A UK ad agency is paying students to advertise on their foreheads. Audi stole an A3 from a Manhattan dealership and recorded this on video – which quickly turned into a viral campaign as it spread across Facebook, Twitter, and hundreds of blogs and news sites. These are examples of what is known as ‘non-traditional marketing’.
In a world where consumers are exposed to a constant and ever-increasing stream of marketing messages, you sometimes have to do something different in order to get the necessary exposure for your brand. Steve at WebUrbanist posted a great article going over a few interesting marketing tactics that have been done in the past. The guys over at CreativeGuerillaMarketing.com also put up an article going over 122 different non-traditional marketing examples.
What is it?
So what exactly is non-traditional marketing? Non-traditional marketing is marketing that is unusual or some way unexpected either because of the way it is executed or because of the environment in which it takes place. It can sometimes be deliberately controversial too. Causing people to talk about your brand isn’t a bad thing. Bringing a controversial topic to the table often causes it to explode. People with one point of view want to bring their friends into the discussion to support their view, and the same goes for the opposing view. Now you have a whole group of people talking about your brand. Whether they like it or not – they will remember your brand name.
It is also known as ambient, experiential, stunt or guerilla marketing and is becoming increasingly popular as traditional media’s share of people’s attention spirals downwards.
The goal of non-traditional marketing is to get the prospect’s attention either by appearing where it is least expected or by using an unusual method of delivery.
Give me some examples
Temporary tattoos on student foreheads. Cheeky hand-written notes with a phone number left under car windshield wipers directing callers to a web site, Chalked body outlines on sidewalks. Novelty inflatables in unusual places. Live store-window displays. Vehicle wrapping.
In perhaps the most famous example, FHM magazine projected an 80ft image of a naked female celebrity onto the exterior of the British Houses of Parliament, gaining huge coverage in both press and broadcast media around the world.
Why do it?
The obvious reason is to get your brand, product or service noticed by your target audience. Another reason is to obtain PR coverage; the more unusual or controversial the marketing activity the more coverage it is likely to receive.
Is it right for my business?
It depends on the type of business, its image and the target market you are seeking to reach, but potentially any company could use non-traditional marketing. However, you need to consider how to best integrate it with the rest of your marketing activities.
In addition, remember that there is a thin line between controversy and damaging your brand.
Does it have to be controversial to succeed?
No, it does not. A carefully targeted and executed non-traditional marketing campaign can be very effective without being controversial if it reaches its target audience and attracts their attention. Your goal may just be to get your product or service talked about from one person to another rather than to achieve front-page headlines in the local press.
How do I do it?
Not every idea that you and your marketing agency dream up is going to be feasible. An idea may be outside your budget or not technically possible. It could also be illegal or there may be insurance issues.
One thing is certain; the campaign will need to be well planned and project-managed if it is to succeed. Do not do it half-heartedly.
What does it cost?
The cost of a campaign is determined by the activity you choose and your available budget. No two campaigns will be the same. If it results in press coverage, you could get a lot of exposure for comparatively little money but there are no guarantees.
Is it measurable?
Yes, in most cases, it is, but it depends on the campaign. Clearly, if you are directing prospects to a web site for example you will be able to measure success and ultimately the return on investment more easily.
If your campaign attracts the interest of the press, you can measure the amount of press coverage your campaign receives calculate the equivalent worth in advertising rates.
If you want to grab people by the eyeballs, stir up controversy or reach prospects who you have been unable to reach using traditional media, then you should consider adding a little non-traditional marketing to your marketing plan.
Who knows what it could do for your business?