15 Marketing Strategies That Inspire Strategic Thinkers

It takes a lot of time and effort to develop and maintain a marketing campaign that resonates with your intended audience. As a strategic thinker, however, the development of a marketing campaign takes even more consideration. After all, we’re always searching for ways to gain the oh-so important competitive edge.

There are times, though, when we all hit the proverbial wall. If you find yourself in that situation, then you may want to check out these fifteen marketing strategies that will definitely spark your creative energy.

1. Partner with allies.

Marketing partnerships have a number of benefits to push a marketing campaign. For starters, when you collaborate with someone else, you tend to deliver better content. On top of that, marketing partnerships are cheaper to create, see success more quickly, and expose your brand to a new audience.

For example, prior to being acquired by eBay, Half.com worked the town of Halfway, Oregon, to change its name to Half.com in exchange for stock, Internet access, and other giveaways. The tactic gained a lot of attention for the textbook rental company. Another example was when Converse teamed up with Guitar Center to record music entitled “Rubber Tracks.” The content was then used to create a series of YouTube videos that focused on the musicians.

2. Embrace user generated content.

According to a survey of 839 millennials, they spend “5.4 hours a day with content created by their peers. This represents 30 percent of their total media time and is rivaled only by all traditional media types combined (print, radio, and television, at 33 percent).” In the same survey, “Millennials reported that UGC is 20 percent more influential on their purchase decisions than other media.”

You can achieve this by having customers share personal stories (Estee Lauder’s international breast cancer action campaign), exchange ideas (Salesforce’s Idea Exchange), and by giving them the tools to make an ad for you (Nissan’s VersaVid campaign that was shared on Instagram and Vine) or through humor (Doritos Roulette bags).

3. Collaborate with influencers.

Another way to gain a new audience and extend brand awareness is by collaborating with the top influencers in your industry. Home improvement store Lowe’s allowed “top designers and mom bloggers to take over its Instagram account for a few days at a time.” By allowing these influencers to share inspirational content, Lowe’s was able to tap into a new audience.

4. Help customers solve a problem.

As perfectly stated on HubSpot, “You’re in business because you provide solutions.” Some of the ways you can help customers solve a problem is by: creating how-to-content; offering exclusives that make their lives easier; listening/responding to them; or creating apps/tools.

You could also create a campaign like Orca Chevrolet did in Brazil. The company partnered with a local tow company and rescued stranded drivers by arriving in the new Orca. Not only did Chevy save the day, it also gave drivers a chance to test drive the car.

5. Let customers interact.

No matter the product or service you’re offering, your customers want to interact with your company, or at least other customers. AMC, for example, created an online tool that allowed you to Mad Man Yourself. American Express connects small-business owners to each other and helpful resources through its OPEN Forum.

6. Experiment with new channels and platforms.

Don’t hesitate to try out new channels and platforms to promote your brand. As Clare McDermott, editor of Chief Content Officer magazine and owner of SoloPortfolio, points out on the Content Marketing Institute, the Four Seasons introduced the Pin.Pack.Go program on Pinterest. This was an industry-first campaign that allowed guests to co-curate a customer travel itinerary through a Pinterest board.

7. Take a bite out of Apple.

Apple deserves special mention mainly because it’s a brand that has created an entire generation of lifelong advocates. How did they accomplish this? Remember when the iPod was introduced? Apple’s now-iconic strategy involved empathy, focus, and impute when they used silhouettes of people enjoying the iPod. It may not have been the best MP3 player, but it created brand recognition that helped dominate the market.

8. Have some fun.

You probably never heard of Dollar Shave Club until the company released that humorous YouTube video. The company continues to have its way with the shaving industry.  Taco Bell and Old Spice are other examples of companies who are having fun with their marketing campaigns. Even campaigns you wouldn’t expect are getting in on the action.

Caterpillar launched its “Built for It”campaign by having five Cat construction machines playing a giant game of Jenga.

9. Get employees involved.

Let employees be your biggest champions and brand advocates. That’s what happened with Caterpillar’sBuilt for Itcampaign. The videos tapped into the allegiance of the brand, which motivated them to share the videos with friends and family.

10. Be a little weird.

You don’t always have to play it safe. Sometimes you want to think out of the box and get a little weird. For example, to help launch the new radio station FM 96.3 in Glasgow, Scotland, the station placed empty guitar racks throughout the city. The hook? Each rack had a sign that read: “Free Air Guitar. Take One.” It was unique and matched the brand perfectly — who hasn’t played a little air guitar when listening to the radio?

11. Don’t forget about existing customers.

I know it is important to obtain new customers if you want your business to grow. But don’t forget about the customers you already have. As Belle Beth Cooper notes on the Buffer Blog, you could use the “upside-down funnel” approach. This could include making customers feel like they’re part of an exclusive club, giving them something extra, and making them feel like VIPs.

12. Use big data to target customers.

Big data is now helping retailerstarget specific customers. Red Roof Inn uses cancelled flight information to send messages to stranded travelers. A pizza chain uses data to send out coupons to customers who are experiencing bad weather or power outages. In short, big data can be used to predict purchasing trends. With this information, you can get in touch with consumers before they search for your products or services.

13. Venture into the concrete jungle.

You can still do a little offline marketing to create a buzz surrounding your product or service. For example, you could hire an artist to paint a mural (with permission, of course). You could also go the route ofCiti Bike. Having bicyclists riding around with your logo or name is a clever way to grab attention. Another great example was when the Copenhagen Zoo shrink-wrapped city buses so that it appeared that they were squeezed by a giant boa constrictor.

14. Tap into nostalgia.

Entrepreneur shared an interesting discovery from the Journal of Consumer Research.  The study found “that people who were asked to think about the past were willing to pay more for products than those who were asked to think about new or future memories; another experiment showed an increased willingness to give more money to others after recalling a nostalgic event. ” Maybe that’s why brands like Coca-Cola, Calvin Klein, and Internet Explorer have launched campaigns that take Millennials back to the 90s.

15. Tell a cross-media story.

Storytelling is one of the most effective methods in marketing. But how do you modernize it?  Axe’s “Susan Glenn  “is a perfect example of a modern story that was shared across various media platforms. If you don’t recall, Axe tapped into the memories of the girl who got away. Instead of just repacking the content, the story was told differently on different channels. There was also a 60-second film, interactive billboard at Times Square, and unbranded memes.

Final thoughts.

Hitting the wall with your marketing efforts can stall your business and raise frustration levels. You need to be thinking strategically in everything you do and building a strategic culture with your business. What tactics do you use to breathe life into your marketing?

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