The world of marketing is always changing. While business goals may stay the same — to reach a target audience and inspire them to become customers — the ways we communicate have changed thanks to more data, digital tools, and varying customer perspectives. The need for innovative marketing ideas is vital for any business seeking significant growth. To stay relevant, you need creative marketing strategies that go beyond traditional practices. Getting creative means you can engage your audiences in new and exciting ways, whether with your content, approach, or channel.
Sometimes the only way to boost those engagement numbers is to get some new, innovative marketing ideas. Go back to the drawing table and start thinking outside the box. Not sure where to start? Here are 18 unique marketing strategies to give your campaigns a boost, and then a few tips for coming up with your own ideas.
1. Start a Podcast
Nearly 118 million Americans listen to podcasts regularly, and this format continues to be popular with younger generations. Consider adding a podcast to your content lineup. Base it around a theme that you know you’ll never run out of content about. Your episodes don’t have to be lengthy, and you can get guests from the industry to come in and talk to you. Podcasts help you build a strong online presence and engage audiences in new and exciting ways.
2. Host Fun Webinars
Webinars don’t have to be hard to plan or daunting to host. They can be a 30-minute guide for your audience about how to do a specific task or use a product. They have great promotion power and can help you get the word out about a new campaign. You can engage other companies or industry experts to give their opinions, too. Make webinars fun and interactive by allowing space for questions or taking a poll that will get the conversation started. These webinars can then live on your website forever so people can learn from them again and again.
3. Create Special Hashtags for a Promotion
Hashtags are super effective at engaging an audience on social media. When you start a new campaign or promotion, create a unique hashtag and use it on every related post. Encourage followers to post something and use the hashtag. You can also get in on already common tags, such as #throwbackthursday, to show up on wider Instagram searches. Hashtags are great ways for new people to find you and to interact with your pool of followers. It also leads to user-generated content that extends the reach of your brand.
4. Get Out the Sidewalk Chalk
A fun way to catch people’s attention is to get out on the sidewalks with chalk. It feels a bit more personal and allows you to get creative in a new way. People won’t be expecting it, so it will be a nice surprise. Ask a simple question and answer as people are walking forward. Include your social tags where people can learn more about you if they’re inspired.
5. Start a Social Media Contest
Contests can open the door for lots more opportunities to connect. You simply post about the contest on your social media channels. Include how people can enter for a chance to win and what the winner will receive. An excellent example is T-Mobile's recent contest — the company announced that five winners will be drawn to win $5,000 to celebrate five years of #TMobileTuesdays. This is a smart digital marketing tactic because, of course, people want to win money. It also promotes their ongoing campaigns and hashtags.
6. Create a Photo or Video Contest
Another awesome contest idea is incorporating photos and videos. Encourage followers to post a selfie or a dance reel with your product and include the contest hashtag. People who post with the hashtag are automatically entered into the contest. This also works for promotions, where people can post and get a discount, for example.
7. Use More Infographics
Infographics show data and key points in a visually appealing and readable format. These automatically make your content more interesting. You don’t need expensive software to make these graphics. Use Microsoft Office tools, like Word or PowerPoint, to do them. You can also use a free tool like Canva to make better images using premade templates. Keep things fairly simple so you’re not overloading people with too much data at once.
8. Post Year-End Roundups
Catch the attention of your audiences with year-end roundups. In December, yearly, people love to talk about their favorites of the year — so you can make this an annual effort. An example would be something like, “[brand name]’s 10 favorite buzzwords from 2021.” These are great to incorporate into graphics and post on social media, your blog, and they even work as email campaigns. They get people talking and thinking about their favorites from the year. Post something related to your industry and audience, of course.
9. Write an eBook
Business owners and marketers may think they don’t have the skills necessary to write a whole ebook. But, if you have lots of blog posts related to one topic, you already have one. It’s fast and easy to combine past evergreen content into a cohesive book. You can use this same strategy for other types of content as well, such as a downloadable guide. Just add some images and graphics, create a table of contents, and come up with a great title.
10. Write a White Paper
Similarly, white papers are longer guides about something. You can use the content in your promotions by gating them so people will provide their information to download the guide. Quality white papers show that you are an expert in your field and have something unique to add to industry conversations. Make sure you work with a writer or an editor who will check for errors and ensure that you’re only putting out well-written content.
11. Design a Meme
Memes make people laugh and are very sharable on social media. Think of ways you can incorporate a little humor. Use an online meme generator and include an image and some text. The design doesn’t have to be perfect. Get ideas from your marketing team and browse the millions and millions of memes out there already for inspiration.
12. Start a Customer Loyalty Program
Customer loyalty programs, or rewards initiatives, engage customers with gamification. This tactic gives them points that eventually lead to a reward, like a free drink or a discount on a purchase. Rewards programs create loyal customers and help boost sales. Customers in paid loyalty programs are 59% more likely to choose the business running them over competitors and 62% more likely to spend more on that company.
13. Start a Referral Program
Referrals should always be a goal for your brand. They turn your customers into advocates and can foster longer-term relationships. Add a referral incentive to your marketing plan. For instance, you can set things up so customers will get 20% off their next purchase when they refer a new customer, and that new customer also gets 20% off. Both parties will want to get that deal and then tell others about it, too. Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth marketing.
14. Write Better Blog Titles
The headline is the first thing people see regarding your blog post. It needs a catchy title to garner traffic. A few tactics that are easy to implement to spice up your headlines include:
- Keep them short and sweet
- Ask a question
- Talk about a pain point of your customers
- Include a number (for listicles)
Always think to yourself: "Is this something I would click on?" It needs to be an attention-grabber with just a few words. Remember, too, that the body of the blog must deliver on what you promise with the headline.
15. Ask for Testimonials
Customer testimonials are a win-win. They help your current customers speak out about a great experience they had while showing your potential future customers that you’ve gone above and beyond for other people. Ask for customer reviews or for them to create a short testimonial video. Showcase these testimonials on your website or in your emails. They can boost customer loyalty and create brand trust.
16. Try Going Live
Facebook and Instagram have live options where brands can interact with followers in real-time. Whenever you’re introducing a new product or service or you have exciting news to share, create a live event. Accept questions from your audience. Live showcases serve as community events where you connect with customers. Make an exciting announcement. Today’s audiences love to connect with their favorite brands in these more engaging formats.
17. Get on Social Media
Video content is another way to engage with your customer base. The social media platform TikTok presents unique opportunities for brands to reach people. It is extremely popular now, with over a billion videos watched every single day and some 800 million users — and the numbers continue to grow. Create an engaging social media post about your brand on TikTok or other platforms. Try different ways to connect with people, such as through educational content or personalized videos.
18. Give Away Fun Swag
Finally, it may pay off to invest in some fun items that promote your business. Affordable options are buttons or stickers. Include your logo or a new product design to get the word out about something specific. Don’t make it look too salesy, though, because the point is for people to want it. You want them to want to put it on their cars, laptops, and other visible places. This way, others will see your logo, too.
How to Brainstorm Your Own Innovative Marketing Ideas
Hopefully, these 18 ideas have your wheels turning and help you think about new ways to engage your audiences with a creative marketing strategy. It’s always a good idea to switch things up to keep marketing campaigns new and exciting. Want more ways to come up with creative ideas?
Focus on Your Audience
You need to know exactly where your targets hang out. What channels do they love? What kind of content do they read? Answering these questions will take some research, so start gathering data from your platforms. Pay attention to what your competitors are doing. Try out new initiatives and see how people respond. The important thing is to put your energy into areas that will resonate with your people.
Pay Attention to Trends
You never want your potential customers thinking that you’re out of touch. Make sure you’re paying attention to trends. For instance, even though Facebook ads are very effective, maybe your target audience is no longer using that platform. You should thus shift your focus to another social media platform. Use sites like Google Trends to see what people are currently talking about.
Incorporate Your Brand Values
Of course, every marketing strategy you implement should incorporate your core values. Think of ways that you can exemplify those values on your channels. For example, if diversity is one of your company's core values, post content about the ways your brand is living up to that. Talk about attending a conference or post a photo of the team engaging in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training. Your brand values will give you lots of ideas for more meaningful outreach campaigns.
Identify Your Objectives
You must know exactly what you want to happen when you implement your new strategies. Are you trying to attract more leads, boost customer retention, get more referrals, increase a specific product’s sales, or improve your brand reputation? Your marketing efforts depend on what you’re trying to accomplish. For example, if you’re trying to attract more leads, focus on posting quality content and engaging people who are in the initial stages of the sales funnel.
Involve Multiple Perspectives for More Innovative Marketing Ideas
Your brand will be most creative when you bring in new perspectives. Gather creative marketing ideas from others on your team, or ask your customers for their input. With more people involved, you’ll be introduced to ideas you never would have thought of on your own. A more diverse team means a wider pool of experiences to pull from.
The first step in improving your marketing approach is thinking through exactly what you want from a campaign and who you’re trying to reach. You may have to go through some trial and error to see what resonates most with your audience. Remember to get creative and step outside of your comfort zone — that's when you can start inspiring people.