Marketing always makes the biggest splash when it’s creative and original – and if your last campaign felt a little lacklustre or you’re just fresh out of ideas, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog, we’ll discuss a few different angles you might not have tried yet to help you think outside of the box when it comes to marketing your business.
1. Analyse Your Previous Campaigns
Looking at what you’ve already got is a great place to start! Make a list of all the different marketing campaigns you’ve run over the past year, separating them out by channel if that makes it any easier – e.g. social media, email, print.
Are there any common themes that are definitely working? Or is it time to try a different approach? If your previous campaigns have worked along the same theme, it might be that existing customers aren’t responding to the same messages over and over again. Try and pick a different USP (unique selling point) of your business to focus on next.
2. Look Inside and Outside of Your Industry
It’s always important to look at how your competitors are doing and what they’re doing successfully. There are lots of ideas they’ll have that make you go, ‘Why didn’t we think of that first?’ and that’s fine, since they wouldn’t be competitors if they didn’t have their strengths.
If there’s a technique that all of your competitors use similarly and it works, it might be a good idea to test something similar in your own marketing.
Alternatively, you could go the other way and do the exact opposite to what they’re doing. Yep, this might sound counter-intuitive, but doing something completely unexpected from your industry could be what separates your business as a front-runner.
We’d even recommend going outside of your industry bubble and see how other companies wow their customers. Maybe they use a fun tone of voice as opposed to the expected corporate one used in your industry, or maybe they get more involved with their customer communities by sharing their pictures and building a team of brand advocates.
3. Tell a Story
My favourite time of the year has to be the run-up to Christmas. Not because I know that there are parties and presents in-store, but because the big companies fight for the best TV adverts. And the one thing all the successful ads have? A relatable story that builds an emotional connection with the viewer – be that nostalgia, happiness or even sadness.
Your marketing should always be aligned with your brand story. So, if you’re a small, local independent business, there will always be a focus on the team and your place in the local community. For larger corporate brands, you need to position yourself in a spade that’s relatable to your audience, showing how and why you were founded and what your goal is.
Want some more help with this? Here’s how to write a brand story your customers will fall in love with.
4. Consume Creatively
Ever heard the phrase ‘you are what you eat’? Well, it’s true – and isn’t just narrowed down to what you eat but what you consume in a broader sense of the word. From the books you read to the TV shows you watch in your downtime, even down to whose Instagram account you’re
scrolling through stalking, all connect up to what inspires you creatively.
The more things you consume, the more your experiences and ideas will be influenced by different things. So, next time you decide to pick up your phone, maybe switch to consuming the kinds of content you wish to create.
5. Get Inspiration from Different Team Members
If you and your team are going round in circles, it’s never a bad thing to branch out to different colleagues. Everyone who works for you, whether it’s in sales or customer service will have a vivid idea of what customers like – especially considering they’re all customers of different brands just like you are.
If you’re struggling to see the wood for the trees, why not hold a little group meeting or ask people to leave sticky notes on a wall or comments on a shared Google doc. Not only could this encourage inspiration to strike for your next big idea, but working collaboratively across departments will also help to bring your team together.
6. Don’t Pick the Safest Option
No one ever got anywhere without taking a risk. Take Microsoft, for example. Back in the late 90s/early 2000s, Microsoft were getting nowhere with their mobile devices. So they went in a completely different direction and launched the Xbox gaming console in 2001. Not only did this rival the thus-far-unbeatable PlayStation from Sony, but it became a huge contender that is still classed as a major gaming console today!
So, why not take a risk with your next campaign? After all, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?
7. React to What’s Going on in the World
Want to know the secret to staying relevant and original with your marketing? Well, here it is: be reactive!
Keep an eye on the latest trending topics on social media, anything relevant to your business or your customers in the news and ask customers what they’re interested in. That way, you’re always ahead of the curve.
Taking an adaptive approach was essential for many businesses to stay afloat during the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020, for example, McDonald’s starting a McDelivery service and Morrison’s partnering with Amazon Prime to offer home delivery slots when demand was high.
If you can adapt your business for the times, you’ll always be offering a fresh service or product that’s in demand at the time.
8. Partner with Another Business
Co-branding is a great marketing strategy for getting out of your rut and targeting more customers. The best way to do this is to choose a brand that has the same target audience as you who isn’t also a competitor.
From Cadbury and Kraft combining to make the delicious cheese abomination which is chocolate Philadelphia, to brands partnering to advance technology, like Apple and Mastercard to create Apple Pay – collaboration can often inspire creativity.
Check out what businesses in your local area are up to and see if they’d like to work on a joint project. This could be an event or even a new product launch!
9. Work on Your Personal Creativity Levels
Feel like your creativity has just been zapped out of you? Luckily, there are loads of different exercises you can try to boost your own creativity levels.
Along with the usual advice of taking a break or getting someone else to look over your work, you can also try and find your ‘creative hour’ of the day when you’re most productive and purposely finding different ways to do mundane tasks like brushing your teeth.
Check out our post on how to be more creative at work for more ideas you can fit into your routine easily!
10. Be Inspired by Marketing Experts
Inspirational people are everywhere and it’s hard not to feel more creative after you’ve just watched your favourite marketer present their latest webinar or read their latest post on LinkedIn. Make sure to follow some top marketers who are recognised as experts in their field on various channels, attend their events and talks and follow their blogs. This allows you to learn from others and could open your mind to new marketing possibilities.
TED talks and podcasts are also readily accessible through music streaming services, so be sure to check them out!
And on that note, make sure to keep an eye on our Think Big blog for all the latest business and marketing tips and tricks from our team.