Marketing Bootcamp

How 'Micro Marketing' Can Create Macro Results for Your Brand

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Global ad spending is predicted to reach reach $662.73 billion by 2018. Unfortunately, a lot of those dollars will go to waste.

Marketers regularly throw away money on Super Bowl ads, promoted social media posts and bot traffic. The typical spray-and-pray approach is often utilized by brands with multi-million dollar budgets hoping to boost brand awareness and affinity.

Nike, for instance, spends $3 billion a year on what they call “demand creation.” It works but is inefficient. Smart businesses can become household names without a seven-figure marketing budget.

For companies, big and small, that want to maximize opportunity and growth, micro marketing gives you the best bang for your buck.

Snipe targets and tap influencers.

In an age where marketing is no longer limited to TV and radio, and advertising technology offers limitless targeting, mass consumer marketing is plain lazy.

An AdWords campaign without multiple layers of segmentation will cost you dearly. A-list celebrities do not come cheap, either. These days, advertising dollars are best spent on hyper-targeted marketing and social media personalities.

An illustrative example of the latter is Shoes of Prey’s collaboration with Blair Fowler. In a brave, new partnership, Shoes of Prey, a customizable women’s shoes business, tapped Blair Fowler, a 16-year-old beauty video blogger, or "vlogger", to host a giveaway on the style guru’s YouTube channel. The result: a permanent 300 percent uplift in sales. The firm cleverly leveraged the distribution and trust Fowler had with her fans to drive eyeballs and engagement at scale. To-date, the video has received 750,000 views and nearly 30,000 comments.

That was just the beginning. Shortly afterward, Shoes of Prey received global recognition, earning media mentions in The Wall Street Journal, Business Insider and The Courier Mail, among others. The company snowballed that success and recently formed an exclusive partnership with Nordstrom in the U.S.

Related: 10 Ways to Stretch Your Marketing Budget

Saturate a market.

Airbnb, DogVacay and Uber took over cities one at a time and have grown to become titans in their respective industries. Their hyper-local approach to marketing required precision execution and deep market penetration. For Uber, that meant catering to location-specific transportation problems, throwing launch parties targeting influencers and forming strategic local partnerships.

In New York City, brands like Bonobos and Warby Parker became common and predictable fashion statements after focusing adoption efforts on the city’s social elite, including fashionistas and journalists. For New Yorkers, it was a no brainer to get chinos from Bonobos and eyewear from Warby Parker. The media also regularly featured both brands as startups disrupting retail. That was because most journalists already owned Bonobos and Warby Parker gear, or knew friends and colleagues who did. Now, Bonobos boasts 13 guide shops around the country and Warby Parker features 18 locations.

Related: The 8 Fundamentals for a Successful Inbound-Marketing Strategy

Own a niche (or create one).

In 2008, HubSpot was a relatively unknown startup based in Cambridge, MA. The company had recently coined the term “inbound marketing” to describe a new way businesses could market themselves to customers for free. The firm’s message resonated well with small and medium businesses that, normally, could not afford costly methods of traditional advertising and marketing. History credits HubSpot with pioneering the inbound marketing trend and the company has solidified its position by publishing a book, hosting a conference and developing an academy focused on inbound marketing. In this case, HubSpot not only cornered the market around inbound, they built it.

On the other hand, many brands and businesses have been very successful by inserting themselves within preexisting communities. Newegg, for example, regularly participates in the sub-reddit r/buildapc. GoPro and Red Bull encourage and sponsor extreme events and sports. They’ve all developed greater brand affinity because of it. Using content and thought leadership, these companies have reinforced their brand messaging among target audiences. 

By becoming well-known within a small but vocal community, Newegg, GoPro and Red Bull also catch the attention of outsiders looking in. That is because when people ask Redditors where they buy computer hardware and software they answer, “Newegg.com.” When daredevils recommend a camera or energy drink, GoPro and Red Bull instinctively roll off their tongues. 

The (relatively) small investments made towards influencer marketing, hyper-local targeting and niche community engagement can pay rich dividends for brands that know who their core audience is and where they live, digitally and physically.

Related: 3 Influencer Marketing Secrets to Steal in 2015