In the never-ending quest to break out of the crowd and attract customer attention, click-throughs, phone calls, loyalty and what-have-you, a year can make a big difference. The last 12 months have seen evolution in marketing ideas and tactics. Some of the following examples you can put to work now – others are thought-starters that showcase great creativity and innovation.
Big-picture Marketing Ideas:
In a survey of 1900 marketers cited in Marketing Sherpa’s “2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Report,” just over half of them committed their entire team to all marketing responsibilities, inbound and outbound. The others reported splitting up people according to specific tactics or marketing channels. Now’s the time to bring the factions together. As Erin Miller of Gantt Huberman Architects told Sherpa, “there should be a healthy balance within marketing teams to share responsibilities, as well as assigning ‘trusted advisers’ to responsibilities that require more than general knowledge.”
2. Find an inbound marketing agency.
In the olden days (say, five years ago), you could get by with a simple website and a few keywords. But just over the past year you’re looking at Google Authorship, mobile marketing, user experience, new analytics and more automated lead-gen. Give this busywork to a qualified marketing firm so you can concentrate on your core competencies and brainstorm even better marketing ideas.
3. Make content everyone’s job.
Now that your inbound agency is taking some of the heat off, it’s time for a sit-down with your staff to get them more involved in content creation. “Leveraging your colleagues’ expertise and voices on your company blog can allow you to present a greater diversity of perspectives, and a better breadth of information,” notes Yahoo Small Business Advisor. Over the past year, companies have been realizing these benefits, and making content creation part of the job description of their employees. “By requiring their sales team to blog,” notes Yahoo, “ 360 Signage experienced a 700% increase in traffic and 200% increase in leads.”
By requiring their sales team to blog,” notes Yahoo, “ 360 Signage experienced a 700% increase in traffic and 200% increase in leads.”
Over the past year, advancements in local search results from Google and Bing make it not just possible, but possibly profitable, to team up with a complementary business in your area. You can creatively mix the promotions to measure response: One month, a restaurant within steps from a movie theater can offer discounted tickets for a dinner party of two or more. The next month, the movie theater can offer a 10% coupon for the restaurant. Use your social sites and email to promote co-branding efforts.
Be Disloyal Program from Antics Digital Creative Agency (http://your.anticsstudios.com/)
Cool Tactics that Paid Off Last Year:
5. A “disloyalty” program.
When your local business is being bullied by the big chains, take the example of a group of Singapore coffee shops. The shops joined forces to create a “Be Disloyal” card good for a punch at eight participating cafes. After 10 punches, a free drink was provided from the shop that issued the original card.
6. Gender-specific interactive messaging.
Sounds more like sci-fi than marketing, but the children’s charity Plan UK used facial-recognition software (“it guesses right 90% of the time,” says the BBC) at an interactive bus-stop kiosk. Women who approached the kiosk saw one message – a compelling video detailing gender discrimination worldwide – and men saw a less engaging message that consisted mostly of statistics. The point, says Plan UK, was to highlight gender inequality.
7. Letting the customer make the pitch.
“It is a brave company who hands over responsibility for their brand image to the consumer,” says Springwise, “but a Finnish insurance company did just this when they asked 852 of their customers to provide live one-to-one testimonials to potential customers over the telephone.” These conversations boosted the insurer’s credibility by including both positive and negative feedback, “and aimed to give a fair and unbiased assessment of the service offered.”
8. Pitching more than a product.
YouTube has changed the way we see approach marketing ideas – the best messages often don’t focus on just a sales pitch, but tell a story. A 2012 TV commercial cited by TED as an “ad worth spreading” drives home this marketing idea. You follow Annie’s brainstorm from conception to execution, and root for her success. Only at the end is the Dell computer logo shown. “The new work is a lot more compelling and accessible—not to mention a lot less obnoxious—than Apple’s widely panned new advertising,” said Adweek in July 2012.
Asa Shatkin is founder and creative director of Shebang Internet Marketing Group, responsible for the development of inbound marketing focused websites and campaigns.
Previously Asa was designer and creative director for Bluegreen Resorts, Ashford.com and Diamond.com, managing online development, content and marketing.
Asa is a regular blogger for "The Marketing Blog" and contributes articles that focus on effective internet marketing.
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