The Problem with Traditional Marketing
By: Samantha Wong
Nobody likes being sold to. Everyone hates being given brochures at malls, receiving impromptu calls from telemarketers, and not being able to skip video advertisements on YouTube.
“We’re not like most brands”
Brands that resign to the familiar comfort of traditional marketing will eventually fade into the background and be forgotten. So if people are used to seeing thousands of advertisements on a daily basis, what are the chances a single brand will stand out?
Peep Laja, the founder of the marketing training program CXL Institute, notes that many companies fall into the trap of ‘sameness’, making their brands indistinguishable from others.
‘Sameness’ is the combined effect of multiple brands being too similar in their product or service offers, indistinct in their branding and communication, and ending up saying the exact same things.
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Laja explains further that a majority of brands often “use vanilla language. Their products and services are pretty much like any other company. You can just replace one company easily with another, and their marketing messages are near identical to that of their competition.”
Surprise! Guerilla marketing!
Finding the right message is only half the battle. The other is finding the best way to communicate it. There’s no point in having the ultimate punchline if you flop on the delivery.
Marketing is a battlefield, and those who choose the best tactics usually come out on top. One plan of attack in particular usually stirs up a lot of drama, requires a lot of strategizing, and invites plenty of risks. It’s high-risk and high reward, which makes for the best of stories: The ambush.
Guerilla marketing refers to promoting one’s brand using surprise tactics to obtain maximum exposure and engagement. This is usually done by finding unconventional platforms, locations, or strategies to advertise a certain product or service.
People often expect advertisements while watching TV or reading a magazine. But when people stumble upon guerilla marketing going up the stairs or walking down the street, you’re bound to take them by surprise. It catches people off-guard, inciting organic reactions and genuine emotions.
And it doesn’t end at the shock factor. Brands that use guerilla marketing strategies have the potential to linger in people’s minds long after the campaign.
Marketing needs more troublemakers
Troublemakers and risk-takers always made for great stories. Even in history, those who challenged the status quo and redefined norms were always remembered. No one was ever singled out for being just like everyone else.
Nothing is gained from doing the same thing over and over again. There are no rules in guerilla marketing, as long as it’s done in good taste.
There’s a reason why narratives that hinge on creativity tend to last.
There is no problem that creativity cannot solve, that’s why brands need to find crafty ways to promote themselves. Founder and designer director at Mellor & Smith Paul Mellor even recommends that creativity should inform marketing tactics, not the other way around. Creativity first, and everything else second.
Every brand is trying to position itself in the minds of its customers. Give customers a reason to choose you.
No one ever made history by being ordinary.
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