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Chapter 1 – How and Why Creative Marketing Works
Today's business market is an extremely competitive place. More businesses enter the fray all the time: for the past ten years, more than 750,000 new startups spring into existence across North America. Unfortunately, over 60 percent of new businesses fail in the first four years.
Why do they fail? According to a study performed by the U.S. Department of Commerce, there are three main reasons startup businesses fold:
- Lack of financial planning
- Poor sales skills
- Poorly planned and executed marketing
Creative marketing addresses all three of these concerns. It is one of the most successful marketing methods available, and since it is low-cost and high-impact, you won't need a huge advertising budget to take advantage of this powerful strategy.
What you will need is a basic understanding of how and why Creative marketing works.
The Element of Surprise
One of the reasons Creative marketing works is that the methods are often unexpected. Many Creative campaigns are highly visible, and contain some sort of element that is unique to the business using it.
Though it is something of a cliché by now, you should be prepared to “think outside the box” when it comes to planning your Creative marketing campaign. The classic, expensive methods of advertising your business should be employed sparingly, if at all. These include:
- Yellow page advertisements
- Newspaper or magazine advertisements
- Radio or television commercials
Think about it: when is the last time you were heavily influenced by a yellow page, newspaper, magazine, radio, or television advertisement? The fact is that today’s consumers are so bombarded with advertising messages, they’ve learned to tune out the traditional sources.
As a Creative marketer, your goal is to catch them off-guard, and advertise in unexpected places. Many times, consumers won’t even recognize your marketing efforts as advertising.
The good news is: you can usually do this for a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising venues. Creative marketing trades effort for money. You will work harder on your marketing than a mega-corporation with a million-dollar ad budget, but if you are persistent and creative in your efforts, they will pay off.
It Pays to Be Different
Remember the old Arby’s slogan: “Different is Good”? This catchy little phrase could serve as a basic premise for one of the primary reasons Creative marketing tactics are so successful.
You might have a product or service that is completely unique. However, the chances are greater that you’re competing with dozens or hundreds of other businesses for the same market share. One of the strengths of Creative marketing is the ability to capitalize on the aspect or aspects of your business that make you different -- and therefore worthy enough for consumers to spend their hard-earned money on your product or service.
So, what’s different about your business? Here is a brief list of possibilities to investigate. Your business might offer:
- The best, friendliest, or most attentive customer service.
- The lowest prices.
- Products that are higher quality than the competition.
- A wider range of products than other businesses in your area or field.
- The simplest ordering methods.
- Fast, convenient, and/or reliable delivery.
- More expertise in your area than your competition.
- The most informative and easiest to navigate website.
This aspect of your business is sometimes referred to as your USP, or Unique Selling Proposition. Once you have determined your USP, you know what makes your business different -- and different is good!
Controls and Variables
As with any marketing campaign, there are a lot of different variables that concern the outcome of your Creative marketing efforts. Some have to do with your business, which is often largely in your control. Others have to do with your customers, which are not always under your control.