Traditional advertising is great. The typical ways that you most likely got your business in front of consumers are probably similar to how others have: direct mail campaigns, digital marketing and print media. If you have the cash to do all of that, congratulations. However, for most companies, the idea of expanding their marketing efforts is an idea fraught with financial risk that can sink their business if any of it doesn't generate substantial income.
That's why it's so important to think outside-the-box when trying to decide how to best market your business. While you could just throw a bunch of ideas at the wall to see what sticks, here are a few suggestions that will help to get the ball rolling.
One of the reasons the Viet Cong were so effective in their fight against the US during the Vietnam war was because US troops couldn't see them. They would hide in the shadows, attack for maximum damage, and then retreat before the soldiers knew what hit them. This tactic is called guerrilla warfare and can be utilized for your business too, albeit without the guns and violence.
Guerilla marketing - as it is called in the business world - operates around much the same type of idea: surprise the audience with a publicity stunt that takes everyone by surprise and then leave the scene as quickly as possible. Imagine the possibilities for a construction company in Chicago with the help of an Illinois crane. The idea behind guerrilla marketing is to get as creative as you can with your brand. When you have finished the stunt, upload the clip to YouTube to generate the maximum effect, but make sure it's an experience that everyone will be talking about. The best part about this is that you don't need to do any publicity leading up to it; it's a self-contained event that comes out of nowhere and disappears just as quickly.
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Positioning yourself as an expert in your field is one of the best ways to generate confidence and business in your brand. Not only will people come to you for your advice, but they will also generally buy from you as well since people naturally assume that the company that has valuable advice must also make the best complimentary products.
Display your industry knowledge by holding informative, non-salesy seminars for your target market. For instance, if you sell prescription drugs, hold a workshop for a hospital staff on the latest innovations in healthcare and medicine with a Q&A following. You'll come across as genuinely helpful, and - even though it wasn't technically your aim - probably drum up some business in the process. Another great idea in this space is to write a book.
Charity is a fantastic way to generate good press for your company relatively inexpensively. Instead of spending thousands of dollars telling the world how great you and your brand are, you're doing something nice for others and allowing them to draw their own logical conclusions.
Giving back to the community or a cause can be as cheap or as elaborate as you want. If funds are limited but you still want to make a difference, call up some local teams and sports groups and ask if they're looking for sponsorship. For a nominal fee, you can buy their equipment for the entire year in exchange for your name emblazoned on the back. If you want to take your efforts up a notch, host a charity event in your community for a cause that is relevant: childhood cancer, poverty, education, etc. Make sure it's a cause that you and your business believe in or else it will come off as disingenuous and torch your reputation in the process.
These are just a few ideas you can implement to help drive growth in your own operations, but hopefully, they've got your mind moving a little bit. With a tiny dose of creativity and some faith, you can help your company expand past their metaphorical borders and open up new avenues for future development.