Marketing is considered an art by many individuals because it requires keen insight in how to approach a product, service, or brand, and how to effectively deliver those things to customers. As one of the main forms of communication within commerce, marketing has both evolved radically with the advent of computers, but some principles remain the same. Cutting-edge ways to market a brand or product will either leverage a new insight or technology or reformat a classical view in marketing to the 21st century economy. Overall, in today’s economy, businesses demand marketers think beyond the everyday ad and try to think outside the box for ad campaigns.
What Consumers and Businesses Want
Marketing techniques have evolved to work beyond the everyday concept of an ad presenting a good, service, or brand and telling the consumer or business what it is. Consumers and businesses, in an ever-competitive marketplace that has been energized by the internet, no longer wants ads that just tell them something. They want something that many ads have lost over time: engagement. Consumers and businesses want to be engaged to how the good, service, or product relates to the customer or how the product will benefit them. This has led to a new school of thought or appreciation toward the customer where companies want the consumer to become part of the greater whole of the business’ mission.
How This Changes Marketing Campaigns
This emphasis on engagement is helping many businesses stand out from the onslaught of advertisements that can plague consumers daily. Instead of plain information, engaged ad campaigns stimulate a consumer’s interest in the brand or product. One example of this could be education. Many advertisers have begun to understand that providing helpful information to customers builds trust between the customer and the brand and, ultimately, makes the customer a repeat consumer. Sales and negotiation training have become common place in corporate training regimens to help marketers and strategists understand how to engage customers and make them come back.
This can be illustrated with a company that provides a specialized service, like a lawn care company, which curates a blog that offers useful tips and information about upkeep for a healthy lawn. One might think giving away such information would mean the business loses a customer. However, by giving free information to consumers, customers will be able to see the passion and authoritative attitude of the company toward this particular service. The customer will then always reach out to this business for its free information and will typically utilize the services the company offers to its paying customers.
Free information is not the only marketing strategy a company can use for their marketing. Sometimes free products, like samples or products with the brand name, like a pen engraved with the company logo, are good ways to maintain name recognition.
What is most interesting about this new emphasis is that avenues to grab the attention of consumers has not changed. What has changed is how a company goes about investing in their marketing strategies. In other words, classic marketing strategies are still necessary; they just need to be done properly.
One classic marketing strategy is the use of mailing lists. These lists are an accumulation of names and addresses of potential customers for a product or service. Classically, companies would have some data on potential customers and mail out advertisements to those potential customers. In theory, the mailing advertisement could attract the person to become a customer. However, the direct approach of these campaigns often made people either uncomfortable or tired of facing large amounts of junk mail. In today’s economy, however, some direct mail techniques can work effectively. The trick, again, is to think outside the box and invest in very creative, engaging advertising.
One popular example came from the furniture company IKEA in 2010. The direct mail campaign sent IKEA catalogs to potential customers. However, the catalogs included 3D, postcard pop-ups that could formed into tiny furniture, like a paper table. This helps associate the direct mailing with the unique selling point of IKEA: furniture that is easy to put together by the consumer.
Conclusion: Think Outside The Box
Advertising campaigns like mail campaigns need to be new, fresh, and innovative for customers in order to grab their attention. Without something engaging, the advertisement, in whatever form, will be seen as dull or junk. Marketing to customers in a way that can amaze them from an innovative way of communicating to them or provides them useful information that is both educational and makes them want more can work.