You know what they say: everything that’s old eventually becomes new again.
And that’s exactly the trend that’s creeping up in the marketing world this year. Don’t let this thought shock you too much, because these ideas have been revamped and are better than ever. With the amount of success these marketing strategies are producing, it’s clear that revisiting the tried and true every once and a while is completely worth it.
Of course, there are a deluge of other new and innovative ideas that haven’t been recycled (yet), and you’ll want to know each and every one of them to stay competitive this year.
Creative marketing ideas you need to know
Whether you’re looking to step-up your product marketing strategy, or you’re struggling to find something that will actually work long term for your business, these sixteen marketing experts have provided plenty of winning ideas to choose from, so you’re guaranteed to find something that fits your needs.
1. Messenger marketing replaces email marketing
“Messenger marketing has been hailed as an antidote to email fatigue, and several brands are already using it to their advantage. At Airy, we've helped retailers like Marmot launch highly-effective messaging campaigns to promote sales and seasonal promotions. The campaign boasted open rates of 85%! Marmot shifted their entire yearly advertising budget to focus on Facebook Ads and Messenger marketing campaigns because of this immense success.”
- Mason Mitchel, Communications and Content Marketing Manager, Airy
2. Next level influencer marketing
“We’ve decided to take influencer marketing to the next level. In 2019 we launched The Creator Tour, providing social media entrepreneurs and social creatives the chance to explore the globe, create compelling content and meet other like-minded creators.
The 2019 Creator Tour will give up-and-coming influencers an international travel experience and a chance to grow their voice without being limited by algorithms, budget or resources - all in a collaborative, adventure-spirited environment. These creators have something valuable to say, and we want them to reach their full potential. We've chosen to invest back into our users and the overall social creator community. We want to discover new talent, help them develop as individuals and creatives and empower them to share their story with their audience. This gives influencers more control over their career path while showcasing exceptional creators, places, and experiences around the world.”
“Build in social entrepreneurship features so that every sale of your product or service makes someone's life better. My favorite examples are the various companies profitably selling solar-powered LED lamps to replace toxic, flammable, and expensive kerosene in developing countries. You should partner with others who can spread your message much farther and faster than you can alone (and this costs nothing except commissions). Then, purchase and distribute a high-quality story-behind-the-story press release and distribute to traditional media. Use public appearances (which can take many forms, from speeches to product demos) effectively.”
“Some of my best marketing has been accidental: cool photos. Half a year ago I accidentally got into photography. I love walking around Tokyo at night, and I found a Japanese Facebook group dedicated to night photography. I started posting some photos in the group, trained up on Lightroom, upgraded my gear (just a bit) and then changed my Instagram approach from tips about writing and social marketing to just posting my photos. It’s getting me copywriting work.
So even though I’m not a pro photographer, I found I can add value to my writing with photography. It opened up a whole new avenue when I was just trying to get copywriting clients. So the lesson is that social media, if you match the content and platform, can yield clients even if you're not promoting your main service or product.”
5. Utilize opinion leaders for guerrilla marketing efforts
“Guerrilla advertising is so underutilized in the industry! Creating a great piece of guerrilla marketing can be a tricky task, but when it’s done right it gets so much publicity that it basically promotes itself. In this world where social media is at our fingertips, the people that see your marketing attempts will take a picture and post it to all of their social media accounts. This is free marketing! It's called two-step-flow, and by utilizing the opinion leaders and their power over the groups they associate themselves with, you can get great coverage and reach a larger target audience.”
“We are a marketing team of six for a large orthopedic group. One of the most creative campaigns we've done in the last year is used clean graffiti to create what we call: ‘The Free Workout’. We use environmentally-friendly 'stenciling' and 'graffiti' to etch a workout onto the sidewalk in neighborhoods across town where we have offices.
For example, it might go for a block or two and you'll see etched into the sidewalk 10 burpees, 20 jumping jacks, 60-second planks, and more as you progress along the sidewalk. The goal of ‘The Free Workout’ is to make fitness fun and accessible and free to everyone, while promoting our business and what we stand for."
- Logan Kureczka, Director of Public Relations & Marketing, OrthoCarolina
7. Create spectacles and encourage participation
“I am hesitant to call this new, but the timing for experiences has never been stronger as people are craving missions over products. We create events and spectacles that people immerse themselves in and most importantly from a marketing standpoint, share!
An example of this is our work with Syntasa, a machine learning company. We built an 8 foot by 5-foot server wall that was a reimagining of the board game Operation. If you came to their booth at the largest marketing automation trade show this past April, you would be given a chance to grab your data from inside the wall, but you had to be careful because if the ironically large tweezers touch the metal border the whole wall would vibrate, light up and an air raid siren would go off.
People loved this, came back over and over to try it, took lots of pictures, but most importantly, people stopped at the booth, got the information and the company booked new projects with new clients.”
8. Grow your business by supporting other businesses
“Instead of dumping thousands of dollars into Facebook ads, we give a $5,000 business grant! My company The Mama Ladder helps mom entrepreneurs grow their business. We partnered with Belly Bandit to co-host the High Five Grant for Moms, a semi-annual $5,000 business grant competition. It's a really powerful way to give back, change lives, and market our brand by building a community with our ideal customers.
Our results were incredible! We've had 400+ applications from nine countries and more than 30,000 votes from the public, which is a big part of our marketing strategy. Applicants take an average of 2.5 hours to complete their application, so this was a huge deal. We've also had a ton of PR and media exposure, including more than 300 media outlets covering the grant in the first year--and we're just getting started!”
TIP: Another great way to support other businesses is by building each other up and providing feedback for one another. This not only provides you both with insight for your brands, but can also help foster a relationship for the future.
9. Humanize your marketing approach
“With digitalization, marketing professionals often get caught up in the newest ways to hit their target audience with content and completely forget about the importance of relationship building. Well, I'm kicking it old school - which in and of itself seems quite innovative in comparison to the mainstream marketing tactics being used.
What's really showing a true effect is humanizing our marketing approach. If marketing professionals are not humanizing relationships with the list of prospects they've built, they're not properly qualifying, nor engaging with their audience. Taking the time to build meaningful relationships with prospects allows us to use our lead generation data, rather than having it sit stagnant, only identifying who opened our emails and not doing anything with it. We specifically touch base on LinkedIn in or through a personal email to people who engage with us (open our emails), or that we've identified as a potential prospect and this has such a deeper impact to our sales funnel.”
“This one is a classic marketing idea with a 2019 twist. Digital billboard campaigns. It might sound like a suggestion from the pre-internet era, but recent changes in technology make it so you can put a nationwide campaign up overnight and switch it out frequently. We put up witty billboard ads that are consistent with other marketing efforts we are doing and run them in markets we are targeting. People always seem to notice when we do creative or funny billboards and it helps people recognize us at events or in our other online ads.”
“We began moving forward with video marketing, and I believe this is an area that all companies need to be moving toward. We did a lot of research on video ads versus image ads, and we found that consumers are engaging much more with videos than images. Consumers are sick of seeing the same bland static images, and their eyes now gravitate much more effectively to anything moving.
We also did research on what types of video ads people will actually watch and retain, and we found that videos that tell a story in some way engage consumers the most. Whether they are funny, emotional, inspiring, etc, consumers like to relate and connect to what they are watching.”
“Even though so much of marketing is digital, I make it a point to go analog when possible. Marketing is about building relationships, and it's hard to build a relationship via Instagram. Pick up the phone and call people - don't text them. Set up in-person meetings - not video calls. Attend events, conferences, and trade shows, but don't spam people on LinkedIn. These are not new ideas, but they are very impactful - and they are still the #1 driver of new business for my agency.”
“Memes are an excellent way to create viral marketing, or at least draw attention to your content. They don't need to be an obvious advertisement either. In fact, the more subtle you are about it the better. You can use them to point out how sensible your service is or how inefficient your competitors are. You should avoid directly using your brand name, just feature them on your content and share on social media to draw in readers. You can always use a meme generator or hire a professional if this isn't exactly your specialty.”
“One fantastic idea that we have seen that not only catches people off guard but also drives more action is getting hyper-local with your campaigns. One example of this is running a series of YouTube ads with custom introductions centered on local geographies.
Getting granular with your messaging will give you a better chance to connect with your core audience faster - simply because you seem more local than the competition and more personal.”
15. Increase response rate with Facebook Messenger bots
“Some of the newer strategies we have been using for our clients have heavily involved Facebook Messenger bots. Messenger bots have allowed us to see 6-8 times the response rate to email. One of the most recent case studies we have is with a supplement company that we have grown over 300% in the last 5 months using Facebook ads and messenger.
What was unique about this is that we did not drive traffic to a website straight from the ads. We send people directly to the messenger bot because we are able to actually have a conversation with someone first. We have over an 80% opt-in rate when asking for an email, and the return on adspend is out of this world.
Messenger allows you to have more authentic conversations with people instead of just sending them the same emails that they have been getting from everyone else. Also, the open rates are 90%+ and click-through rates are about 60% to 70% in some cases.”
TIP: Has brand marketing piqued your interest? Learn what skills and work experience are necessary for a career as a brand manager.
16. Utilize blatantly obvious methods
“The one channel that has 100% open rates is packaging. Everyone opens their package when it's delivered to them, so it's a perfect opportunity to funnel people into other marketing channels.
One of the most successful campaigns I've ever run has been including a sticker on packages that reads something like “WAIT! Before you open this, text (Insert Company Name) to ***** for a surprise. Using messaging like this spikes curiosity, and everyone texts the number. This gets people onto your text message marketing list, which has the second highest open rates next to your packaging.
You then can use this to up-sell and cross-sell your current customers onto other products at a close to 100% open rate. It's a much more effective strategy than relying on email. I have seen this work wonders for e-commerce to increase customer lifetime value.”
What are you waiting for? Start using these ideas to enhance your marketing strategy for this year and beyond! You’ll be shocked to see how well the old-age marketing strategies have transformed into innovative and winning campaigns that will actually work for your business.
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Hannah is a former content marketing associate at G2. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in Journalism. In her free time, Hannah enjoys running with her dog, Teddy, traveling to new and exciting places, and capturing the beautiful places she travels to with her DSLR camera. (she/her/hers)