3 Marketers Who Use Ideas, Not Money, To Build Brands

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I recently attended SMCAMPNY, an event chock full of great speakers and solid marketing tips.

Besides the usual great social media content, my takeaway was this: there is no more powerful tool in the marketers toolkit than imagination. A distinctive marketing idea is our most important (and underused) competitive weapon!  Check out these examples:

1. Word of Mouth Marketing With No Budget:  Saul Colt

Saul might have more creative ideas than most people, but we can learn from his example.  His social media advice:  “create something so fresh and fascinating, people will have no choice but to share it”. For instance:

–       For one company, Saul built a trade show booth that looked like the fruit stand from Arrested Development, and gave out bananas with his company name stickered on it.  Talk about a conversation starter/icebreaker!  Low budget, high impact.

–       In the early days of Zipcar, and with no budget for the X-Mas party, Saul combined barter, dead inventory, and ingenuity to create a Christmas rock concert experience for 300 people in a Toronto Baseball stadium.

–        For another company, Saul created Allstar baseball cards featuring their clients. What better way to turn customers into a passionate sales force for your business?

To do: Brainstorm with your team, and find interesting ways to connect with your customers and get your brand noticed. As Saul says: “Execute on extraordinary experiences everyday”. (Follow Saul Colt on Twitter (@saulcolt) and if you ever have the chance to hear him speak, do it).

2.  Crowdsource:  Carol Roth

Lots of pundits say “create and curate content that is interesting to your customer”, but Carol Roth has turned this approach into a high art form.  If you haven’t read her blog, check it out.  Once a month, Carol crowd sources topics of interest to entrepreneurs, involves her audience, then shares the glory with them. Another great example of keeping the focus on, and connecting with, your customers.

To do: Carol has a new book coming out:  The Entrepreneur Equation. Grab a copy, learn from her.  She has great business advice for the SMB owner who is looking to grow; pithy advice like,”work on your business, not in your business”.  She gained her business credibility the old fashioned way – she earned it. Follow Carol on Twitter (@caroljsroth).

3.  Create visibility with video:  Nuesoft

To get the attention of their industry, and with lots of me-too software services out there, North Carolina medical records IT company Nuesoft did a video parody of Lady Gaga’s “Pokerface”.  Check out their You Tube video here.  Think you can’t be creative with a niche B2B product?  Think again!

To do:  Anyone can use a FlipCam! Instead of the typical company video that is little more than an ad, think about how create videos that are fun, engaging, and helpful for your audience, to attract attention to your company or brand.

Conclusion: Smart marketers use all the available online tools, but really smart marketers take it a step further, creatively engaging customers to build brands. Next time you are budget challenged, consider the power of the original and unexpected idea, to get your business remembered. Your customers will reward you for it!

Know any other good low cost, high impact, imaginative marketing examples? Please share your favorites here!

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About Rhonda Hurwitz

Rhonda Hurwitz is a content strategist and marketing consultant who helps mid-sized businesses develop more effective online strategies. @rhondahurwitz on Twitter, and on Forbes.com: http://blogs.forbes.com/people/rhondahurwitz/
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2 Responses to 3 Marketers Who Use Ideas, Not Money, To Build Brands

  1. Carol Roth says:

    Hi Rhonda
    I am glad that you like the crowdsourcing of content approach. We love our community of contributors and hope more will join.

    • Carol,

      I do like your approach, and the twitter question this week is a perfect example. I hope some of my blog readers check our your blog. They will most certainly benefit from the content, both crowdsourced and otherwise!~ Thanks for commenting.

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