Non-traditional marketing strategies that work

Your Business, August/September 2017

By Amantle Mokubung

It feels like just yesterday when the simple act of brands going digital and social was seen as EVERYTHING – every brand needed to do it, it was the gospel! Consumers have since moved on by taking things a step further. In actual fact, what we experience in our close circles of friends and family is closely linked to what is expected from a good marketing strategy in this day and age.

“No one is allowed to touch their phone while dining”, “hand in your phone at the door”, “I now prefer to make time to see people instead of texting to check up on them”, “I switch my phone off after 6pm because I want to spend more time with family”…sounds familiar, right? This reminds me of actor; Jeff Bridges’ interview on Oprah Masterclass. In the interview, Jeff makes mention of his mother’s “time” ritual with her children. His mother would spend an hour with each of her children, dedicating it to how every child would prefer to spend time with her. Whenever she “did time”, she wouldn’t take any calls or have people visit during the time slot. It was specially for her to spend time bonding with her children.

That’s exactly what is at the heart of what consumers expect of you as a product or service provider. Be more human – have a heart, make time to know your consumers, spend time, hang out with them, have hearty conversations, interact, be interested and engaged.

Tap into cross-industry collaborations

Instead of solely focusing on approaching B2B prospects for them to become your clients, consider other ways in which you could add value to their brand or client base. Invest time in learning about the way in which the company is structured, their mandate and key focus for the financial year during which you plan on approaching them. Imagine a skills training provider collaborating with a tea brand to create a career talks series? They could approach some of their clients and alumni who are thought leaders in their respective industry and invite them for a career chat over tea. Plan your content, create an interview schedule, choose a venue, co-brand it and record the interview (you could even do it on your phone). By simply adopting this, you could end up with a branded talk series that contains audiovisual content worth posting and sharing on all your digital platforms (remember to tag the brand and the interviewee). The tea brand could end up as a supplier to the training institution while the institution could end up with a class full of delegates who form part of the tea brand’s staff for its next Sales course or workshop.

 

Educate through valuable, insightful, visual content.

Stretch the idea of providing content even further. Whatever the industry that you specialise in, choose topical issues to tackle and to share your opinion on. Produce whitepapers, manuals and “how to guides” for specialists in your chosen industry. You could even host free webinars. If you wish to build a database that you can market to continuously while you are at it, consider building forms on which prospects may populate their details for them to have the guides and whitepapers sent to them, or for them to get invited to your webinars. Check out
the free tools that SurveyMonkey and Google have available and start building.

 

Keep it real. Tell authentic stories.

Craft a brand story that will strike the emotional chord with your customers. The simplest way to achieving that is to identify and clearly define (in simple terms), your brand’s purpose and what it strives to achieve. A campaign that I can closely link to this ideology is Standard Bank’s latest campaign – “What’s your next?” It sums up the journeys and milestones that we often achieve with the help of a bank’s service offering. Complement your story with real stills and audiovisual that people can relate to – get rid of stock imagery and create your own (refer to my guide in the April/May issue: Turn your employees into brand ambassadors). Find someone to capture your staff and your client’s “moments” with your brand and use this to tell your authentic story.

 

Support worthy causes that resonate with the core of your business.

Take stock of worthy causes and events that happen in and around your city such as Sisters With Blisters or the Avon annual Walkathon, and adopt those that resonate with your brand as part of your annual calendar. Depending on your budget, you could either choose to sponsor a part of the event or a prize giveaway, or just simply get your staff members tickets for them to participate in the event. Take a group photo of them in high spirits and share it on your social media platforms and company website. This can be worthy of a blog post on your website or a press release on PR sites that you might have already invested in such as a Bizcommunity Press Office.

 

Take your online conversations offline and vice versa.

Social media users capture and post just about everything that happens in their lives. I’m guilty as charged. Hashtags that we spot offline are subtle reminders that we should be putting up a post on our timelines. Take the hashtags that you use on social media to your offline platforms such as your printed marketing collateral and elements in your office environment that include branded tea and coffee paper cups for your visitors, reception areas or hashtag decals on full length office mirrors that visitors and staff use to capture their outfits of the day
without anyone but all their Instagram followers watching.