4 Unconventional Ways Businesses Have Marketed Their Products

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Often times we think of retail businesses hanging products in aisles for consumers to walk by and purchase. Or, we hear about products and services through social media platforms be it Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. But did you know there are other ways businesses go about promoting and selling their products? Sometimes it pays off using a more unconventional route.

That being said, read on to learn about 5 unconventional paths businesses and marketers have taken to get a product or service in front of their target audience. (Plus, find out why you need to conduct a California business search.)

1. Placing Your Self-Published Book in Barnes and Noble

According to Huffington Post, an author of a self-published novel did the unthinkable. No, he did not call up Barnes and Noble, encouraging them to sell his book. One day, he grabbed a few copies of his self-published novel and, with no one looking, placed them on the shelf at a Barnes and Noble.

The Inspiration for This Unconventional Marketing Technique

Supposedly, according to Huffington Post, the self-published author got the idea from Russell Simmons’ book, Super Rich. At the time when hip-hop was not popular, Kurtis Blow asked Russell Simmons to help him publicize his new single “Christmas Rappin.” Putting on a fake Polygram Records order number, people called up Polygram Records asking about the record. The confused Polygram Records then ended up signing Kurtis Blow to a record deal.

While Huffington Post never reveals whether Barnes and Noble did the same with the self-published author, he goes on to state that some consumers did end up purchasing it (with the money going to Barnes and Noble).

What Can We Learn From This?

While it may not hurt to take the same marketing route as Kurtis Blow and the self-published author, legally speaking, you may want to contact the store or company before doing this.

2. Do as Mail Chimp Does, And Give Away Your Product or Service for Free

While this may be a counter intuitive marketing technique, it does work. According to Quick Sprout, using this technique can and does increase revenue for businesses.

This is why it is common for businesses to offer consumers free trials or free membership with the option of becoming a paid member and receiving more benefits. (Mail Chimp is an example of a business that uses this marketing strategy.)

In general, the more consumers you have signing up for free trials, the better the odds are that some of them (being so impressed by your product or service) will sign up for the paid subscription.

On Second Thought

Consider the psychology behind giving products or services for free. According to TIME, people feel obligated to support that business. In other words, it is the reciprocity principle at its finest.

And, it becomes more interesting; TIME goes on to state that a study revealed consumers who were given a free product with their expensive or luxury good were more likely to view the free product as better quality.

What Can We Learn from This?

It pays to give consumers freebies for two reasons. For one, consumers are more likely to buy into the reciprocity theory (no pun intended)—perhaps signing up for the paid subscription or membership package out of obligation (and, of course, because they gain some benefit from it).

And two, giving smaller items for free when consumers purchase your more expensive products will may make them consider that smaller item of having a higher value. Which may even increase the chances of elevating your reputation and bran in their eyes and possibly even leading to that consumer purchasing that smaller item in the future.

3. E.T. Helped to Promote Reese’s Pieces

Supposedly, according to Forbes, Reese’s Pieces was placed in the movie E.T., which helped it promote its product and become popular with consumers. Interestingly enough, Forbes goes on to state that M&Ms had turned this offer down. Long story short, product placement in movies may be the way to go.

What We Can Learn from This?

As Forbes states, your partner does not have to be in the same industry as you do in order to work together. That being said, don’t be afraid to consider partnering with unlikely companies. As Reese’s Pieces is a shining example, this can pay off.

Nonetheless, we recommend that you and the business you partner with share the same or similar mission statement. That way, you don’t cloud your reputation and confuse your target audience.

4. Guerilla Marketing May Be Worth It

We often hear about artists randomly showing up at a public space, plugging in their amp and playing an impromptu mini concert. U2 is infamous for this; in fact, the legendary band surprised Berlin subway goers by performing at a Berlin subway.

What We Can Learn from This?

But Guerilla marketing does not just exist in the music sector. Companies can and have hired artists to advertise their product or service using sidewalk chalk.

And, it does not stop there; as long as the guerilla marketing technique does not contradict your brand or reputation—for instance, it may be risky or unproductive for a bank to promote its services with sideway chalk—you may want to consider this low-cost marketing strategy.

Final Thoughts

Businesses do not have to use the same old marketing techniques such as advertisements on benches, billboards, or on television. Sometimes it takes an unconventional route to launch their product or service and promote their brand, as was the case with Mail Chimp, Reese’s Pieces, U2, and a self-published author.

At the same time, you want to make sure the unconventional marketing strategy you use does not confuse or contradict your target audience. If anything, it should only make it stronger.

What other unconventional marketing strategies can you think of? Would you use one of these or go a more traditional route? Share your thoughts.

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