Monday, August 6, 2012

Marketers Leverage Unexpected Sources into Revenue

As a CMO or marketing manager, you see the consumer is changing and expectations of advertising are changing, as well.  Marketing that was once new and different has become commonplace and expected.  Finding a new way to market to the evolving tastes of the consumer has become more challenging in a market where most consumers believe they have ‘seen it all before’.  To meet that challenge, CMOs and Creative Directors need to tap into assets they may not realize they have.  They need to look outside of the marketing world in order to develop non-traditional marketing strategies.  These non-traditional strategies are those that move the success of the campaign to the consumer.

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In his interview with AdAge, Trevor Guthrie, East Cost director of OMD’s Ignition Factory, talks about deliberately constructing a team of people from places other than advertising and media, looking for those who “who see things differently, who travel around looking for inspiration or ideas”.  His team developed a billboard baseball drop to promote Showtime’s new program “The Franchise”.   As people checked into the show’s billboard through Foursquare, they got a free baseball.  Dropping 3,000 baseballs meant 3,000 check-ins at a single billboard, and each of those check-ins were immediately broadcast to all their friends.  Using this non-traditional media, the Ignition Factory got consumers to start spreading the word to each other through these broadcasts.

Having consumers spread the word themselves is the key to the success of non-traditional advertising.  Most consumers brace themselves against traditional advertising, whereas they are more receptive when the message comes from a friend.  In order to get those consumers to start spreading the message, marketers need to start thinking like the consumers who will eventually deliver their message.  It is because of this that the most effective sources of non-traditional marketing will not come from the marketer’s brain, but rather from the mind of the non-marketer.

Here are a few tips for using non-marketing sources to develop powerful non-traditional marketing:

11.)    Don’t limit who you hire.
Guthrie talks about him being more interested by a potential employee who has studied dolphin brains, than by one with traditional marketing experience.  As the consumers have more control of the market place, companies need employees who don’t think like marketers to reach those consumers.
22.)    Don’t be held back by technology.
As a CMO or Creative director, as soon as you start putting constraints on what can be done with your non-traditional marketing, you will constrain how effective it will be.  Technology is moving so quickly that even if a platform doesn’t exist now, it can probably be built.
13.)    Keep sight of what is relevant 
Stay focused.  Just because it is new doesn’t mean that good non-traditional marketing abandons everything the consumer already knows about your product.  Any marketing, traditional or non-traditional, is not going to work if it doesn’t align with what the consumer thinks of you.

There is a risk in using non-traditional marketing, as it puts the more control in the hands of the consumer.  The evolving consumer makes this risk worth it, however, because they are looking for that control.  The concepts above will help in developing the best possible - revenue generating - non-traditional marketing.

Ryan McGuire has spent five years in media execution and is currently a graduate student in the Northwestern Medill IMC marketing program.  Follow or contact him @RyanIMC  

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