Why waste your time with your one more marketing guide? You already know the basics. And you’ve probably heard the advice a million times; create a mission statement, find your audience, create awesome content and promote. While there’s definitely more to it than that, you get the gist.
What your startup really needs are some innovative marketing ideas that will set you apart from competitors and make customers come to you. That may sound easier said than done, but you’ll be off and running after you go over these 5 unusual marketing ideas for startups.
- Make a Strange Bedfellow
You’ve probably heard that once upon a time M&M’s were offered a starring role in E.T. The offer was turned down, so the film went with Reese’s Pieces instead. While that hiccup didn’t remove M&M’s from grocery store shelves, it did help make Reese’s Pieces an extremely popular candy.
The idea here is that it’s not going to hurt your startup by teaming up with an unexpected partner or place to promote it. It could be something as easy as showing off your product in a video — think Snoop Dogg wearing Tommy Hilfiger in the 90s’ — to delivering beer to fans at the OppiKoppi Festival in South Africa via drones. In either case, you’ll be tapping into a different audience.
2. Be Everywhere
This doesn’t mean just blogging or being active on social media — which you should be doing anyways. It literally means to be everywhere. You want to be that brand that people notice when they’re walking down the streets.Even if they don’t know what your startup does, they’ll recognize your name.
Some examples would be commissioning a mural on building and covering the streets with chalk, paint or displays. You could also make-up bumper stickers and t-shirts and give them to employees or as freebies at events. They may not be the most unusual, but a creative shirt not only lets people have the chance to be different, it will make others want to jump on board — think Zaarly shirts floating around the Bay Area. In short, don’t be invisible. Get your name out there as much as possible.
3. Be a Hero and Save The Day
At some point you’ve read that a business should be donating money or sponsoring a charity. It just makes your startup look good. And while that’s all well and good, you can always take that to the next level by being a hero to your community.
For example, there was a Beer Turnstile campaign in which people could pay for their train ride with empty beer cans following Carnival. However, the cans had to be from Ambev‘s Antarctica Beer who saw a way to spark a recycling program. Another cool example from Brazil was the Rescue Drive campaign. Orca Chevrolet drove around looking for standard motorist and then offered them a free test drive so that they could make it to work, home or wherever they wanted to go. Over in Thailand, billboards were used as shelters for the homeless in the “Other Side” project.
4. Show Some Skin
Well, not literally — unless that’s the kind of attention you’re looking for. We meant metaphorically. This means giving your startup a personality. Think of Dollar Shave Club. The startup launched a beta version in April 2011, but it wasn’t until March 2012 when everyone noticed the razor-blade subscription service. A comical ad featuring co-founder and CEO Michael Durbin took off resulting in 12,000 orders in the first two days and the company’s website crashing within the first hour. The ad was funny, but also introduced people to the company and the man who has a love for shaving at an affordable price.
5. Have Customers Become a Part of the Team
While listening to and engaging your customers are vital tactics in each and every of your marketing campaigns, you really want to raise the bar and make them feel like a part of the team. That’s what the Karl Lagerfeld Store in Amsterdam achieved in 2013.
The store equipped dressing rooms with iPads and a wall-mounted touchscreen and camera. The idea was to have customers share their new looks with social media and email contacts. There were also Instagram-style filters that could be used to create a lookbook. It was fun and engaging and a great way to promote the brand. And it achieved that by making the customers feel like they were a part of something bigger.