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Companies used to rely solely on print, television and radio advertisements to market their products and services to customers. Non-traditional marketing tactics have opened the door to a number of other ways to connect with customers, often in a more cost-effective manner. These methods have made it possible for small businesses to have the reach of larger companies, as success is based on creativity, rather than budget size.
Grassroots marketers target groups of individuals, promoting their products and services to these people in an effort to get them to share the message with a larger audience. The impetus behind this method is that people trust personal recommendations, so if a friend of family member can verify the benefits of a product or service, they will be more likely to try it themselves. Campaigns are relatively simply and driven by customer loyalty.
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Guerrilla marketing focuses on sharing a message in a non-traditional manner. Marketers take customers by surprise by using tactics designed to make a lasting impression. Smaller companies commonly use it as their sole marketing strategy, while larger companies tend to use it as a complement to an existing campaign. An example is the 2012 Red Bull Stratos campaign, which involved sending Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner into the stratosphere to skydive 128,100 feet.
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Buzz marketing tactics are designed to go viral. Marketers often focus on a group of trendsetters, providing them with access to a product or service, in hopes that others will see them using it and want to join in. For example, DaimlerChrysler promoted the PT Cruiser in Miami Beach by enlisting a group of good-looking people to drive around town in the cars. Proctor & Gamble promoted its laundry detergent, Cheer, in Canadian supermarkets by employing groups of undercover shoppers to hold spontaneous fashion shows, mentioning they use Cheer to wash their clothes.
Social Media Marketing
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Many companies are taking advantage of the fact that millions of consumers are on social media by using popular platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube to reach them. Companies distribute their marketing messages through tweets, posts and online videos. Customers are given chance to interact with the brand, sharing comments, concerns and other feedback for everyone on the site to see. Because it doesn’t cost money to join social media sites, companies are able to market themselves for free.
Laura Woods is a Los Angeles-based writer with more than six years of marketing experience. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Pittsburgh and an MBA from Robert Morris University.