Gone are the days of “traditional” marketing and advertising strategies. Sharing campaigns across radio, TV, and print has become nearly obsolete–and there is no guessing as to why. We live in a digital world, and it’s a crowded one. With social platforms and search rankings becoming ever more competitive, it is critical for marketers and advertisers alike to find alternative avenues to reach consumers and stand out from the crowd. Cue the birth of “alternative marketing”. By definition, these strategies stray from traditional practices in hopes of cutting through the noise to help businesses reach their desired consumer base.
There are many creative ways to reach consumers, so let’s lay a foundation for what alternative marketing is and how it can help your business.
Alternative Marketing: By The Textbook
If you plug in “alternative marketing” into Google, you find many underwhelming definitions of buzz, guerrilla, lifestyle, experimental, and product marketing. These 5 terms live happily under the umbrella of alternative marketing, but what do they mean? There are countless ways to approach and subsequently implement these practices.
Here is a breakdown of the practices along with two implementation strategies for buzz and product marketing.
Buzz marketing focuses on getting customers to pass along your company's information without you telling them to do so. This word-of-mouth tactic can be incredibly successful if;
- Your product or service is unique, new, or better than your competitors
- Your brand stands out from the crowd
- You have memorable and intriguing advertising
- You give opportunities for consumers to be involved with your brand
Up next to bat is guerrilla marketing, a practice which focuses on taking the consumer by surprise in hopes to make a dramatic, lasting impression about the product or brand being advertised. Think street art, publicity stunts, or viral videos. Social media is a great place to give guerilla marketing a try!
Lifestyle marketing involves making contact with customers in a setting they are likely to enjoy. Take Red Bull for example. They are often found at extreme sporting events because, well, A.) they are likely sponsoring the event, and B.) their target audience is extreme sport-going people (hence, why they are sponsoring the event).
Having your brand and products offered at events that your target audience is likely to be at and enjoy is a perfect way to implement lifestyle marketing. In addition, you have the potential of meeting new customers at these places who likely share the same hobbies or interests as your current target audience. An all-around score.
Experiential marketing is an entire channel of marketing that involves face-to-face as well as offline efforts to raise brand awareness. It helps create and nurture business opportunities as well as develop long-term customer loyalty (something all of us marketers are after). This strategy is about adjusting while you go, making small changes in your directive to reach and eventually capture your target audience, with the goal of turning them into a lifelong consumer.
Experiential marketing, in many ways, is like inbound marketing. Nurturing consumers with relevant content to help move them through the buyer's journey while slightly tweaking the information provided to them until they are ready to commit to your product or service.
Product placement involves inserting your brand or product into some type of media. Ultimately, you want your brand to show up on your audience’s news feeds, tv shows, podcasts, what have you, without them realizing you are directly advertising to them.
Think about all the times you have watched a movie where the characters use an Apple iPhone. While getting your product immersed in Hollywood may be a stretch, that does not mean utilizing product placement as a whole should be written off. Social media and video can be a great avenue to implement product placement.
How To IMPLEMENT ALTERNATIVE MARKETING AND STAND OUT
The Power of Podcasting
Having a podcast is one way to implement buzz marketing. Podcasts are an excellent content avenue to establish your business as an authority and thought leader within your industry. According to Infinite Dial, 63% of all Americans have listened to a podcast at some point in their lives.
50% of monthly U.S. podcast listeners are aged between 12-34, 43% between 35 and 54 years old, and 22% are aged over 55. Based on education and employment statistics, it can be concluded that these regular podcast listeners have the power to make purchasing decisions and are interested in finding products that will make their daily life easier. Sounds like a pretty good market to tap into, huh?
Your “industry exclusive” podcast could be a super way of reaching the ideal decision maker. On top of the potential to increase brand awareness and build an audience, podcasting has also been cited by many as one of their top revenue streams and lead sources for their business. This radio alternative just became much more alluring.
Video production marketing via video has exploded in our digital world. Done right, a great video can help you develop a strong connection with potential customers that can lead to more website traffic, increased engagement, and conversions. Thanks to the pandemic, video usage and hours spent watching videos per week has greatly increased. Don’t believe us? Check out these graphics pulled from wyzowl’s report on Video Marketing Trends in 2022.
Clearly, there is a positive trend between video usage and hours watched per week. In 2021, it was reported that videos had a reach of 92% among internet users worldwide. Considering how many internet users there are per year (not to mention, per week, day, and hour…), producing content that is hosted online is an absolute must, with video being an added bonus.
Whether it's intended to create a buzz, place your product strategically in a viral-worthy video, or geared toward any of the other forms of alternative marketing, video needs to be at the heart of your marketing strategy. Producing videos in house doesn’t make sense for many (if not most businesses) because getting into video production can cost a pretty penny. Between investing in quality equipment, such as a camera and microphone (using a smartphone is not a viable option for high-quality production), as well as editing software or hiring a producer, the barrier of gathering the tools to practice this marketing tactic is high. Save yourself the time (and the money) and consider partnering with an agency that specializes in video production.
MARKETING FOR SUCCESS
Alternative marketing practices have the potential to generate new web leads, conversions, sales, loyal consumers, and hey, maybe even friends. Having an understanding of your target audience and the means at which to grab their attention is critical regardless of the platform/avenue you choose to market them on.
With your newfound knowledge of alternative marketing practices, go forth and make good marketing happen! If you find yourself needing a bit more guidance, grab some time with one of our agency’s marketing pros.