Like all marketers, you are doubtless exploring various marketing strategies to deliver the best bang for your promotional buck. Over the past year and a half, the pandemic changed some marketing strategies, and evolving technology changed others. Still others were once tried-and-true but have since been overlooked. Following are eight of the best marketing strategies for growing your market base that you may not have considered.
1. Virtual Conferences
When COVID-19 struck, the conferences and networking events marketers attended to make contacts and nurture leads in their industry dried up overnight. In-person events are now coming back online sporadically, but high case counts will likely continue to depress attendance. What’s an extroverted marketing rep to do? Go virtual.
With a virtual conference platform, industry movers and shakers can gather in real time despite being dispersed among several locations. Features like breakout rooms, sponsor booths, and networking tables all facilitate interactions with the people you want to meet. Conference planners can get excellent attendance because there are nearly no obstacles to overcome. This is a good example of how current and emerging technologies are greatly enhancing strategic marketing efforts.
2. Continual Target Adjustment
If you want to succeed in the future, you have to aim for where the market is going rather than where it is now. If you aim only for today’s market, by the time your marketing efforts are implemented, you already are missing the target.
Markets and the people that comprise are continually on the move. Savvy marketers must thus aim for where they will be in six months, a year, and even farther into the future. Market research can help to identify current and future consumer trends that your competitors might not recognize. And therein lies your business opportunity. Virtually any demographic is a moving target that requires adjusting your aim to hit that mark dead center.
3. Guerilla Marketing Events
Few things stick in the minds of consumers more than fun surprises. Guerilla marketing is a proven method of targeting a time and place and presenting an unexpected message. The medium could be nearly anything, like the Goodyear blimp suddenly appearing over a packed stadium or a popup giving away items.
The surprise effect of guerilla marketing is what makes it impactful. Depending on your offering, you can initiate a guerilla marketing event that exposes a wide range of people to your particular message. To make the most of this approach, do prior research of planned events and the locales your target audience likes to visit.
4. User-Generated Content
Digital media makes it fast and easy to edit and share compelling content from your user groups. By elevating user-generated content, you can obtain a wide variety of content for free while establishing a deeper connection with your audience. The more relevant and unique the content is, the greater its potential impact on your target market.
When you feature content provided by your users, you strengthen the bond between those users and your brand. This tactic can also help to draw in more consumers who are likely to have an interest in your goods or services.
5. Viral Social Campaigns
Viral marketing refers to the organic nature of communications that occurs among consumers and people with common interests. Social media is a great tool for targeting very specific groups of consumers and generating viral content that could take on a life all its own. A recent GEICO ad featuring old-time rappers Tag Team scooping ice cream while rapping “Scoop, there it is!” is a great example.
The ad’s combination of nostalgia and universal love of ice cream broadens its appeal across many generations. The campaign triggered requests for TV interviews and went viral online as consumers shared the ad’s online links. When you deliver a message in a way that is highly unique and compelling, people talk about it and share it. Follow GEICO’s lead, and you could soon have a viral sensation of your own.
6. Loyalty Programs
While it always is important to increase your market base, you do not want to do so at the expense of your existing customers. You need to maintain your current customer base while adding more to it so that your business can continue to grow. Loyalty programs are a great way to do that. That’s why companies ranging from Delta to Hyatt to Starbucks use them to retain customers.
Many current loyalty programs reward customers with bonus points that accrue over time. As customers become more invested in the programs, they are more likely to continue buying those goods or services. If they are especially happy with both the offerings and the rewards program, they are apt to spread the news to their friends. These individuals in turn could become new customers, who will also want the additional benefits offered by the loyalty program.
Many businesses benefit from sowing goodwill within their local communities as well as virtual communities of like-minded folk. A local philanthropic effort could be as simple as sponsoring a new scoreboard for a community school. You might also support a nearby public hospital in its efforts to obtain life-saving medical equipment.
Further afield, you could make public donations to national or international charities. Philanthropic opportunities abound and can raise consumers’ esteem for your brand while introducing it to more people.
Sponsorships are a good way to get your business’s name out where a lot of people can see it over and over again. That exposure could occur in many ways and make a lasting impact on the people who see it. You could sponsor a community-based organization that needs financial assistance to continue doing good work. Alternatively, you might sponsor a favorite local high school or college athletic team.
Sponsorship does not have to be costly and could produce a strong impact on people in a particular area. Sponsors of old-time TV shows benefited from ideally placed messaging that was often far more impactful than that from a few paid ads. Associating your brand with a beloved team, program, or institution could have a similar result.
The eight marketing strategies outlined here are only a few of the many that marketers might overlook when planning messaging campaigns. Give any or all of them a try to make lasting impressions that will enhance your brand image and grow your customer base.