1. Technology can’t save a boring idea, but it can amplify a remarkable one
Just because you’re in digital marketing doesn’t mean technology is the answer, like how some companies will put QR codes on the subway for campaigns. There’s no internet underground so your campaign is useless, said Fishburne.
Take a look instead at Innocent, he continued.
About six years ago, the UK juice-maker ran a campaign: for every juice bottle it sold that sported a woolly hat, the company would donate 50 pence to Age Concern, nonprofit advocates for older people.
Thousands of people voluntarily knitted hats, and Innocent found lift was higher at the shelf than if they’d just given the discount straightaway. Said Fishburne,
You could not get more low-tech than that because it involved knitting and the elderly, but it got people jazzed up.”
Later, when image-friendly technology like Pinterest came along, Innocent could extend and amplify the campaign.
2. It’s not about the brand
When all a brand does is talk about itself, it’s going to very quickly turn off its audience, said Fishburne, pointing to a Nike effort that did everything but.
In 2009, the company partnered with Livestrong during the Tour de France on a campaign that used Chalkbot, a machine that stenciled messages on roadways. The public was invited to submit 40-character messages of cancer support by text, web banner, or the Nike Livestrong site.
Each message would be sent to the Chalkbot, printed on the race course, instantly photographed, tagged with GPS coordinates, and then emailed to the person who sent it.
There was no Nike swoosh anywhere, noted Fishburne:
It wasn’t about the shoe. It wasn’t about the bike. It wasn’t about the race. It was ultimately about the consumer.”
3. Preach to the choir
In the Draper model of marketing, talking to as wide an audience as possible was the goal. Today it’s about targeting the evangelist. Said Fishburne,
Talking to the loyalist is a different kind of conversation. If you try to be appealing to everybody, you’re not going to be that meaningful to any one group in particular.”
Consider Sailor Jerry, he continued, a challenger liquor company without a lot of cash. The brand found a tattoo parlor next to a bar (already this effort is easy) and told fans that it would offer a free shot to anyone who got a permanent—note that: permanent—tattoo of Sailor Jerry.
The day of the event was rainy, yet there was still a long line: The loyalists had shown. Sailor Jerry hadn’t hired an official photographer, but plenty of photos were snapped, all by fans of fans. A thrifty, fun campaign of lifetime (remember the permanence of those tattoos) brand awareness—how much more simple can it get?
4. Everyone’s a marketer
Silos are the Bane of the marketing batcave, but there’s no need to fear them if marketers can remember that everybody in an organization is effectively part of a big marketing team, said Fishburne.
He recounted his time at cleaning supply outfit Method when the company wanted to attend a trade show, but the booth costs were prohibitive. A colleague in the supply chain department had the genius idea of instead getting an 18-wheeler and parking it at the event’s entrance.
Sure, it meant receiving parking tickets all day long—but those were cheaper than the booth costs, and with this option, event attendees couldn’t miss Method.
“There’s no longer an ivory marketing tower,” said Fishburne, so instead of waiting to involve, say, legal at the end of a creative effort, why not involve them at the start?
5. Make your customers awesome
“Like” us on Facebook so we can tell you just how radical our company is—no. Just…no. Instead, said Fishburne, make your customer radical, like Betabrand does.
The SF-based challenger clothing brand runs a “model citizen” program that takes submissions from customers outfitted in the clothier’s wares and runs winning images on its home page. This gives customers bragging rights. Remember, said Fishburne,
It doesn’t matter how awesome your product is, your presentation, your post. Your awesome thing only matters to the extent that it helps your user’s ability to be a little more awesome.