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ARCHIVED  November 1, 1996

Unusual marketing ideas hold customer’s attention

Daring and unconventional marketing strategies not only sell products, but some have changed American life as well.For example, Greeley marketing consultant Bonnie Dean pointed out, someone (Dean thinks it was someone at Domino’s Pizza) came up with the idea of home-delivered pizza.
And how about Federal Express, Dean said. Package delivery that was cheap enough and good enough to compete successfully with the U.S. Postal Service has changed the way business is done in the United States.
Few marketing strategies can compete with these examples in scale and success, but pushing beyond the usual media of TV and newspaper ads, brochures and direct mail – even with less-ambitious schemes – can get a product the attention it deserves.
One strategy that promises to equal or exceed even the success of home-delivered pizza is advertising on the World Wide Web. Webwise Marketing Services’ Joanne Wetmore-Fish said the World Wide Web will likely become one of the world’s most powerful marketing tools.
Companies that seek regional, national or international markets can benefit from establishing a Website.
“A Website is like an electronic brochure,” Wetmore-Fish said, “with words and pictures, of course. But then you can add sounds, video clips or animation, so it becomes an advertising tool and also an entertainment device.”
She said that such a site holds the customer’s attention much longer than does a brochure.
Because it is interactive, the World Wide Web is also an ideal tool for gathering information on customer needs and preferences, Wetmore-Fish said. And purchasing directly with a credit card is becoming safer and more common, she said.
“I make purchases with a credit on the Web all the time, and I never worry,” she said. “You’re more likely to get ripped off carrying your credit card in your back pocket.”
While some people enjoy the challenge of creating their own Web page, Wetmore-Fish said, a Website professional can ensure that the page is easily accessible, registered on all search engines and linked with complimentary Web sites.
On the subject of electronic marketing, Dean said there are bad ideas out there, too. One of those is “spamming,” or bulk e-mailing.
“I think that’s the worst innovation we’ve seen in a while,” Dean said. “It clogs up everybody’s systems.”
Videotapes have long been used to demonstrate wares at trade shows, but now customers are increasingly taking them along to presentations and sending them with proposals, said Independent Marketing/2020 Video’s C.J. Haynes.
“Any time there’s a credibility question, seeing is believing,” Haynes said. She gave the example of a company in Laramie that wanted to expand to a national market.
“Well, coming from little Laramie, Wyoming, they had a credibility problem,” Haynes said.
The company’s representatives began traveling with a VCR and a video that showed the company’s plant, product and employees, making its expansion very successful.
For a medium-sized company that wants to move to a larger market, video can be a cost-effective marketing tool, Haynes said. For a $5,000 investment, a company can have a quality video that will be useful for five to seven years.
“Because it is video, you can change it and re-edit it, which makes it cost-effective over a period of time,” Haynes said.Unusual products, marketing
Sometimes a novel product or one with an alternative twist calls for unconventional marketing methods.
Dean said that in the early 1970s, an English hair-color company wanted to advertise a line of day-glo hair color.
“They got models and dogs. They dyed the models’ hair and the dogs to match and put them on the street in London to stand around and attract attention to the product,” Dean said.
Kiri Saftler of Sunset Markets promotes farmers, crafters, entertainers, nonprofit causes and “people doing things from their heart.”
She said she does this by planning events and also, remarkably, through word-of-mouth. In 1995, for example, she organized a benefit concert for Fort Collins ReLeaf, a not-for-profit that promotes urban tree planting. The concert featured R. Carlos Nakai, a Native American flautist and Peter Kater on piano. The concert sold out.
By matching the event, the artists and the cause, Saftler said, “We all did really well.”
Lately, Saftler said, she has promoted a local bed and breakfast while attending business seminars and networking events. During question-and-answer periods, she stands, succinctly states who she is, mentions that she is doing events-coordinating for the B&B, and asks a question of the speaker. At the last seminar where she did this, Saftler said, three people came up to her afterward asking about the bed & breakfast.
“It’s word-of-mouth,” she said. “We all know it’s the biggest seller.”
The University of Wyoming recently asked Bonnie Dean Associates to promote Cowboys wide receiver Marcus Harris for the Heisman Trophy, collegiate football’s highest honor. Because the Heisman winner is decided on by votes of newspaper sports writers, promotional efforts are de rigueur.
The promotion, which has received unprecedented attention in Denver newspapers, began with a phrase: “It’s time another wide receiver won the Heisman.” (Dean explained it’s been a long time since a wide receiver has.)
Next, they put together gift boxes tied with gold tinsel tie containing a cardboard gold watch with the phrase “Heisman Marcus” and Marcus Harris’ photo on the face of the watch.
Although it was strictly two-dimensional, the mock-up watch had tabs that allowed it to be worn on the wrist. A gift card said, “Marcus Harris: The One to Watch in ’96,” and his statistics were also enclosed. 500 of these gift watches went out to sports writers. Every week since football season began, 500 follow-up post cards with Harris’ updated stats have gone out.
Sports writers have expressed delight with this promotion, Dean said, and she has hopes that it will carry Harris all the way down the field.
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Daring and unconventional marketing strategies not only sell products, but some have changed American life as well.For example, Greeley marketing consultant Bonnie Dean pointed out, someone (Dean thinks it was someone at Domino’s Pizza) came up with the idea of home-delivered pizza.
And how about Federal Express, Dean said. Package delivery that was cheap enough and good enough to compete successfully with the U.S. Postal Service has changed the way business is done in the United States.
Few marketing strategies can compete with these examples in scale and success, but pushing beyond the usual media of TV and newspaper ads,…

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