The Internet has become such a floodgate of information that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out in the world of marketing. Information overload has given both businesses a bit of attention disorder in that there is so much to read and learn that we don’t always know where to start. To add to this mess, buying patterns are ever changing, and just when we think we’ve learned how to connect with consumers, it all changes.
Only the brave survive in a cut-throat world. There are cautious marketers who hold onto their budgets as though they will bleed and whither, and those that take advantage of the opportunity to really shine. To survive, you want to be one of the shiny ones.
Watch trends carefully for golden opportunities
In a down market, the lack of competition opens your roadway. The media does a really good job of injecting fear into the marketplace, both for businesses and consumers. When that dreaded ‘R’ word comes out, business and consumer alike hoard their budgets like they are about to whither and die. Consumers only make those decisions because the businesses they buy from are afraid. Fear leads fear. Optimism leads optimism. Be optimistic and swim upstream. Your customers WILL follow.
A great example of optimism that led to success was when the American auto industry was crashing and needed a bail out from the US government. Ford CEO Alan Mulally understood about the importance of optimism in a time of crisis. “What I have learned is the power of a compelling vision,” he had said. At a time the auto industry was at its tipping point, he made painful decisions to overhaul Ford’s operations, relationships, and ultimately its image in the industry. The automaker adjusted its persona to reconnect with its buyers, listening to the market, and regaining buyer trust. Ford didn’t take any bailout money, but made some smart choices at just the right time.
Take a tangent
In a sea of competition, it can be overwhelming to determine how to stand out. While much of your competition may stick to traditional tactics, magic happens when you step outside of your comfort zone. If your competition is slashing prices, don’t follow suit. Following someone else’s shadow is never a place you want to be as a business. Watch what they are doing, and then send a different message.
As an example, price-slashing is an indicator of desperation, an emotion consumers react to with fear rather than drive to buy. Rather, listen to your consumers. Why are they not moving forward on a purchase? Find a positive solution to help them take that step forward. Ironically, fear of loss can be an enormous driver to buy. If you advertise your prices are dramatically reduced, buyers understand this to be an abundance of product available to them (that no one else wants, either), and there is no rush to buy. However, if you advertise there are only 5 widgets left at this price, the buyer’s fear of loss (of the deal) will drive a rush purchase.
Be Unyieldingly Creative
Consumers love to be entertained. By tapping into their emotions, you are able to show them exactly why you are a great company with whom to do business. When planning your next marketing strategy, consider the problems your buyers face. How do you solve those problems in the most unexpected way?
I use Skittles a lot in my marketing examples because I think they have a very intimate relationship with their buyers. Candy-lovers were looking for something different: not potato chips, not chocolate, but something out of the norm. Skittles uses exactly this as their identity; they are severely out of the norm. Their advertisements are very unexpected, but they are memorable. Their website even knocked our socks off by inventing the first infinitely-scrolling main page in Internet history. And it’s madly engaging. If you ever want to waste 4 hours, visit Skittles.com.
Another wonderful example of creative advertising is Lulu Lemon’s YouTube video, “Sh*t Yogis Say.” Hilariously in touch with their more extreme clientele, the video is an amateurish clip collection of the yogi stereotype. This project would not have required a massive marketing budget to achieve; however, with nearly 3 million views it certainly has found its way around the yoga community and beyond.
I’ve forever loved the European campaign Mini Cooper launched a few years ago, where they took advantage of guerilla marketing to place a number of Christmas gifts throughout city streets. These gifts were fashioned with ripped wrapping paper and ribbon, indicating the Mini Cooper was small enough to fit under any Christmas tree. Genius!
There are many ways to reach your demographic, but the more unique your approach the more likely your campaign will create movement in the marketplace. Don’t be afraid of bad publicity as a result; it just means you’ve made an impact, and awareness is golden.