Chris Kille is the CEO of Payment Pilot and Elevate Outsourcing, operating out of Charlotte, NC.
Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or a marketing maverick, you might be ready to ditch cookie-cutter marketing strategies and experiment with a few unconventional tactics. I want to share some of the marketing maneuvers that worked wonders for my startup. Through these strategies, you can say “goodbye” to the mundane and predictable and unleash your creative side.
1. Aim to create highly shareable content.
Let’s start with a bang: the power of viral content. While cat videos and dancing babies might dominate much of the internet, your startup can tap into that addictive quality by creating videos that have the perfect blend of humor, quirkiness and relatability, all while showcasing your product’s unique features. When my startup unleashed such a video, it spread quickly across social media. The key here is that you can’t be afraid to take risks, push boundaries and create content that people can’t help but share.
A few tips to keep in mind.
1. Stir emotions. Make your audience laugh, cry or feel inspired. In my experience, emotional content gets shared.
2. Be one-of-a-kind. Dare to be unique and unleash your brand’s personality.
3. Stand out from the crowd. There are no guarantees, but being bold and authentic can help boost your viral potential.
2. Partner with micro-influencers.
Move aside traditional celebrity endorsements—I believe it’s time to embrace the era of influencers and their mighty effect on the masses. But here’s the catch: Consider taking a detour from the traditional path and teaming up with micro-influencers who have a passionate and devoted following within your target audience instead.
This is the approach my company took, and by sending these influencers free samples and engaging them in an authentic way, we gained exposure to a highly engaged niche audience. Encourage these influencers to share their honest reviews and experiences, as this can build trust and credibility for your brand. Remember, it’s all about quality over quantity when it comes to influence.
3. Consider guerrilla marketing, and prepare for impact.
What’s stopping you from surprising the world? Enter the realm of guerrilla marketing. This unconventional tactic is all about catching your audience off guard and leaving them in awe. In my startup’s case, we orchestrated a flash mob in the heart of a bustling shopping center. Our dancers, dressed as our product mascots, unleashed an explosion of energy that captivated the crowd and left them clamoring for more. The results were foot traffic surges, social media buzz and increased sales.
To succeed in guerrilla marketing, you must be bold and unconventional. Align your efforts with your brand and target audience. Think outside the box. Break free from traditional strategies. Embrace creativity, and surprise your audience for a lasting impact.
4. Turn customers into players through gamification.
Who says marketing has to be a monotonous affair? Consider turning the tables and transforming your customers into active players in your brand’s story through gamification. In my company’s case, we developed a mobile app that rewarded users with points, exclusive discounts and a sense of accomplishment for completing tasks related to our product. Suddenly, our customers were eagerly competing, unlocking achievements and sharing their progress with their friends. I’ve found this approach can not only deepen customer engagement but also inject a thrilling element of competition into your marketing strategy.
To get started, identify key actions or behaviors you want to encourage. Then, create a points-based system or challenges that reward customers for completing those actions. Inject fun and friendly competition to keep them engaged. Get creative with leaderboards, badges and exclusive rewards. Level up your marketing game.
5. Tap into the power of experiential marketing.
I believe experiential marketing is the key to leaving a lasting impression and forging profound connections with your audience. Instead of relying solely on virtual campaigns, my startup organized a series of pop-up events. We created immersive experiences where potential customers could interact with our product in person, which helped spark their curiosity and left them hungry for more.
Imagine this: a beautifully designed pop-up store that showcases your product’s features and transports customers to a different world. To make this a success, craft an environment that engages all their senses, from captivating visuals to enticing aromas and live demonstrations. In doing so, customers can not only see and touch your product but also experience it firsthand. This hands-on approach creates a personal connection between the brand and customers and leaves them with a memorable experience to share.
Do not underestimate the immense power of social media when holding these events as well. By creating Instagram-worthy moments within your pop-up events, you can encourage attendees to capture and share their experiences online.
The ripple effect my team saw was astounding as we observed a wave of user-generated content flood the digital sphere. The power of experiential marketing is that it can dispel the clutter and create an emotional bond with your audience that I believe no digital ad can replicate.
In the realm of unconventional marketing tactics, the possibilities are endless. Think outside the box, and let creativity run wild. Marketing evolves; standing out demands being daring and breaking free. Embrace the unconventional, be fearless and watch your startup thrive.
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