The 7 Most Innovative Marketing Strategies (Infographic)

From time to time we come across a marketing campaign that goes beyond trade and errs on the side of, dare I say, art. Marketers, like genre-defying musicians, have been known to push the boundaries of what they can achieve with messaging.

Case in point: Gary Dahl. In the mid-1970s, an advertiser came up with “Pet Rock” which was literally a rock. He sold 1.5 million of them for $4 each.

And if becoming a millionaire by selling stones wasn’t absurd enough, Dahl created a 32-page educational guide called Care and Training of Your Pet’s Stone, which taught owners how to get their stone to “stay” and “turn over.” . »

Of course, we don’t need Pet Rocks. What we really care about is the innovative marketing approaches that brands are using to promote their real value to customers and how they develop interest in that value.

And to that end, here are seven examples (in no particular order) of some of our favorite marketing strategies and campaigns in recent history.

1. Ex Machina trolls Tinder with bots

What is the best way to promote a film about blurring the lines between AI and human intelligence? If you’re the marketing team tasked with creating hype for Ex Machina, which debuted at SXSW in 2014, the answer is demo.

This is exactly what you think. The marketing team created a fake profile of one 25-year-old “Ava” and then used robots to respond to incoming messages.

Perhaps the most astute moviegoers would recognize that it was actress Alicia Vikander. But anyone who didn’t would surely understand at some point in the conversation—maybe when Ava responds to some clever remark: “You passed my test. Check out my Instagram and let me know if I passed yours :)”

And they will. And then they will understand what they had.

To be fair, it was Vikander before superstardom, but the campaign got the point across. To the best of our knowledge, this is one of the rare examples of ads working well on Tinder (and no, we didn’t mean to upset you).

Lesson: If you have a compelling argument, show, don’t tell. You don’t have to troll Tinder with fake people, which is admittedly a bit controversial. But you understood. Showcase your value. And even better, if you can do it in a way that will interest your audience.

2. The man in the Astor Place cube

Anyone who has been to Astor Place in New York knows that there is a steel sculpture of a cube balanced on a corner outside. This setup is called the Alamo and looks like this:

Pay attention to the fact that children rotate the cube around its axis?

Dave, the 37-year-old writer who lives inside him, says “it’s annoying,” but for the most part, he’s used to it. That’s because Dave is an ergonomics guru. How else could he fit a table, counter, toilet, and hammock in this 64-square-foot enclosure?

Check it out:

Dave has since removed the cube. Why do you ask? Because he discovered Whil.

Till. helped him find the peace of mind he was looking for when he first moved into the cube. But thanks to Whil. Everything has changed.

Lesson: Attention, spoiler, there has never been a person in the cube. But on video it really looks believable. Because that’s what video does. A well thought out script, crew, editorial team, set, and a good idea greatly expands the creative palette you need to work with when you’re trying to convey your brand value. In this case Whil. helped this fictional person get out of the cube. Of course it’s weird. But he has over 300,000 YouTube shares and has caught the attention of Mashable. Creativity sells, especially in short videos.

3. NHS Blood and Transplant has launched the Missing Type Campaign.

It’s no secret that turning internet users into brand advocates is difficult. This is what every social media manager strives for.

That’s why we have to take our hats off to NHS Blood and Transplant for their “Missing Type” campaign. The idea is simple but powerful: Companies remove the letters A, B, and O from their websites, Twitter names, and signage without explanation to affirm the importance of blood and organ donation.

And the boy worked. NHS saw:

  • 689 media coverage cases with an estimated audience of 347,619,784.
  • 26,121 instances of #NationalBloodWeek and #MissingType on Twitter.
  • 478,480 unique user interactions with the Facebook campaign.

Lesson: Deserved media go a long way in building brand awareness, and this is a good example. Start conversations with the social media followers you think they want to have . It’s easy to get into the habit of talking to people on social media instead of talking to them. Find out what your target audience cares about and use your brand channels as a platform for those conversations. In the end, it will pay off. Just ask the NHS.

4. Always #LikeAGirl

This spectacular campaign spurt from Always speaks for itself:

This video does two things really well:

  1. It tackles a big problem in a way that doesn’t exploit or oversimplify it (looking at you, Pepsi), and doesn’t position its brand as a solution to that problem (still looking at you, Pepsi).
  2. He empathizes with the target audience, which means that the brand shows that what is important to its customers is really important to them.

Lesson: Don’t be afraid to emotionally appeal to your audience, especially if you’re in the B2C marketplace. Also, don’t be like Pepsi. If you do go for the soul, make sure you really know your audience. If you miss, at best your efforts will be unsuccessful. In the worst case, you will lose the respect of an entire generation of people.

5. Internet of everything from Cisco

Speaking of emotional appeals, we are the first to admit that human interest is more accessible to B2C marketers than to B2B marketers. However, we have said this before and we will say it again. The future of B2B marketing is people.

And to prove it, here’s one of our favorite B2B ad campaigns in which Cisco (yes, that Cisco) uses a milk-drinking cat to position itself as the thought leader of the Internet of Things (and yes, we’ve written about this before because it is just so good).

This ad spans everything from smart home appliances to self-driving cars and data security to satellite-powered wind turbines, and does it in a truly human way.

Also talk about a short narrative with a callback at the end. Cisco really gives us everything to strive for.

Lesson: emotional content that is of interest to people does have a place in B2B marketing. This is especially true if you can show how your products or services can improve the lives of real people. Yes, having a strong value proposition (low overhead, ease of use, ROI, etc., etc.) will always make a difference to a business audience. But the B2B economy does not emerge in a bubble. There is always a path from what you do to the consumer. The secret to emotional B2B marketing is to creatively illustrate the journey, as Cisco did in this ad.

6. GE: imagination for health

Experience marketing is exactly what it sounds like: creating an experience that speaks to your target audience. And it really is a chance to have fun with innovative marketing. We use pop-ups and promotional gimmicks in abundance.

Experiential marketing is sometimes both practical and powerful.



A perfect example of this is General Electric’s “Imagination for Health” campaign. GE worked with agencyEA to host a conference for medical professionals from around the world who benefited from the company’s medical technology.

Moreover, this was no ordinary conference. Two things made it unique:

  • Sets: GE supplied movie-like reproductions of clinics, emergency rooms and other medical centers from urban and rural areas of the world. These visual aids immerse visitors into the subject and create a more memorable experience.
  • Discussions. Closing the global health gap between the developed and developing world is both a key business goal for GE and an international health imperative. Once again, this is a good example of a brand that knows how to engage itself in a larger conversation.


Lesson: Industry events are a form of experiential marketing, and a very effective one at that. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 81 percent of businesses use live streams in their content marketing strategies, and 75 percent find them effective. Bringing a bit of flair to a GE-style event can make it more memorable and maybe even generate some buzz in the media.

7. Map “Mythical Creatures” Expedia.

Last but not least, this interactive map from Expedia that pinpoints the geographic origins of mythical creatures takes web content marketing to the next level.

Here’s how it works: each icon on the map leads to a new page that provides more context for that region’s history. For example, did you know that Bram Stoker’s Dracula was based on a real-life 15th-century Romanian prince named Vlad III? A German poem from the time refers to how “Vlad liked to wash his hands with the blood of his victims before eating.”

Other tabs provide information about the appearance of mythical creatures in the area. But the highlight of this campaign is the “where to stay” and “how to get there” tabs. In general, Expedia bread and butter.

Lesson: In part, this and other interactive maps are so effective that they are evergreen. Like a blog or resource center, the content is always there and always timely enough (not to mention that it can be updated later if necessary). More importantly, it gives users a lot to explore, which can improve overall engagement and create new conversion opportunities. For SEO purposes, these cards are also a great way to promote backlinks, which increases the credibility of the page for search engines.

Additionally, if you think interactive maps work better in B2C marketing, think again. Below is an example of a real-time map of cyberattacks:



It was created by NorseCorp, a cybersecurity vendor that prides itself on “the ability to track global cyberattacks in real time.” Well done NorseCorp. We haven’t forgotten the genius of putting this content in the spotlight.

Final Conclusions: What You Need to Know Before You Innovate

As inspiring as these marketing strategies are, many organizations tend to tread lightly, primarily because they are afraid to spend money on things that might fail. But it takes a lot of trial and error to create really successful marketing campaigns. Doing the same thing over and over again is another way to repeat past mistakes.

Innovation in marketing is both an art and a science. The art lies in finding new ways to use existing resources to achieve better business results. The science lies in closely monitoring results and using that data to inform your future campaigns.

Also, being innovative or creative does not mean spending more money. Creativity is resourcefulness and evolution. You are breaking boundaries, not the bank. Set aside an extra hour a week for brainstorming – internally or with the help of your agency. Define your business goals and write down some creative ideas on paper. Get inspired by other campaigns you’ve seen online. See what your competitors are doing (and what they are not doing).

If you keep coming back to a particular idea, then stick with it. Your target audience will almost certainly find a custom collateral element that is refreshing, if not memorable.

And when all else fails, ask yourself, “Is this idea worthy of my company’s list of seven innovative marketing strategies?”

It’s about as good a test as any other and helps speed up progress.



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