So you’ve discovered the next product that’s going to change the world. Fantastic. Now comes the hard part: marketing it.
To separate yourself from the pack and stand out where others don’t, you need to be different, but not too different because there’s a very clear line between "weird" and "acceptable." You need to create value, but not unsolicited value (otherwise you risk offending your customers).
A stellar product or service is only part of the battle. The rest is communicating its awesomeness throughout every corner of the earth (or industry). Equally important to what you market is how you market, and I'm not talking about the standard marketing practices that reside at the surface, but something rather unconventional that makes you stick out.
Here are five unconventional marketing tactics to boost your brand:
1. Shock factor.
Write something outlandish as a guest contributor -- something that will create buzz and entertain readers. Dollar Shave Club, an online service that is crushing the razor-blade business by mailing razor blades to you, includes “bathroom minutes” with each order for comedy and, well, something to read while you’re … well, never mind.
2. Create the unexpected.
In the book Made to Stick, the authors cite an Israeli research team who assembled roughly 200 award-winning ads and found that the majority of the ads (89 percent) could be categorized into six templates. The interesting part was that most of these templates related to the phenomenon of unexpectedness -- a powerful marketing tool that the CIA uses extremely well. Nobody knows just how things work on the inside, so their marketing solicits the adventurous types who are willing to find out.
3. Create an insurgency.
Embed yourself amongst the populace by going to conferences or tradeshows. These target-rich environments offer unadulterated access to industry experts, leaders, insiders and -- most importantly -- press.
4. Limit your resources.
While boundaries may seem limiting, they can also be inspiring. Southwest Airlines, for example, managed to stay afloat amongst superpowers by offering a unique flying experience at a low cost, and its success has been attributed to limited resources. With the airline’s mission of being the number-one low-cost air carrier, employees operate with a “bare bones” mentality, which leaves one thing that’s always available for free: attitude. By limiting its resources, Southwest forces its employees to look for alternative ways to thrive and have fun.
5. Trial by fire.
At the end of the day, you just won’t know the best marketing tool until you try one. To get a taste of what’s out there, here are a few resources:
- Think email marketing is dead? Think again. According to Direct Marketing Association, email marketing is responsible for 66 percent of consumer sales. GetResponse offers not just email-marketing campaigns, but also analytics, landing-page creation, and every sort of form builder you can imagine.
- Need to increase your marketing reach? Semalt optimizes your website’s SEO by not only suggesting but also tracking keywords based on your business offering. The best part about it is you can input any website you want and glean the website performance of your competition.
- If gathering new ideas is on your marketing to-do list, check out Feedly. Here you can subscribe to industry blogs, news sites and RSS feeds to help stay informed -- and ahead -- of the competition.
- One of the biggest challenges of sticky marketing is identifying customer needs relative to product/service supply. Consumer Barometer lets you make better business decisions by providing insight into online customer behavior, buying trends and the cues that prompt them to act.
No matter what method of unconventionality you choose, marketing is only as good as the effort you put in. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again -- and then keep trying.