Content Marketing

Innovative Marketing: What It Is and Methods To Try

CopyPress

Published: September 9, 2021 (Updated: June 17, 2022)

What do you think of when you hear the word “innovation?” What about the word marketing? Do you ever think of them in the same context? Innovation is creating new ideas that positively affect society. Marketing is communicating information about a product or service to a target audience to increase sales and revenue. When you bring the two concepts together, you get a new discipline called innovative marketing. We’re exploring this exciting promotional area for your agency or business with topics like:

What Is Innovative Marketing?

Innovative marketing is a strategy that helps you promote your products and services in new ways. The goal is to break away from traditional marketing practices and be unique. This type of marketing is popular because the field changes constantly. Conventional techniques like TV ads or hard-sell pitches don’t always work—or work well alone—when they’re up against newer methods and technology. Brands use innovative marketing to convince their own teams and their target audiences that a product or service has value.

When you’re brainstorming a campaign, innovative marketing helps you identify new opportunities for your clients or your brand. Research what the target audience wants to see by looking at market studies, trends, and client behavior. CopyPress has a tool to help. Request your free content analysis report today. This document shows how your content compares with that of your top three competitors. It also includes a list of content gaps that help you see what your audience is looking for online and fuel your brainstorming sessions.

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Why Do Agencies and Brands Use Innovative Marketing?

Agencies and brands rely on innovative marketing to explore new market niches. Let’s say you’re an agency working with a client in the hospitality field. This hotel just invented a brand new check-in system that makes it simpler and easier for guests to get in and out of their rooms without having to wait in line at the front desk. But the system is so new and reliant on technology that it might actually intimidate more customers than it intrigues. How are you going to market that?

Traditional methods probably won’t cut it. This is a situation where it’s time to get innovative. And it’s time to do your research before landing on the right campaign. Your team may have to A/B test several promotional methods with focus groups before settling on a campaign strategy. Putting in this time and effort to try something new helps increase conversions and profit, especially in highly saturated industries like hospitality. When you follow the same procedures as everyone else, then what are you doing to stand out and make a name for your brand? Spoiler alert: the answer is nothing.

4 Types of Innovative Marketing Strategies

In marketing, strategies are the overall plans you use to reach your business goals. In innovative marketing, here are four unconventional or less traditional strategies to help you wow your audience, attract more qualified leads, and raise your revenue:

1. Cause Marketing

A cause marketing strategy helps associate your brand with a social issue. For example, the pop culture store BoxLunch uses this strategy throughout its entire business model. The store partners with Feeding America to donate meals to the organization for every $10 a customer spends in-store or online. At checkout, customers have the option to round up their total to the next dollar and donate that extra change towards buying more meals.

Though cause marketing is becoming more popular, especially with startup brands, it’s still an innovative strategy. No two cause marketing campaigns are exactly alike, even if two companies champion the same issues. Implementing this kind of strategy shows that your brand is socially aware. It also helps the target audience see that your company is more than just a greedy money-making machine with one thing on its mind. Let your values shine through and attract more people to your brand with your heart, and get them to stay for your products and services.

Related: 14 Cause Marketing Examples To Inspire Your Next Campaign

2. Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing is all about making individualized connections with your audience. This strategy works to make customer experiences more personalized. Offering rewards and creating incentive programs to acknowledge loyal customers are two examples. Apps like Crowdmouth use this type of marketing to their advantage. It lets creators like YouTubers and musicians connect with followers in a new way. Fans advertise for the creators on social media, earn points, and cash them in for exclusive merchandise or prizes. These include things like personalized video messages or autographed products.

Relationship marketing is all about making your target audience feel special and connected to your brand. When you do it right, you’re not just a company. Your sales team and representatives are people they want to talk to. They get a good feeling when they think about doing business with your brand. These emotional connections aren’t just good for initial sales, but also for client loyalty over time.

Related: How To Find and Build a Relationship With Your Target Audience

3. Scarcity Marketing

Scarcity marketing makes the audience think there’s a limited-time offer on your products or services. That doesn’t have to be true. Some companies use scarcity marketing to play on the illusion of limited time when it’s not a threat at all. But this strategy encourages the fear of missing out (FOMO) mentality in the target audience. The concept isn’t new, but it’s heightened in the age of social media. Why? Because brands, influencers, and regular people alike all post their highlight reels on social media. They show off their best qualities, their shiniest new toys, and anything that makes it look like their situation is better than it is.

When your audience thinks something is exclusive, they feel the pressure to act now. Otherwise, they may lose the chance forever. Things like capsule clothing collections, limited edition vinyl records, and holiday service sales fall in this category. Some incentive programs fit these criteria, too. For example, Kohl’s offers Kohl’s Cash rewards for a limited time. Customers earn $10 in rewards for every $50 spent. But they have to use them within a certain purchase window or they expire. Most people don’t want to let that “free money” go to waste. They return to the store more frequently, make more purchases, and often end up spending more than just the $10 Kohl’s Cash earned on the previous visit.

4. Undercover Marketing

Undercover or steal marketing is a way to advertise so the audience doesn’t know you’re selling them something. Or, at the very least, they don’t know you’re trying to sell them something until you drop the sales pitch on them. This is a common strategy for community partner events. For example, a local wealth management company may sponsor an art class for seniors. But when the attendees show up, they have to sit through an hour-long presentation from the wealth management company about reverse mortgages before the class starts.

This strategy doesn’t always have to be that tricky or underhanded. Sometimes undercover marketing works as a subtle sales pitch. We see this often with product placement in other media. In season three of the TNT drama Rizzoli and Isles, the show has a variety of product placements from Blue Moon beer, Dr. Scholl’s shoe inserts, and new cars. Aspiring influencers and other social media celebrities may also use this type of marketing to get sponsored by brands they already use. They show off and recommend products in unsponsored videos, hoping to encourage their followers to purchase. If they generate enough sales for the company, they hope to get a sponsorship deal with them.

Innovative Marketing Techniques To Use Within Strategies

Tablet on white background, hands clicking social media icons on the screen to show innovative marketing

Image via Unsplash by @nordwood

Marketing strategies help your company reach its goals. But marketing tactics are the building blocks that help you get there. You use them within strategies to execute your larger plan. Innovative marketing techniques help you increase your visibility and brand awareness. Even traditional marketing techniques become innovative with the right upgrades. In your next strategy, try techniques like:

Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Have you ever given a friend a recommendation about where to get their oil changed in your town? What about suggesting a specific brand of pasta sauce to enhance a dinner dish? Have you ever left an online review or feedback for a product or service you used? All of these are examples of word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing. In the digital space, WOM takes place through shares, forwards, ratings, and reviews. But how do you encourage your audience to do this kind of thing?

The most obvious is by developing great products and services. When people encounter high quality, they can’t help but brag about them to others. Creating unique customer experiences that are so cool, different, or helpful also encourages chatter. Finally, creating well-written shareable content for your brand is another way. Though these pieces may not directly promote your products and services, they do encourage brand recognition. The more people talk about your company, the more likely others are to explore on their own.

CopyPress helps you create that enticing content primed for your blog, website, or social feeds. No matter the industry, we know what to say to get your audience talking. Don’t believe us? Try it for yourself. Schedule your no-hassle introductory call with our strategy team today.

Customer Retention

Even when you’re working hard to attract new customers, you can’t forget about the old ones. According to Outbound Engine, acquiring a new customer costs up to five times more than trying to hold on to an existing one. Find balance in attracting new clients when you need them and prioritizing those individualized relationships with your current ones. Customer retention slots right into the relationship marketing strategy. Providing good customer service and offering incentives are great ways to keep people coming back for your products and services. It also helps to keep promises you make to customers and to be transparent with your business practices, like your contracts or return policies.

Geographical Expansion

Thanks to the internet, you can have a business in Pittsburgh and clients in California without ever meeting face-to-face. Pretty crazy, isn’t it? But thanks to the internet and more apps, software, and platforms that help people stay in constant connection, it’s a reality. Your company doesn’t have to stay within geographical or even industry borders to get new business. Consider looking for new markets with high demand and low competition that relate to your current brand offerings. Think of how places like Blockbuster used to rent movies and video games but also sell snacks and movie posters. Those were completely different product offerings, but they tied together and allowed the company to make profits in different areas.

Expanding beyond your traditional industry borders may allow you to try new ventures with lower competition and lower setup costs. Those with high demand help you see quick returns. Geographic expansion also refers to marketing on new channels or in new locations. Consider taking your business global and offering services around the world. CopyPress helps with your content creation for these ventures. Our international content services provide unique content natively in over 42 languages for your next market audience.

Brand Repositioning

Sometimes being innovative means rethinking your entire brand. Conducting a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis shows the successful areas of your brand and which ones to improve. It also tells you where you have a competitive edge over other companies. These present opportunities to capitalize and win that segment of the market. Use the data from your SWOT analysis to determine if it’s a good idea to launch a brand overhaul. If you find you have more areas of improvement and a list of capitalization opportunities, the time might be right to rebrand. This innovative strategy may increase satisfaction for current customers and help you attract new ones.

For example, Victoria’s Secret recently did a brand overhaul. The company no longer embraces just the “angel” aesthetic of thin models. It changed its branding to be more inclusive to more women. New ambassadors like LGBTQ+ soccer star Megan Rapinoe, actress and businesswoman Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and plus-size model Paloma Elsesser represent a wider range of customers.

Related: How To Rebrand Your Business Without Affecting SEO

Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing uses unconventional or surprise campaigns to promote a product or service. It relies on personal interaction to get the best results. Brands with smaller budgets or teams use this technique to spread their messages. Look at what Taco Bell did on April Fool’s Day in 1996 to promote its brand. The company bought full-page ads in seven major newspapers and claimed to now own the Liberty Bell. The new name would be the “Taco Liberty Bell.” The reason for the purchase? Paying off the country’s national debt. The entire thing was a hoax, but the campaign alarmed the public. But Taco Bell didn’t care, everyone was talking about the brand, and likely also had a strange, unexplained craving for Mexican food.

Real-World Examples of Innovative Marketing

Companies engage in innovative marketing strategies every day. Some examples of brands that use them successfully include:

L’Oréal

L’Oréal got innovative with the creation of its Makeup Genius app. The program brings the experience of the department store makeup counter to your smartphone. Features include a digital makeover, which allows the user to test different makeup shades and colors without putting real products on their face. The app helped increase purchases because customers didn’t have to waste money on products they might not like. They already knew what to expect after using the tool.

The Makeup Genius app is an example of a geographical expansion tactic. It takes the department store makeup experience and moves it to the digital world, a place it hasn’t been before. Makeup Genius is also a form of customer retention. Loyal L’Oréal customers may return to the app, again and again, to try new shades or products before purchase.

Netflix

The Netflix you know today wasn’t always the same company. It went through a rebranding over the course of its existence. The company launched in 1997, mailing physical DVDs to people’s homes around the world. In 2008, Netflix partnered with Starz to bring a “watch instantly” feature to subscribers. By 2011, its business model split into two different company divisions: DVD subscriptions and streaming plans. The company then rebranded as a streaming service. For those who love their physical DVDs, you can still get them mailed to your house through its DVD.com division, but the feature isn’t as popular anymore.

Besides its rebranding, Netflix also engaged in geographical expansion by capitalizing on streaming before it became popular. The streaming side of the company focuses on customer retention by compiling individual user data to customize streaming suggestions and feeds and produce relevant original programming. It also prioritized keeping those DVD lovers by developing and maintaining the DVD.com division of the company.

IKEA

IKEA started in 1943 as a mail-order sales company. Today, it’s grown into a corporation that spans 52 countries. It’s been able to stay relevant for so long thanks to innovative marketing. In 2013, the company launched the Catalog app, which gives people access to the entire store inventory. It also includes an augmented reality feature that lets people see how pieces look in their own homes before purchase. The company doesn’t just innovate with outward channels either. It provides innovation in stores too. On-site, IKEA has free babysitting and play areas for children, in-store restaurants, and family membership plans.

Innovation marketing goes beyond just having a new idea. It considers how you plan to put that idea into action in a way that gains significant attention. Using these strategies helps your brand try something unconventional to get more people to take notice and eventually want to be a part of the action as a client or customer.

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