As a small company it can be difficult to get noticed; on a modest budget, promoting your brand effectively can seem like an uphill struggle. But sometimes, investing in creative marketing that has a real impact can pay major dividends in giving your business the recognition, and subsequent sales, that you were hoping for.
Nolan Braterman, chairman of telecoms business App2Chat, feels that his company has been quite brave with its approach to marketing and where some companies may choose the traditional ‘safe route’ it has decided to shock and intrigue customers with a radical, innovative campaign.
The company’s ‘Death of the desk phone’ campaign was launched at The Business Show in December 2015 with a coffin full of obsolete desk phones, supported with creative marketing material that focused on the macabre death of the much-loved office telephone and the birth of App2Chat as the new solution to modern businesses requirements.
‘This grabbed the attention of the passing public who flocked to our stall in the hundreds during the show and people where quickly talking on social media about our odd, but effective approach,’ Braterman says.
Sticking with this theme, App2Chat spent the early part of 2016 creating graphics and an ongoing e-marketing campaign that focused on the downfall of the desk phone and its replacement by App2Chat.
‘This included content with bespoke images related to death and extinction and taglines that reflected our approach,’ Braterman adds.
If your marketing doesn’t succeed, try, try again
Sometimes more creative marketing may not quite work out for your company first time around. Jane Malyon, founder of the English Cream Tea Company, prepared giant, acre-wide signs for the company’s field during the 2014 Tour de France segment in England. ‘We hoped that helicopters might pick it up when the bikes went near, but we’re not sure it made any difference to our business,’ Malyon says.
However, another creative marketing attempt fared a lot better, with the company achieving a Guinness World Record (GWR) in 2013 for the ‘biggest English Cream Tea party ever’. The company used Facebook and Twitter to attract people to the event, and also invited two charities to get involved to receive all the proceeds. The event was filmed and photographed, and Malyon also managed to get it advertised on BBC Essex.
‘That made (and continues to make) a huge difference,’ Malyon says. ‘For a start it gained us 28 solid pages of Google results even if you just typed in the generic term English Cream Tea!. We had worldwide publicity and it’s proven to be our best tagline ever.’
Malyon continues to use the GWR certificate as marketing collateral. ’It’s like having an Olympic gold medal!’ she says.
Turning to innovative marketing tactics
Andy Barr, managing director of digital agency 10 Yetis Digital has used a few creative marketing tactics, such as strategic banners in high B2B footfall places, getting the brand in front of business people at high net worth sporting events. The company also deployed Snapchat Geofilters to try and target potential employees in areas. ‘All in all, we always try and take a fun and quirky approach to our marketing,’ Barr says.
For the Snapchat example, the company was looking to recruit for its social media team and ideally wanted graduates who had completed a marketing or business management degree. ‘We placed a Snapchat Geofilter over the local university buildings where we knew that people would soon be completing their degree. The more social media savvy students saw the message and got in touch and word soon spread both online and offline about our innovative approach.’
The company had more than 40 high-calibre applicants for the role. ‘As far as we know, no other digital agency has tried this recruitment approach,’ Barr says. ‘When you think that we usually get around 15 really high-calibre potential employees get in touch, to get 40 via our Snapchat campaign is a real success.’
The business is always looking for new and fun ways to attract new business or great talent to come and join the company. ‘We have a very fun environment and ethos within the company and these kinds of fun approaches really work well for us.’
More traditional marketing
While creative marketing can be effective, more traditional forms can work just as well for the right businesses. Rosemary Cunningham runs women’s networking group Winning Women Essex and used banners to advertise a one-day business event this summer.
‘We had three banners in prominent places, including outside the hotel where the event was. It gave visibility to our sponsors and ourselves and in the end, with Facebook adverts and a few posters in local shops, people were telling us they were seeing it everywhere,’ Cunningham says.
‘This is a form of advertising I’ll definitely use again and again.’
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Vistaprint is a sponsor of the Sole Trader of the Year and Micro Business of the Year (2-7 staff) categories at the British Small Business Awards.