‘Think outside the box’ is a phrase that’s been used so often that it’s become a marketing cliché. But when we delve a little deeper into this these words, what they are actually saying is to consider the extraordinary and separate the business from its competitors and the white noise of the marketplace. And that is a sentiment that’s more important today than it’s ever been. As the popularity of marketing content grows and buyers become even more jaded with channels like email and social media, what is there left to do that can help a business stand out from the crowd? The answer is… thinking outside the box.
To overcome buyers’ apathy to the deluge of marketing materials they receive on a daily basis, it’s important to be different, to show them something they’ve never seen before, and ultimately grab their attention. Some of the more defeatist marketers may be thinking that all of the good ideas have already been thought of, but this isn’t the case. Every day, businesses all over the globe are pushing the boundaries of what buyers expect and are reaping the rewards.
Leave nothing to chance
A great example of innovative marketing coupled with gamification was the technique used by a Venetian casino. To promote their venue, they decided to advertise on the luggage carousel at Venice’s Marco Polo Airport. By turning the belt into a huge roulette wheel and allowing the luggage to play the part of the ball, they not only provided visitors with a great game to play during waiting times, they also increased visits to their casino by a whopping 60%.
Very few things build trust in buyers like helping them… for free. This can be achieved through channels like social media and content, but it’s getting harder. Increasing uses of these channels means that standing out from the crowd is more difficult than ever before. So how can you help buyers for free while getting your brand in front of them and showing your thought leadership… think outside the box.
To highlight their ‘smart ideas for smarter cities’ approach, IBM did just that. By installing helpful solutions to typical city inconveniences like lack of seating, no shelters and no ramps on stairs, they were able to show buyers that they fully understand the challenges of modern cities and were therefore able to provide innovative solutions.
Just be different
In some instances, marketers may just want to get the brand noticed in busy marketplace. When this is the case, it’s important to just be different and do something the competitors haven’t thought of yet. A prime example of this from a company called GuacTruck who used a single email address to highlight not only their main contact address but also their website and their Twitter name.
Make sure it pays off though
These innovative ideas are truly memorable and have succeeded in placing the brands well and truly above their competitors. But, did they generate ROI? All marketers should know that if it doesn’t generate ROI then it’s a waste of time. In the examples given above, if the activity didn’t increase business, then these marketing managers just spent a great deal of budget on some rather ‘zany’ ideas - not something the board is likely to let them do twice.
So before embarking on any ‘outside the box’ ideas, be sure to know what metrics you need to measure, how you intend to measure them, and how you can update the activity if it’s not generating the results you need. To find out more about measuring the ROI of your marketing activities…