Marketing Bootcamp

5 Innovative Ideas for Engaging Your Fickle Audience

5 Innovative Ideas for Engaging Your Fickle Audience
Image credit: Tim O'Brien | Flickr
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As a marketer, it’s easy to fall into a creative slump from time to time and just go with the status quo. But in this day and age, current trends dictate what gets seen, talked about, and shared. Only the newest, most creative approaches to marketing prevail.

Take a look at these fresh ideas for implementing innovative marketing techniques into your company’s strategy.

1. Utilizing the newest technology as marketing channels.

Technology is always changing, and the newest gizmos and gadgets offer unprecedented ways to create new marketing opportunities. For example, 3D printing is one medium for advertising like never before. Last holiday season, UNIQLO launched the Selfless Selfie Project, which allowed customers to 3D-print tiny figurines of themselves wearing UNIQLO clothing and share how they dedicate themselves towards improving their communities. This brilliant campaign not only engaged consumers with its products but also provided UNIQLO with an ingenious way to boost its brand image and unite its community through compelling storytelling.

In addition to 3D printing, Mark Schaefer, consultant and marketing guru, predicts that wearable technology will be marketing’s next new frontier. With a few more updates to be made and bugs to fix, wearables like Google Glass and Oculus Rift have the potential to provide marketers with novel opportunities to create and disseminate quality content like never before.

Linda Boff, executive director of GE enthused, “We’re fascinated by the limitlessness of [virtual reality] and began creating content for Oculus Rift this year. It’s a great storytelling platform, particularly for GE, because it gives us another incredible way to show how our big machines perform in extreme conditions.”

Indeed, wearables may soon provide marketers with new ways to present information and immerse users in their products.

Related: 3 Digital Marketing Channels That Work for Every Advertiser

2. Collaborating with influential content creators across platforms.

If you are an avid podcast listener like I am, then you know that after 15 minutes of any given podcast, you are pretty much guaranteed to run into ads by Audible, Squarespace, and a handful of others (or, if you listened to Serial, then all you got was MailChimp). The great thing about advertising via podcast is that most people will not fast forward through the ads, and podcast ads are the epitome of native ads.

Podcasts aren’t the only way to collaborate with content creators and promote products. Brands have also started partnering with popular personalities on YouTube. For example, MeUndies partnered with prominent YouTubers Tyler Oakley and Hannah Hart, LootCrate teamed up with gaming channels like Pewdiepie and Smosh Games, and Aeropostale now has a line by beauty and fashion vlogger Bethany Mota.

Working with popular content creators has allowed brands to reach large yet niche audiences that may not have exposure to the brand otherwise. As Joe Lazauskas, editor-In-chief of Contently said, “Want to reach millennials? Create high-impact content with YouTube creators. It’s the biggest and most obvious opportunity brands aren’t taking advantage of.”

Related: How We Drove 10K Unique Visitors to a New Product in a Month

3. Focusing on video.

Speaking of YouTube, digital ad spend is on the rise according to a study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau. Marketers and advertisers are flocking to video as the newest way to increase engagement and gain influence.

According to Tom Malesic, president and CEO of marketing company EZSolution, “Consumers are more likely to purchase after seeing a video than if there was no video at all. In addition, it shows that you are personal with your customers, that you care about your products and services, and are there if they have any questions.” Lowe’s and GoPro do great jobs of integrating video with their overall marketing strategy.

4. Weaving a captivating story.

According to the Harvard Business Review, storytelling is one of the most irresistible and powerful marketing tools your business should have in its arsenal. While an oft-used technique, hearing or seeing a great story actually taps into the brain’s oxytocin system, resulting in the audience being more able to remember, recall, and act based on the information presented in the story.

As author Harrison Monarth writes, “Data can persuade people, but it doesn’t inspire them to act; to do that, you need to wrap your vision in a story that fires the imagination and stirs the soul.” For inspiration on how to incorporate fascinating narratives into your company’s content, check out Microsoft’s page of profiles, which highlights members of the company’s staff and their life stories.

5. Engaging your audience with information.

Creating inventive visual content isn’t the only method you can employ to engage with your audience. Making customer service part of your marketing strategy is a great way to get to know your fans and answer their questions. McDonald’s Canada did just that with its “Our Food, Your Questions” campaign. McDonald’s invited its followers from all around the world to ask it questions via Twitter and Facebook, and the company ended up answering over 10,000 questions! McDonald’s made sure to be as transparent as possible with its responses, which increased consumer trust and loyalty and allowed for the brand to better understand the needs and concerns of its community.

By inundating your supporters with knowledge and creating a two-way communication stream, you can make more of a connection with those that love your brand, who will then become your best evangelists.

Related: 5 Captivating Marketing Campaigns and What Every 'Startup CMO' Should Know