The best marketing—think of the very best you’ve ever seen—has a quality that rises to the level of art, elegantly blending creativity, beauty, and salesmanship. At times like avant-garde artists, at other times like seasoned comedians who know just which buttons to push, the best marketers take big risks to capture the soul of the brand message. Sure, many ideas flop. But the joy of winning keeps them coming back, daring to take yet another risk.
If you’re responsible for your small business’ marketing or if it’s your job to take your brand to the streets and make it stand out, then read on. This round up is here to inspire you, because, if you take only one thing away from here, let it be this: Your weird ideas are better than you might think.
When it comes to outrageous marketing ideas, guerilla marketing offers the most interesting stuff. The concept for guerilla marketing came from Jay Conrad Levinson who described it as a form of advertising that levels the playing field for small businesses. Through interesting, non-traditional, and oftentimes in-your-face tactics, guerilla marketing can produce some of the most memorable campaigns, like an airport Wi-Fi hack, a red slide to replace a subway staircase, or handing out bottles of dirty water on the streets of New York.
For a big budget, mainstream movie, you might not think that Warner Brothers would need to get edgy with the marketing. Well, the film industry has been having a little trouble getting audiences into theaters, to say the least. Big budget films need big time hype to fill seats, which means they have to get creative in their advertising. It turns out, the Brothers Warner had some pretty cool ideas that made for a cohesive rollout. While you may not be launching a movie of your own, it’s worthwhile to consider for your own messaging the cohesive “high-tech storyline” concept they employ.
We’re not going to fault you if you haven’t heard of the Pokemon Go internet sensation. On the other hand, it’s time to pay attention to it.
Most businesses have been able to get away with the assumption that video game territory was for marketing to slackers and/or kids. Not so anymore. Pokemon Go has literally changed the game, sending ripples throughout the marketing universe. Don’t laugh. In the early days of Facebook, many businesses balked, and look where we are now.
Old Spice ran a campaign in 2010 that has reached the status of legendary.
Pushing the limits of personalized, interactive marketing via edgy, comic videos, they seemed to have done everything right. Perhaps their smartest move was this:
“The team uncovered that women were responsible for more than 50 percent of body wash purchases. 'The Man Your Man Could Smell Like' ad was the best articulation of this strategy when it aired in 2010, kicking off the new campaign conceived to speak to both men and women simultaneously—a first.”
Granted, they had a big budget that included a Super Bowl ad; nonetheless, lessons from this campaign abound for small business marketers.
It turns out that not every crazy idea is so good that you should run with it. But how do you know? Before we end this article, it’s worth looking at some big-time flops. It’s important to understand what went wrong so you can balance your decision making. Hindsight is 20/20, so don’t psych yourself out by averting all risk, but it doesn’t hurt to do a gut check and remember your audience is the whole world. So think broadly about how the campaign could be received when it launches.