land proved that you can do this without it costing your business.
If you have the funds to do so, don’t wait for the future to come to you and your business; seek it out for yourself. Shiv Singh, Global Head of Digital at PepsiCo, and David Haroldsen, Creative Director of Intel’s Creators Project, admit that their best marketing strategies had essentially nothing to do with marketing. For example, Singh acts as a venture capitalist and invests in digital start ups. He explains that this gives his company early access to the next generation of digital marketing innovations. Intel on the other hand launched an initiative to get young local artists talking about their creative visions in an online community forum. Not only was this advantageous to the artists, but it stimulated talk about Intel in an audience and generation that otherwise would not associate with the brand. Both Pepsi and Intel stepped out of their comfort zones and had it pay off. Sometimes it is necessary to shift your target audience to received the widest variety of traffic. Don’t ever forget about your loyal customers, but it is important to expand your brand’s identity and appeal to different types of clients.
When it comes down to it, some marketing is better than no marketing. But if you want to take your business to the next level, you should consider putting those traditional marketing techniques on the back burner and branch out. There are easier and less expensive ways to be unconventional. Try utilizing guerrilla marketing, handing out wacky business cards, or redesigning your website; whatever you do, just make sure to invoke curiosity by being unexpected.
Trying out new strategies will be a learning experience: some things will work, some things won’t. But when you come up with an idea that no business has tried, you’ll already have an edge.
What are some of the strangest marketing strategies you’ve ever tried?