Extremely creative marketing is certainly nothing new, but it is exceptionally rare. No, I am not talking about cool graphics, quirky scripts, and high paid spokespersons like William Shatner as the Priceline Negotiator. I am talking about “holy cow, did they just really do that? Can they really do that? Who the heck thought of this?” And last but not least, “I have got to show this to my friends!”
I know, you're not Red Bull and can't run a Felix Baumgartner, multiple world record skydiving campaign that garners 2 million Youtube views in the first 24 hours. Maybe you can't give away one of your products everyday like GoPro does. The question isn't, “can you put a man 128,000 feet in the sky and get him to jump out of whatever contraption took him there.” No, the question is, “what can you do that is remarkable?” As in, literally worthy of being remarked upon by others.
In fact, I just did a whole presentation on using audio, video, and imagery to do just that. At the end of the presentation I asked people to get creative with the toy army men and straws I had put on the tables. The header picture, taken by me, shows what Troy Sandlin was able to create with just those two items. It was remarked upon by all.
Okay, I'll concede that standard marketing does provide some value. That is, if it is properly executed. More often than not though, it doesn't reach its full potential because it lacks WOW. People ask me all the time, and have for years, how they can get something to go viral. How can we do something that is popular, shared, and talked about? Then, when given possible ideas, the feedback is almost always the same. They say things like, "That sounds a bit out-there," or "we can't devote that kind of budget," or "let's do something a bit more safe." And one of my favorite responses is, "I'm not sure that will work for us."
In reality, you need something a bit out there to distinguish your message from all the other marketing drivel. You need to devote a budget sufficient enough to win business, otherwise why do any marketing? And "safe" is likely to be analogous to waste. Don't just do cool graphics; spend the money and put your book in a cereal box which just begs to be displayed and picked up off the shelf. That is what Seth Godin did with Free Prize Inside. Yeah, I bought it.
Admittedly, this path has roadblocks. An idea I had for signage was recently shot down because it would have been too disruptive to the status quo and quote "would set a precedent." Well now Mr. Signage Space Seller, we certainly wouldn't want to make ROI for advertisers a habit, now would we?
Where was I? Oh yeah, why marketing fails...
Thanks to my friend John Kaufeld for mentioning this Skyfall Viral - Coke Zero Promo. Now it is your turn. Commiserate with me here. Tell me a story about the anonymous client that just "didn't get it." How about you take the challenge and commit to doing something that qualifies as WOW marketing in 2013.