From fashion and fitness to tech and finance, all brands can agree on one thing: differentiation is key. This goes for any type of product like craftsman snow blower, service, or touchpoint in the customer experience. People are excited by things that are new, different, and better – it’s human nature.

The same principle applies to marketing. Every company has a distinct value proposition and occupies a unique space in the market, so why do so many use a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing when it’s time to get the word out?

A great product or service will only take you so far in this world, and a unique marketing game plan is vital to stand out. Here are a few ways to craft a marketing strategy that helps you break the mold, attract new audiences, and get the revenue you deserve.

Word-of-Mouth Incentives

The dream of every marketer is to spend as little cash as possible, put forth a minimal effort, and have customers share their positive opinions far and wide so they end up looking like superstars which seems like that they have to find the gems.

This is never the reality, of course, and many challenges will appear on your journey.

“It’s been difficult gaining recognition for Sichuan food America,” said Jing Gao, Founder and CEO of Fly By Jing. “We have received a lot of negativity along the way. There is a lot of intolerance in this country when it comes to the Chinese food industry, and as a child of immigrants, I’ve always had to fight to be respected in this space.”

Now, Fly By Jing is a social media sensation with a huge following on the rise.

Never underestimate word-of-mouth, especially in the internet age when information moves faster than ever. Put the right incentives in place and your marketing engine will eventually be a self-perpetuating machine.

Get Others Involved

Everyone likes to feel recognized, and the desire for that 30-seconds of fame is more powerful than ever with the web. Marketers that put customers in the spotlight are way more likely to generate positive press and attract massive new audience segments. Partnerships are great, too, so connect and make magic on social media.

Just look at the power of influencer marketing and brand ambassador programs in recent years. Who would have thought that these strategies proved more cost-effective than traditional celebrity endorsements or high-volume ad campaigns?

By teaming up with well-known personalities and publications in your industry, you can instantly leverage a huge amount of influence and authority that would take years to cultivate on your own.

“Consider how you work with influencers in areas such as podcasts, webinars, live-streams, ebooks, blogs, and social content,” said Tom Treanor, Global Head of Marketing at Arm Treasure Data. “Are there ways that your marketing can be improved with the help of industry influencers?”

Influencers are only the beginning. We’re seeing more brands experiment with techniques like user-generated content as well, harnessing the enthusiasm of the audience to amplify marketing on social media and beyond. These are great opportunities to take small marketing risks that won’t break the bank.

New Take on Old Classics

Some brands are able to take existing ideas and add a modern touch that sets them apart. Custom gifts are a great example of products that mix the old with the new and appeal to multi-generational audiences.

When it comes time to market these products, there is already a huge audience waiting to hear more and get on board.

“A creative and meaningful gift for someone you hold dear would be a hand-painted portrait,” said Assaf Kostiner, Founder and President of Paint Your Life. “A lot of us keep our photos locked away in our phone gallery; it seems the days of frames and photo albums are a thing of the past. If you’re looking for a gift that will take you back and provide a lasting commemoration, portraits are just the thing for you.”

You can browse the mall or online shops for hours, but nothing will compare to a gift that requires you to plan ahead with a custom touch. When a gift has that priceless personalized twist, it becomes instantly invaluable.

With a product so compelling, marketing is always easier.

Selling a Lifestyle

Marketing is about bridging the gap between logic and emotion. People buy products not only for their functional use, but to change the way they feel from day to day.

The best marketers are able to make customers envision themselves using a product or service in a way that benefits their lives in a tangible way.

“We all know the saying: look good, feel good. This truth does hold when it comes to working out but athletic gear is not all about looks,” said Daniel Shapiro, Founder and CEO of Fourlaps. “It is important to invest in workout clothes that are also going to help you perform your best.”

Look at how top lifestyle brands use a mix of emotions and tech specs to sell top-quality products to their customers and create incredible brand loyalty online.

Rock-Solid Fundamentals

Marketers will go all-in on SEO, publish high-tier content to drive traffic, master paid ads on social media, yet still fall short in crucial areas.

If your brand is lacking in the fundamentals in any aspect of marketing, it’s going to show up in the bottom line each quarter. Landing pages, for instance, tend to be uninspiring and generic.

“Your site visitors want to see a clear and concise headline and an informative sub-headline as well as an impressive featured image,” said Nik Sharma, Founder and CEO of Sharma Brands. “Informative yet simple headlines are important because users will likely click off as soon as things begin to look unclear and complicated so it is key to bring your pitch to the table immediately.”

Use your analytics tools to see where your brand can improve on the marketing front and focus extra resources on bolstering those weak points.

Something Out of Left Field

It’s the 21st century, and most of the super-serious marketing rules were thrown out the window long ago. This it the time for brands to try their hand at humor, irony, and maybe a bit of shock value to get attention in this competitive economy.

Depending on the product your selling, you can create an entire mythology around your brand that separates you from the competition and gets people excited to be part of something big.

“Lucky for us, alcohol is one of the most socially-charged products on the market, so word of mouth always works heavily in our favor,” said Chris Vaughn, Founder and CEO of Saucey. “In the early stages of our company, we decided to partner with an underwear brand, where we had underwear models do our alcohol deliveries for us. Creative marketing strategies tend to get people talking, especially strategies that are leaning on ‘controversial’.”

Brands that take these types of risks will be rewarded in a world where capturing attention is half the battle.

Experiment on Social Media

There has never been a better “sandbox” environment for marketing than social media right now. Ads and guest spots are only the beginning.

The way you communicate with customers can be a marketing tactic in itself, letting you lean into a unique brand voice and create entertaining, informative live content.

You’ve also got a wide arsenal of content types to deploy on social media, from classic text posts to images, interactive surveys, and videos. These are all stellar opportunities to develop distinct branding and get your message out in an innovative way.

Don’t wait until the ship has sailed on the latest social media trends – they move quickly! Be bold, take the leap, and embrace the crazy culture of social media so your brand stays relevant no matter what happens.

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