As we go further into this century, the development of new technologies and marketing techniques accelerates with us. Young adults are now being taught the future of marketing, and new ways to gather the attention of an audience, rather than the classic old-style media of just print and graphics. With technology revolutionizing, so is creative marketing tactics to gain the attention of the new kind of demographic: young adults who were raised with technology. Now that children are learning how to send texts, and even build robots at the ripe age of twelve, a new technique is needed to grab their attention. Something that they can interact with and keep in their memory. They might not remember a basic print ad on the TTC on their morning commute, but they might remember a brain teaser, AR, or experiential advertisement they got to experience and made them think. Two questions that can be asked, however, is why is this important information to keep in mind, and how should this be considered in future marketing campaigns?
In the article “Social marketing meets interactive media” by Ronald P. Hill & Nora Moran, interactivity is classified as
“one of the defining characteristics of new media technologies, giving greater access to information as well as supporting increased user control and engagement with media content” (Fiore et al. 2005) (Hill & Moran 2015)
According to studies, when the user can interact with an element, there is an increased amount of involvement and positivity towards campaigns, websites, etc. Being able to interact with the marketing materials, makes the consumer feel more involved in your campaign, and therefore becomes a relevant experience for their minds to remember (Hill & Moran 2015). Also, interacting as your brand with consumers is something more companies should be taking advantage of. This new generation, while they like to feel involved, also enjoy being listened to and included in a conversation. Responding to comments, liking posts, and allowing for feedback and reviews is another way they feel like their opinions actually matter with the content they are experiencing. Doing this also benefits the company as you can further understand what next steps should be taken in the future of your marketing tactics, and what elements consumers want to see from the brand on their daily commute, scroll through social media, their televisions, etc.
Innovative marketing is
“doing something new with ideas, products, service, or technology and refining these ideas to a market opportunity to meet the market demand in a new way”, (Kleindl et al. (1996, p. 214) (O’Dwyer, Gilmore, & Carson 2009)
By implementing creative activities to partake in, pleasing a new kind of consumer can be achieved, making a business unique in a competitive market (O’Dwyer, Gilmore, & Carson 2009). In this case, being different compared to other classic forms of marketing in society is a great thing a company should pride itself on. While it may be considered a major risk, you’ll never know if you don’t try it.
The image pictured on the left is a great example of different tactics used in innovative marketing that makes it unique in terms of consumer interaction, and general public interest research done by marketing departments on their brand audience. With reference to all characteristics mentioned thus far, innovative marketing holds a consumer focus in planning and implementation, in regard to a unique approach compared to the traditional media of print, TV, radio, etc. However, looking into examples of such marketing techniques is a necessity to see how target markets react to such new tactics of marketing and market research itself. While not every demographic reacts to this new media approach, it is important to know your demographic first.
Case Study 1:
Coca-Cola: Share a Coke Campaign
In 2014, Coca-Cola unveiled its next big marketing campaign, “Share a Coke”. If you don’t know what this huge campaign was all about, each bottle said “share a coke with ____” where the consumer could find their name, a friend, family, even a “class of___” in a bin full of bottles, encouraging consumers to purchase a bottle and share with a loved one. They chose the top 250 most popular American names, eventually boosting the popular campaign to 1,000 names, and put them out into the world for consumers to find (Tarver 2019). Going online after you find or are given your bottle, using the #ShareaCoke users can interact with the brand, and boost the campaign success. Later on in the campaign, they actually implemented a new section on their website where you can customize your own bottle (Tarver 2019). This campaign was extremely successful because using this interactive approach, consumers felt closer to the company than ever before just by simply seeing their name on a bottle. With a powerful call to action and social media encouragement, the campaign actually continued for a lengthy amount of time and endured many changes (Tarver 2019). Lyrics, class of ____, Spotify playlist QR codes, best friend, sister, mother, father, removable logo stickers, and so much more were added as recently as 2018, making this a huge success for Coca-Cola, creating an amazing bond with their consumers.
Case Study 2:
Volkswagen: Piano Stairs
Volkswagen decided to take a different approach to their advertising back in 2009 when they introduced a piano staircase in Stockholm Sweden in one of the subways (Taylor 2009). The video showcases people climbing a staircase that plays piano notes. Since its release, the video has millions of views and has even been remade in various cities such as Toronto in the Metro Centre.
As for the Volkswagen version, it was used as part of their Fun Theory campaign, created to change human behaviour (Taylor 2009). The stairs and other installations were meant to represent human nature.
“You know you should be taking the stairs, but it’s easier to take the other route. We played off that. If we make it a fun experience, a good experience, then people will do it.” (Taylor 2009)
This staircase while encouraging exercise and wellness through physical and musical means, also puts Volkswagen on a pedestal as a fun company, who appears to spend money on consumer enjoyment, rather than traditional marketing plastered in their face. One thing to also take into consideration with the space rather than just stairs, is the fact that when people take stairs and hear the piano noises, they look down. What’s on the floor when the look besides piano tiles? A company logo and quotes. Fun advertising that makes the efforts worthwhile.
Case Study 3:
Refinery29: 29 Rooms
29 Rooms was a traveling piece put on by Refinery 29 that traveled to many cities around North America and consisted of, you guessed it, 29 rooms. More uniquely, however, each room had its own purpose and theme. Ranging from Planned Parenthood to Pure Life, many companies partnered with this cool event to advertise their products or platform (yes, even some celebrities) in an interactive way, where fans could take pictures and use #29Rooms to do advertising for all of these companies (Wood 2018). Each brand got to design their own fun and aesthetic room for people to experience and see results through images uploaded on social platforms. This collective brand effort to combine their goals into one advertising experience, worked very well for them as well as the 29 rooms brand. Not a single person left this event without any less than 50 photos of themselves, their friends, or the space (Wood 2018). All aspects of this marketing event were pulled off successfully and imprinted creative ideas into many other marketing plans.
Summary of Findings
In retrospect, in this current day and age, consumers prefer fun and interactive marketing techniques rather than traditional posters and radio ads. With these case studies, all companies had some sort of success and positive feedback from having these engaging advertisements put into the public for consumers to experience and take pictures of. One thing to take note of is the new day and age of “Instagram worthy” content. With interactive and fun marketing, also comes the “free” advertising of someone enjoying something so much, that they use the hashtags, tag the company, and post their experiences online for the world to see. The term “word of mouth” is more so moving onto “word of social media”. Companies should seriously take innovative marketing techniques into consideration when planning their next campaigns because the general public wants to feel involved and entertained when supporting a brand. While “all publicity is good publicity” may be how some may think, having a fun and creative campaign can increase the bond between brand and consumer. So, to answer my previous questions, it is extremely important to involve the people buying, investing, and viewing your products or brand, with your advertising efforts. The future of marketing is an ever-evolving topic, as the years go on and different generations are born, so are trends. With all things considered, at this moment it is a necessity to keep up with trends and demographic interests, and one thing that has proven to be a popular platform, is innovative marketing techniques in this ever-changing society.
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