Strengthening Campaigns by Engaging Subcultures

LaTanya Williams


September 15, 2017 (Updated: January 23, 2024)

Consumers are Changing

With the onslaught of new age marketing techniques from digital marketing to mobile marketing, the idea of developing a strong campaign that truly engages the desired audience can be a bit mind boggling. There are traditional mediums, keywords, buzz words, and tons of new social media platforms to explore.

One researcher may strongly recommend using a modern resource, while another extols an opposing view. In addition, consumer needs can change like the weather. An effective way to build strategic campaigns is to consider subcultures as a primary focus or as an integral part of multifaceted initiatives.

Beyond Demographics

Although demographics are valuable, some campaigns may benefit from more personalized efforts to address individual needs. In today’s market, it is beneficial for campaigners to consider the ever-evolving consumer landscape and build campaigns that reach consumers with interest in their distinctive products or services.  This is important because as communities continually change, marketers might approach consumers with varying incomes, households, and motivations using traditional tactics.

Building marketing plans that include subcultural engagement is a sure way to reach consumers with shared values.  The most challenging part may be figuring out where to begin. Subcultures are the nooks and crannies of culture so they may not often be positioned within the pages of popular magazines.

From wildly bizarre to professional networking organizations, they are widely dispersed, yet well defined. List 25 recognized groups like homesteaders, gamers, motorcycle clubs, and survivalists. There is a reason why marketers are now turning to video games to engage customers.  The video game industry is surpassing economic growth and subcultures may have something to do with this.

Discovering Shared Values

There are countless organizations, clubs, and groups around the world providing opportunities for marketers to present useful solutions at eye level. These partnerships allow marketers and brands to bypass the discovery process required to understand shared value. When two brands align with similar goals they can focus on the presentation to make sure that the right customers find what they’re looking for.

Many subcultures reach beyond localities and connect globally. For example, some professional associations offer local, regional, and national platforms. Many others host annual events, conferences, and meetings.  By interacting with subcultures, marketers can closely relate to the needs, wants, and desires of members. Valve showed this when they launched a video game called Portal 2™ in 2011. They placed a teaser video within the original Portal™ game to garner interest among gaming fans.

Word of Mouth Marketing Matters

Also, those who are active within these groups are usually more personally connected. They may communicate often or participate in other activities together. Marketers can rely on word of mouth to further impact campaign success. If one gamer shows excitement over new teaser videos or the next release he or she is likely to tell a friend. That friend may also tell someone or post a message on a gaming site. The rest is history. News spreads quickly and businesses can rely on these conversations to introduce new products within subcultures.

The company Valve used multiple marketing methods to get the word out about their new release. Likewise, businesses can easily integrate subcultural connections with other methods. For example, a gaming company may place an advertisement on a channel with programming for young adults, in addition to the teaser video. It is easy to unify these methods with other marketing strategies.

Laser Focused

Marketers can use two or three marketing resources at once, or consider zeroing in on targeted audiences. They might consider developing a social media campaign that is solely directed towards gamers. As opposed to considering age groups and geogrpahy, this campaign can more broadly interact with gamers everywhere.  There are plenty of directions to take when exploring subcultures.

The benefit is that businesses can maximize their marketing budget by serving established groups.  Organizations surrounding subcultures may have already conducted market research to determine demographics. They may be accustomed to developing campaigns that cater to these audiences. Marketers can work with subcultural organizations to reduce costs and share resources.

Good for Consumers

This will create more satisfied consumers as well. Imagine how disappointed a gamer would be to experience a non-related advertisement. Communicating through established networks adds more value to the customers. The gamers will appreciate updates that meet their interests and marketers will reach an audience excited to see new products or services.

Subcultural engagement gives marketers a unique opportunity to build campaigns with personal appeal.  Consumers are likely to feel more connected if products and services address their specific needs. Brands can also build long term consumer relationships, while improving loyalty and customer retention.

Connecting to the Customer

Valve is most certainly a brand has gained from the growing network of worldwide gamers. According the Forbes, the company is valued at over $3 billion dollars.  Portal 2™ was highly successful and the co-founder is one of the wealthiest human beings in the entire world. Even millennials are considered subcultures who take action after experiencing campaigns that nurture their authentic needs.

Demographics are still very useful, but marketers can use additional characteristics to learn about consumers today. As customers experience lifestyle changes and personal growth, they are likely to form new values. They may even be likely to leave one subculture behind to connect with another. As opposed to chasing consumers throughout these varying lifecycles, marketers can more efficiently link with subcultures.

Worth It

The benefits to marketers are numerous. They can more easily identify shared ideas and interests. They can benefit from unified groups that are well established, as opposed to reinventing the wheel. There might also be opportunity for cost savings along the way. With strategic alliances, businesses can split marketing costs or align with business missions for optimal delivery.

Most importantly, consumers can benefit from campaigns that realize the wants and needs of their subculture. When tactically planned, companies can avoid the lack of interest that often accompanies the presentation of unwarranted brands and be met with enthusiasm. This creates mutually beneficial marketing results that maximize financial resources.

Author Image - LaTanya Williams
LaTanya Williams

Published copywriter, social media marketing manager, and creative content developer. Brain behind the So Healthy and Well Blog.

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