The idea behind marketing is that it’s easier to sell products and services if you first go out in public and tell a story about them. And history has indeed proven that businesses that promote themselves always come out ahead of those that don’t.
But what happens if every business starts using marketing in an attempt to gain a competitive advantage? We get the situation that we are currently in. Marketing is now a battlefield where companies are constantly trying to outdo each other in order to win the hearts (and wallets) of consumers.
There are two ways businesses tend to approach this battle. One is to use established marketing tactics and hope you will be rewarded with a slice of the proverbial pie for your devotion to the mainstream. The other way involves going against the grain and using novel tactics in order to capitalize on your competitors’ complacency.
This second way is the one we will be talking about in this article. Our goal is to bring you up to speed on a number of alternative marketing approaches that you can use to come out ahead on in the struggle for market dominance.
Billboards and Banner Stands
Images tend to make a stronger impression when we see them in real life compared to seeing them on a screen. And you can leverage this psychological fact for marketing by promoting your brand through billboards, banners, and stands. The main advantage of billboards is the fact that you can’t really avoid them – everyone has to go out on the street at one point or another and a billboard is just around the corner.
A banner stand is like a miniature billboard – it offers many of the same advantages in a cheap, portable package. These two modes of advertising will automatically set you apart from competitors that rely solely on digital means to promote their business.
Once email became the de facto standard of long-distance communication, businesses started shying away from regular mail due to its limitations in terms of speed. In recent times, however, traditional mail started experiencing a resurgence in popularity. Marketing experts have discovered that direct mail is particularly effective for running creative, personalized, and highly targeted promotional campaigns.
Not only is regular mail more convenient to read for most consumers, but it can also exert substantial psychological influence. Studies have shown that brand recall is way higher for regular mail compared to other marketing methods, particularly email. The benefits of traditional mail marketing include faster response rates, increased sales, and longer-lasting brand awareness.
Brochures and Flyers
Traditional stores, street stalls, and malls are still the biggest hubs of consumer activity in the present day. If you wish to advertise at these locations (and you should), leaflets, brochures, flyers, and other forms of small print can be very useful. Brochures and fliers remain the most widely used method to notify consumers about discounts and special offers. What makes these items effective as a marketing tool is the face-to-face interaction.
Receiving an item in person is more likely to elicit an emotional response than an email or a digital ad. And since buying decisions are based on emotion more than reason, distributing brochures and flyers can be a powerful marketing strategy, and one of your competitors are not likely to be using.
Traditional Media Ads
The internet is the most powerful, wide-reaching media platform of today, but it is not the only game in town. Traditional media outlets such as newspapers, radio, and television are still widely used by consumers, and a lot of modern businesses tend to forget this. One way to capitalize on this situation is to run ads on these platforms.
If the idea of forcing people to sit through ads on TV doesn’t sound particularly consumer-friendly to you, remember that the volume of ads delivered through traditional media is minuscule compared to that of digital marketing. Seeing an ad on TV is now a quaint, down to earth experience, and consumers are more likely to respond to it in a positive way.
One of the best ways to generate a buzz for your business is spreading the word in person. And events are perfect venues for this sort of marketing. Having people that share similar interests gathered in a single place makes it much easier to disseminate any sort of message, including those that promote your business.
In addition to speaking to consumers and handing out advertising material, events are great for networking with professionals from your business niche. So take the time to visit local business gatherings, trade shows, and community events, and start telling people why they should give your services a try.
One of the most notable side effects of the rising popularity of digital marketing is trend-chasing behavior. Whenever there is a major digital marketing success story, businesses of all sizes will attempt to replicate its success by doing the exact same thing. Unfortunately, this kind of strategy rarely works in practice – if you are doing the same thing as everyone else, you are not likely to profit much.
A more effective way to do marketing is to think outside the box and utilize strategies that your competitors haven’t caught on to. And in a world dominated by digital marketing, this can be as simple as going back to traditional marketing methods, like the ones we have outlined above. Give them a try, and start siphoning customers from your rivals while they are busy checking KPIs online.
Michael Deane is one of the editors of Qeedle, a small business magazine. When not blogging (or working), he can usually be spotted on the track, doing his laps, or with his nose deep in the latest John Grisham.