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Marketing goes back much further than you may realise. The earliest known print ads date back to the Song Dynasty in China (960-1279 CE), with an advertisement stating that the company made "fine quality needs ready for use at home in no time". Historians have found papyrus leaflets in ancient Egypt and carved stone billboards in Greece and Rome.
The discipline has evolved considerably since then, but the principles remain the same. Companies tap into consumer wants and needs and offer to solve pain points and desires with their products and services. In this article, we'll look at the many different types of marketing available to us today, including popular marketing channels and marketing strategies.
What is marketing?
Marketing refers to the activities that a company undertakes to promote its product or service, usually through the so-called marketing mix. A company's marketing mix is the combination of products, pricing, places and promotions used to differentiate one business from its competitors.
You could define marketing by stating that it demonstrates the value of a product or service to prospective customers by using content, but there are many different marketing goals that a company may pursue, including strengthening brand loyalty, generating awareness, boosting engagement, or attracting new customers. These goals are often directly related to the life stage of the business or product being promoted. However, generating revenue and sales is at the heart of every marketing campaign.
Before we delve into the types of marketing, it's important to note that marketing efforts are sometimes categorised as B2C, B2B or C2C marketing. These acronyms refer to the communication or sales model being used, e.g. businesses that sell their product or service to other businesses (B2B), individual consumers that sell to other individuals consumers (C2C) or businesses that sell to individuals (B2C).
Business-to-consumer marketing (B2C)
B2C or business-to-consumer marketing refers to a model where the intended target audience is the direct consumer of the product or service. The sales cycle is usually quite short, and individuals are the ultimate decision-makers. Most of the advertisements we see on television or in magazines are B2C.
A few examples of B2C marketing strategies in practice include a Super Bowl commercial for Doritos chips or an Instagram ad for a clothing store.
Consumer marketing efforts are generally based on an immediate need. Consumers make decisions faster, with little to no research or due diligence, as the stakes are often lower. For example, a customer that needs cereal may go to the grocery store, evaluate a few brands, and make a snap decision. At most, they'll ask another member of their household if they would like to try it. If they don't like the cereal, they would have wasted a few dollars at most. However, if a CTO has to choose an expensive new sales management tool for the company, they have to conduct lengthy due diligence. The product can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and if something goes wrong (e.g. integration or implementation issues that lead to downtime), the company can face significant financial losses. They'll very likely interrogate each solution carefully, conduct independent research, view demos, compare pricing and may require the CEO's sign-off or legal consultation before making a final decision.
For this reason, B2C marketing is often geared towards eliciting emotional responses, while B2B marketing focuses on value generation, e.g. cost or time savings.
Business-to-business marketing (B2B)
B2B or business-to-business marketing means that the company's ideal target audience is another company. As we've previously explained, buying cycles are much longer and more strategic in terms of what customers may want or need.
The purchase intent is usually high, meaning that customers will often conduct a lot of research before purchasing the product or service. B2B marketing strategies are often executed through direct sales channels or digital channels, depending on the nature of the product or service on offer.
A SaaS accounting solution like Xero or a work management site like Monday.com targets small businesses. Subscription fees are low, and because the solutions are cloud-based and billed month-t0-month, their clients view the purchase as being low-risk. They may do preliminary research and compare a few alternatives before reaching a decision. However, an enterprise-grade solution like SAP or Asana can run tens of thousands of dollars and may require complex and risky integrations and implementations. Although each of these businesses targets other businesses, the purchase intent and strategy will vary, as will the length of the sales cycle.
B2B marketing strategies often involve event marketing (e.g. trade shows), public relations, direct sales, or inbound marketing.
Consumer-to-consumer marketing (C2C)
Consumer-to-consumer or C2C marketing strategies are centred around consumers selling directly to other consumers. C2C marketing could be as simple as selling your old bicycle on Craigslist or listing your old clothing on Vinted. However, affiliate marketing is by far the most common form of C2C marketing. (We'll cover affiliate marketing in more detail later).
In affiliate marketing, users sign up to promote a company's products or services on their own social networks and websites. These marketers can get paid or credited when users click on their links and buy a product or complete a different action as required by the brand.
C2C marketing is usually very effective - consumers usually trust individuals more than brands and companies, even if that person is a total stranger to them. Consumers are also generally more receptive to individuals whose lifestyles, problems and interests resemble their own.
Common forms of C2C marketing include referral problems, user-generated content marketing, collaborations with creations, or even marketplace sales.
While B2B and B2C are the most commonly discussed marketing terms, there are many variations to these models, including:
- B2B2C: Business to Business to Consumer. In this model, the B2B2C can access customers through a third party but are unable to interact directly with them using their own brand. Amazon.com is a good example of this model. Amazon sellers use the Amazon platform to sell their goods, but Amazon handles the communication and promotion of their goods with the actual customers. Another instance could be a company that offers a payment gateway to ecommerce businesses. They sell software used by the ecommerce end users without ever interacting with them.
- B2G: Business to Government. B2G businesses have governments as their clients. This could range in size from a small IT company providing support to a small municipality or a brand like Boeing that supplies fighter jets and missile defence systems to the Department of Defense.
- B2I: Business to Investor. Business-to-investor companies supply services to investors, e.g. an angel investment and start-up aggregator or innovation hub.
- B2i: Business to Individual. This is a relatively new term (not to be confused with B2I) whereby a business is engaged directly in business activities with an individual person. It's an approach that places great emphasis on customer needs and adopts a personalised marketing approach. IBM was one of the forerunners of this methodology.
- B2E: Business to Employee. This strategy promotes the culture and the working environment of a business to employees in order to attract and retain talent. A good example of this would be Spotify, which has heavily promoted its perks and benefits, including paid time off for mental health breaks and a Work From Anywhere program.
- C2B: Consumer to Business. In this model, businesses generate value from their customer base through micro jobbing, crowdsourcing and feedback. Google AdSense and Shutterstock are good examples of C2B marketing.
Types of marketing
Whereas the first section of this article covered types of marketing based on the target audience, the next section will cover types of marketing based on tactics or channels, including:
- Digital Marketing
- Offline marketing
- Inbound Marketing
- Outbound marketing
- Content marketing
- Growth marketing
- Affiliate marketing
- Social media marketing
- Influencer marketing
- Direct marketing
- Email marketing
- Word-of-mouth marketing
- Event marketing
- Guerrilla marketing
1. Digital Marketing
Digital or online marketing refers to any form of marketing activity that relies on electronic devices to communicate promotional messages and to message its impact throughout the customer journey. It refers to marketing campaigns that may appear on your phone, computer, tablet, or another device. Display ads, online video, search engine marketing, social media marketing, and pay-per-click advertising all form part of digital marketing.
Digital marketing is often compared to so-called "traditional marketing" or non-digital marketing tactics, like magazine ads, billboards and flyer drops. Television, although it's become highly digitised, is often categorised as traditional marketing, but that is slowly beginning to change.
The activity that is associated with digital marketing the most is probably pay-per-click (PPC), a form of digital marketing whereby a fee is paid every time a potential customer or web visitor clicks on your digital ad. Instead of paying a fee to feature a web banner or advertisement on online channels, the brand only pays for ads individuals interact with, which means that less spend is wasted (in theory). You can also gather additional analytics from digital marketing campaigns and use them to draw conclusions about user interests.
PPC ads are typically found on the world's most popular search engine, Google. Google Ads uses an algorithm and complex auction system to place an ad for a business on a search engine results page. The location often depends on keyword relevance, landing page quality, the bid amount etc. PPC ads are placed at the top of the search engine result page based on the factors discussed whenever a person searches for a specific query. PPC ads each have their own target actions that viewers are meant to complete once they click a page, e.g. making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or downloading a free ebook. This is known as a conversion. Conversions and click-through rates are common metrics that digital marketers will track using analytical tools. It's much easier for teams to determine and measure the return on investment for a digital marketing campaign than for a traditional marketing campaign.
Another popular form of digital marketing is native advertising, digital marketing ads that "blend in" with web pages so that it's not entirely obvious to outsiders that they are looking at an ad. Native ads offer content or entertainment, downplaying the promotional aspect of the message. Native ads are labelled "sponsored" or "promoted" and are not meant to be deceptive in nature.
2. Offline marketing
Offline marketing refers to any marketing activities that are not done via the Internet, such as radio, traditional television ads, flyers, and billboards. In modern marketing, offline marketing is usually paired with online elements. For example, radio ads that send a user to a social media page, or in some cases, billboards with interactive screens and QR codes.
Offline marketing is generally more expensive than its online counterpart because it requires real-world production, e.g. the print costs of a billboard or the production cost of a television ad. While offline marketing has a much broader, less targeted reach than online campaigns, it's still possible to make strategic decisions about the location, audience profile, and impressions you'd like to hit for each campaign.
Offline campaigns may include radio, newspaper or television ads, direct mail drops, billboards and store promotions. Very few marketers stick to one channel alone - your audience can be found anywhere, and it usually takes a mix of promotional channels to reach them.
3. Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing engages audiences by organically connecting them with useful content, such as free whitepapers or blogs. You could think of inbound marketing as pulling customers towards you instead of pushing them with a hard sales tactic. It requires good quality, persuasive and attractive content.
On its own, inbound marketing isn't likely to result in a sale, which is why inbound marketing is almost always used in conjunction with outbound marketing. Let's suppose that a prospective customer has been tasked with researching various new security systems for the office. They probably turn to the Internet and find a useful guide available for download that explains exactly how to evaluate your floor plan, spot weak spots and which security measures you should take. The guide is published on a security company's website and can be accessed by filling in a short contract form. Once the prospect completes the form, the security company has their contact details on hand and start communicating with them in the hopes of converting them into a paying customer.
Inbound marketing is a good way to inspire customer engagement and bring new customers to and through the sales funnel. It's most often associated with digital marketing tactics, like content marketing, SEO and social media marketing.
If you want to adopt an inbound marketing strategy, there are a few steps you need to take:
- Conduct keyword research: There are several free tools you can use to research terms that are relevant to your business. Once you know what they are, you can start incorporating them into your campaigns and content.
- Combine your inbound marketing with PPC: Promote your inbound content through PPC campaigns that drive traffic to your website. Always include your keywords in your pay-per-click campaigns, e.g. "Need to raise awareness fast? Download our online marketing ebook for free!"
- Refresh your content regularly: Make sure that you have a rich library of content at your disposal to draw new leads to your site again.
Inbound marketing is extremely popular with B2B or extremely niche businesses where outbound marketing spending would be wasted as their target market is extremely small.
4. Outbound marketing
Outbound marketing refers to any kind of marketing where a company initiates the conversation and broadcasts a message to a wider audience. The strategy behind outbound marketing is that the more people you reach, the higher the likelihood of a conversion.
Examples of outbound marketing include direct mail, cold calling, newspapers, radio advertising, billboards, and trade shows. There are also negative associations with outbound marketing, including spam emails and clickbait.
Unlike inbound marketing, outbound marketing is disruptive. Potential customers are, in all likelihood, not interested in the product or actively looking for a product when they are served with an advert or called by a salesperson hoping to sign them up for a service.
There are pros and cons to an outbound marketing strategy. Outbound marketing can reach customers who haven't heard of the brand before, promoting brand awareness. It will also likely yield immediate results, e.g. interested parties are likely to take action when contacted.
That doesn't mean that outbound marketing strategies are easy to execute. It can be difficult to get outbound marketing right. Outbound marketing has to be generalised, which means it won't appeal to everyone. Consumers can easily tune out outbound marketing as well. Think of how often you get up to get a cup of coffee when the commercials start airing on television, skip the trailers at the movies, or throw away junk mail without even looking at it.
Outbound marketing is an effective strategy for industries that focus on long-term returns, e.g. insurance companies.
5. Content marketing
Content marketing is a marketing strategy used to attract and engage an audience through relevant information, videos, podcasts and other media. Content marketing is often used in inbound marketing, brand building, and brand awareness, as it's an effective tool for establishing and sharing expertise.
There are five popular content channels used in this marketing tactic:
- Blog content marketing: Blogs make up the bulk of content marketing efforts. Companies that use blogs receive more links to their websites and have more indexed pages on SERPs, which boosts their search engine optimisation efforts. Blogs can be highly effective and affordable tools that can draw potential customers to your site, especially if you subtly weave your marketing messages into your content. Contact a professional content writing agency for advice if you're unsure how to start with content marketing.
- Infographic content marketing: Infographics perform well on search engines and can be highly effective as a digital marketing tool. They are highly shareable and pinnable, popular, and can convey a lot of complex information about your brand in a simple, highly visual way.
- Podcast content marketing: Podcasts have skyrocketed in popularity. Businesses can start podcasts relatively cheaply, but they require a lot of planning and dedication. It's considered a best practice to upload your podcast at regular, planned intervals, e.g. every Tuesday, to build a following. Very few people can simply "wing" a podcast. You'll need a good host, research, a script, "studio" guests and relevant topics of discussion to create a quality podcast that resonates with your target market. Alternatively, companies can pitch to and join other podcasts as guests and repurpose the recording on their own channels (with permission).
- Video marketing: Like podcasting, video marketing is becoming more affordable and accessible for brands, but it is time-consuming. Video content is far richer than the written word and can be used to demonstrate how to use a product in greater detail. Thinking of a DIY company showing customers how to install drywall or a software company demonstrating how to create your own website using their free page builder. Videos can also be a great brand builder. Use video marketing to capture testimonials or to give future employees and prospective customers behind-the-scenes insight into your company or manufacturing operations.
- Social media content marketing: Social media has become an important vehicle for content marketing because consumers can consume and respond to content on the same channel, which can be fantastic for capturing important leads. You can even repurpose other forms of content and share it using social media as the channel, using the in-depth analytical tools provided to determine how effective your marketing strategy has been in reaching your goals. We'll cover social media marketing in more detail later in this article, but it's important to add social media to your channel mix if you are considering content marketing.
Content marketing has become a speciality of its own as brands are constantly looking for fresh ideas that resonate with customers.
6. Growth marketing
Growth marketing refers to marketing strategies focused on designing and conducting experiments to optimise and improve results in a specific area of the business. Growth marketers are responsible for determining areas to test and improve upon, designing and conducting experiments to test hypothesised improvements, and analysing results.
It's one of the most scientific and data-driven acquisitions marketing disciplines that focuses on engagement and conversion instead of creativity and brand awareness. Growth marketers are often called in to assist with buyer journeys on eCommerce sites or for landing page optimisation strategies.
Here are just a few ways businesses can use growth marketing at various stages:
- Awareness: Growth marketers will often A/B test paid campaigns and social media marketing and experiment with SEO-optimized content to learn more about the target market and their motivations and suggest improvements.
- Acquisition: Acquisition is a core component of every content marketing strategy. By using gated content, chatbots, freemium sign-up forms and other tools, growth marketers will experiment with conversion optimisation to find the most effective strategy for acquiring customers. They may test messaging, page layouts, colours and even entire strategies to discover which elements resonate with customers.
- Activation: Activation refers to the process of convincing targets to use the product or service as much and as quickly as possible. A good example of this was Facebook's analysis of user profiles. They found that people who added seven friends when they joined the site were far likelier to keep using it. That's why Facebook makes a real effort to suggest friends and people you may know when you first sign up.
- Revenue: Revenue is the lifeblood of every organisation. Companies will often call in growth marketers to experiment with pricing strategies, or the way prices are displayed on the site. Rich revenue analytics and data enrichment tools form part of the strategy.
- Retention: Growth marketers will use data science and analytics to determine the factors that improve retention. They may also reveal indicators that customers are likely to churn and suggest countermeasures based on experiments.
Growth marketing is a complex discipline, but in general, growth marketing will use experimentation and optimisation to achieve company goals. While some growth marketers are highly trained technical data scientists, anyone can conduct experiments to test the effectiveness of their marketing strategy.
Split or A/B testing is the most common experimentation tool marketers will use. Let's take the example of landing page optimisation. The marketer will create two separate pages (e.g. landing pages) and change one element between the two, e.g. the headline copy or image, to see which of the two pages converts the most prospects. If there is a clear result, the company will switch to a more effective headline or image and run an experiment that tests another element on the two pages.
Growth marketing is all about incremental improvements and continual experimentation aimed at fine-tuning your marketing or commercial efforts.
7. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing refers to the process where publishers earn a commission by promoting a product or a service produced by another retailer or advertiser via an affiliated link. the affiliate partner receives a payout for delivering a specific result, e.g. a sale, click, or download. In essence, a micro-influencer or publisher will refer to a product by sharing it on their blog, social media page or website.
There are several forms of affiliate marketing being used today, including:
- Unattached affiliate marketing: Affiliate marketing is unattached when the publisher has no authority in the niche being advertised and no connection or relationship exists between the publisher and the customer. It's often found on spam sites and blogs and used purely to generate income for the publisher.
- Related affiliate marketing: Related affiliate marketers promote products and services that they may not use but that are related to their niche or speciality. It's often found in influencer marketing, where the marketer has an audience and a solid relationship with that audience, which makes them a trusted source of information and endorsement.
- Involved affiliate marketing: Involved affiliate marketing refers to promoters who truly use and believe in the product. It often takes the shape of sponsorship and is rooted in trust and authority. It's considered more effective than other forms of affiliate marketing and is a good way to spread brand awareness and create e a positive brand impression.
Like with all of the other tactics discussed, there are some pros and cons to affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing campaigns are easy to execute, low-risk and scalable. It requires very little effort from the brand itself. On the downside, not all affiliates will follow brand guidelines or present the product in the way you want them to. As we've seen with numerous influencers in the past, brands may even come to regret their affiliation with a specific personality down the line.
8. Social media marketing
Social media marketing (SMM) uses social media platforms for brand building, sales, and the generation of traffic. Businesses can use social media to engage their existing customers or reach new ones, and the entire process is supported through purpose-built native analytics that provides insight into the success of their efforts.
Today there are hundreds of platforms that businesses can use to connect directly with customers, including video content platforms like YouTube, social networks like Facebook, and microblogging sites like Twitter.
Social media prompted an important era for marketing managers. Whereas traditional marketing was an entirely one-way communication street, social media gave consumers the opportunity to speak directly to companies and provide feedback. It also empowered consumers in a way that had never been seen before - customers could leave scathing public comments if they were unhappy or share pictures of interactions or products that were not up to standard. This two-way conversation created great opportunities to leave a positive impression on consumers and generate free advertising through electronic word-of-mouth marketing.
Social media is the best way to establish your brand voice with your target market. Think of how Wendy's turned their Twitter responses into an art form. Of course, there is a downside to this phenomenon as well. Social media leaves companies open to attack and animosity from disgruntled customers or employees. Even if the company does set the record straight, severe brand damage can be done in minutes.
When done properly, social media can boost traffic and conversions, increase brand awareness, distribute content cheaply and quickly, and result in telling competitor and market insights that can be applied elsewhere.
Bear in mind that most people visit and use social media to interact with their friends and family - not with brands. Try to earn their attention with entertaining content and a compelling brand voice. Always respond to complaints with sensitivity and urgency.
9. Influencer marketing
Influencer marketing takes the concept of celebrity endorsement and applies it on a smaller scale. We can define an influencer as someone that has the power to influence the purchasing decision of another person or people because of their authority, knowledge, relationship or position relative to their audience. An influencer typically has a following with whom they actively engage, which can vary in terms of size and profile. Many influencers have systematically built an enthusiastic audience that cares deeply about their content over time.
Influencer marketing sees brands collaborate with one or more of these influencers to promote a specific product or service. Influencers may be associated with individuals who are "TikTok famous", but anyone can be an influencer, even if they aren't known outside their niche. Think of some of the most respected names in your industry or circle of friends. Philip Kotler, for example, is probably the best-known name in marketing and hugely influential, but very few people who don't work in the field of marketing will recognise the name.
Influencers may have hundreds of thousands of followers, but in some instances, brands may choose to partner with micro-influencers with 1,000 - 10,000 followers to promote their business because of their influence within their circle of friends and acquaintances.
Influencer marketing can take several forms, including:
- Host giveaways, activations, and contests: The brand may supply the influencer with a product or service to give away to followers in exchange for follows, shares, retweets or comments. It's a good idea to keep the stakes relatively low - when big prizes are on the line, you may be inundated with fake accounts and spam bots. Don't give the influencer too much direction and stifle their creativity. The audience follows the influencer for their content and not yours.
- Social media takeovers: In this case, the brand will let the influencer "run" their social media and post content on their various platforms for a set time period. We often see this with fashion brands who give influencers access to their pages when they introduce a new line at Fashion Week. This requires trust and close collaboration to ensure that the influencer brings new visitors and followers to your social media pages without alienating your existing audience.
- Affiliate marketing: We've already spoken a lot about affiliate marketing. This strategy enables a brand to work with multiple influencers at the same time at a low cost. An affiliate link posted on an influencer page will redirect a potential customer to your website. For example, an ecommerce brand may give ten influencers a unique promo code to share with their followers in exchange for a commission paid on every sale.
- Sponsored social media content and blogs: Using this tactic, influencers post promotional content on behalf of a brand, either created by them or provided by the brand itself. This allows brands to push their image and agenda by collaborating with reliable and trusted people.
- Gifts, unboxing, or reviews: In this campaign, influencers film themselves unboxing a product or using the product and providing a review of their thoughts and experiences. You can include a product link or coupon code to boost sales and measure the effectiveness of your influencer campaign.
- Brand ambassador programs: Brand ambassador programs refer to long-term relationships with brands where teams can share product rewards or other benefits in exchange for sponsorship. George Clooney is an ambassador for Nespresso and Beyoncé for Pepsi, but any influencer can become an ambassador.
- Pre-releases: Brands will often share their products with influencers before it is released to the wider market so that they can be reviewed and drum up excitement and anticipation. Several influential journalists and moviemakers were invited to pre-screening events to view Avatar II to promote the brand and share their thoughts. While not all of the reviews were positive, they instantly sparked conversation and debate online.
10. Direct marketing
Direct marketing refers to promotions designed to elicit an action or response from the target market through direct, personalised communication. Direct sellers provide information about a brand, product or service to a group of consumers that are likely to respond positively and take action.
Direct marketing can take place off- or online. Here are just a few examples:
- Telemarketing: Telemarketing can be used for direct selling or as a means of supporting other marketing campaigns.
- Email marketing: By designing promotional emails and personalising them to each target, you can effectively reach a wide group and have a significant impact.
- Text marketing: Consumers are tied to their mobile devices, making text message marketing an extremely efficient form of communication. Modern SMS campaigns have become very sophisticated, featuring rich content links, audio and imagery. It's also simple to automate and cost-effective to execute.
- Leaflet marketing: Leaflet marketing has fallen out of vogue due to environmental concerns, although some brands have cleverly included seedlings or recyclable paper to mitigate concerns. Leaflets are distributed via letterbox drops or as handouts in highly-trafficked areas.
- Social media marketing: Social media is a powerful direct marketing tool because of the depth of information customers share about themselves online. Think of LinkedIn InMail campaigns or social media discount codes delivered directly to your inbox. Another popular use case is the use of Facebook ads, where you can create highly targeted adverts based on a customer's online profile.
- Catalogue distribution: Catalogs play an important part in omnichannel campaigns. They offer customers a wide variety of products to consider and may influence the customers' final buying decision. It's often found in B2B industries, e.g. catalogues selling industrial or office equipment where large quantities of goods are bought on account.
11. Email marketing
Email marketing is a form of direct marketing that enables businesses to share their promotional messages directly with customers on their contact lists. Email marketing has the benefit of a high return at a low cost, which is why many businesses use email as their most important inbound strategy.
Before consent and personal information laws, marketers could email any email address they had access to without permission - and they did! These days, email marketing is highly personalised with a strong emphasis on targeting and consent. Email marketing is one of the channels that have most successfully used marketing automation to do the heavy lifting and community building.
There are several types of marketing emails, including:
- Promotional emails: These emails promote special offers, discounts, new product releases or gated content like eBooks and whitepapers to the audience. They always feature a clear call to action (CTA) for consumers to take, including visiting a landing page or using a coupon to make a discounted purchase. As with any good email strategy, it's never a good idea to bombard customers with constant mailers. Your email marketer will likely use analytics to determine the correct cadence, but there are many factors that will determine how often emails are sent. You might be able to get away with sending several emails during peak retail periods like Black Friday, but keep several weeks' distance between mailers for the rest of the year.
- Newsletters: Newsletters, as you've gathered from the name, share news related to your business. This could include new milestones reached, product capabilities, or case studies. They are often sent at regular intervals, e.g. weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly to keep in touch with clients and share interesting opportunities. Newsletters don't necessarily have to contain news only. You can use your company newsletter to share insights, thoughts, or even curated content from the web related to your industry with your subscribers.
- Announcements: These mailers may contain information about company announcements, new product releases, changes, upgrades, warnings about planned downtime and more. Email is a great vehicle for communication because it's secure, instant and customisable.
- Re-engagements: Re-engagement emails help brands connect with their customers and remind them to visit the site again, make a purchase, or try a different application of a product they may have purchased before.
There are a few other applications for email marketing. Brands can create highly editorialised content distributed via email, send surveys, or encourage upgrades through targeted messaging. Your email database is extremely valuable, which is why inbound marketing campaigns like content marketing often focus on capturing email addresses.
12. Word-of-mouth marketing
Word-of-mouth marketing, or WOM marketing, occurs when a customer's interest or experience with a company's product is reflected in their daily dialogues. This provides free promotion for the company, triggered by a positive experience.
While companies have less control over word-of-mouth marketing than their own internal channels, they can influence or encourage word-of-mouth marketing through promotions or encouragement, known as seeding. Word-of-mouth marketing generally leads to several follow-on interactions: a customer may tell a friend about an excellent new restaurant they tried, and the friend may try the restaurant and then mention their experience to another mutual friend.
Companies often use social media as a mechanism for generating feedback. They may launch a campaign that asks customers to post reviews on their own pages (tagging the company in the review) in order to enter a lucky draw.
It's common knowledge that people trust recommendations from their friends and family more than paid advertising, which is why word-of-mouth marketing is so important.
Companies that want to generate word of mouth should ask customers to provide direct and sincere feedback and commentary and ensure that they provide excellent customer service at every touch point and interaction with their customers. Some companies offer bonuses to sales or customer service staff who receive excellent reviews or mentions from customers online.
There may be some temptation to fabricate word-of-mouth marketing, but that goes against the code of ethics of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA). WOMMA encourages brands to be honest when eliciting or leveraging word-of-mouth marketing by disclosing the relationships, acting honestly, and disclosing their identity when approaching customers.
Word-of-mouth marketing tactics include brand loyalty programs, giveaways, contests and sponsored influencer programs. eWOM of electronic word of mouth refers to digital information specifically, e.g. social media recommendations, online reviews, and influencer-generated content. It also extends to reviews left on Google, Amazon, Yelp, Nextdoor, Tripadvisor and social media pages like Facebook and Twitter.
13. Event marketing
Event marketing is a promotional strategy that requires face-to-face contact between brands and customers at physical or virtual events, like conferences, seminars or trade shows. Each event is different, with a different audience and set-up. Companies can host their own events (awards, seminars, lectures) or attend large-scale events hosted for their specific industry (trade shows, conferences).
During the event, companies try to build awareness and capture prospect details, e.g. business cards or emails, so that they can follow up afterwards. When companies host their own conferences or webinars, they capture the prospect's details through sign-up and RSVP pages.
Examples of event marketing include:
- User conferences: Conferences typically have a theme relevant to the industry, with networking opportunities, guest speakers and displays. Companies that host their own events establish themselves as industry leaders and have control over the agenda and speakers.
- Pop-up shops: Pop-up stores are temporary stores that use innovative strategies to lure customers to their business. Pop-up stores are typically set up in high-traffic areas, like shopping malls.
- Networking events, mixers or hackathons: Networking aren't always industry-specific, but they do offer a hub for people with shared interests to come together and mingle. It's a great opportunity to promote the business to external parties or to strengthen relationships with stakeholders.
- Lunch-and-learns: Customers are invited to lunches where they can learn more about your business. These events are usually not promotional in nature but instead position the company as an expert by showcasing a case study or teaching a skill to attendees. It offers the potential to build community and earn trust.
- Fundraisers, auctions, and raffles: These events are fairly common for non-profit entities, although companies may host fun runs or raffles within the community to raise funds for their favourite charity and build goodwill with their target market.
14. Guerilla marketing
Guerilla marketing uses surprise tactics or unconventional methods to promote a product or service and get the word out in a particular location. It's a great way to drive publicity and brand awareness by evoking surprise or wonder. Whatever you do, guerilla marketing should be creative, fun and unusual to grab attention.
There are a few subsets of guerilla marketing, including:
- Outdoor guerrilla marketing, e.g. adding elements to existing landmarks or putting up temporary artwork in public. GoldToe underwear promoted their new undergarments by putting a giant pair of briefs on the charging bull statue in New York as part of their guerilla marketing campaign.
- Indoor guerrilla marketing uses a similar tactic but in indoor locations like train stations or shops. One example of indoor guerilla marketing was when the Rijksmuseum hired actors dressed in Renaissance clothing to re-enact the famous Nightwatch painting in a busy mall.
- Event ambush guerilla marketing leverages the audience of an event that is already in progress to promote a brand in a noticeable way (with or without permission from the organisers). Sasha Baron Cohen famously crashed several events at Milan's fashion week to promote his movie, Bruno.
- Experiential guerilla marketing can use any of the tactics above but requires the public to interact with the brand somehow. In one example, the producers of the Deadpool movie created a fake Tinder profile for Deadpool and sent free tickets to his "matches".
15. Search engine marketing
Search engine marketing or SEM is the practice of promoting a business or its products using paid advertisements on the search engine results page or SERPs. We've already discussed pay-per-click advertising or sponsored search results, where advertisers bid on keywords in order to appear alongside results for relevant search queries. These ads are available in a number of formats, from small text-based ads to visual product listing ads (PLAs).
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is another important component of search engine marketing. SEO is different to PPC because businesses do not pay Google for the traffic or clicks they receive. Instead, the company earns their space on the search results page by offering relevant, keyword-rich content. There are five different types of SEO:
- On-page SEO or on-site SEO
On-page SEO refers to SEO activity carried out directly on the page or site. This may include optimising ranking factors like meta descriptions, keywords, meta titles, headers, images and more. On-page SEO requires detailed SEO keyword research and quality SEO content writing.
The SEO marketer may also use tactics like internal linking or metadata optimisation. Internal links are URLs to lead to other pages on the website to keep users on the site for longer, or links to high-authority pages in the industry.
Metadata is an important part of your ranking strategy. This comprises a meta title, clickable text that appears in blue as the heading of an article, whereas the meta description is the short sentence that appears right below the meta title on the SERP. The keywords in the metadata boost your page rankings.
- Off-page SEO or off-site SEO
Off-page SEO refers to the activities that take place outside of the website to improve rankings. This includes guest blogging on platforms that you do not own to drive referral traffic from a higher authority page, Internet ads, or press distribution.
- Technical SEO
Technical SEO refers to SEO activities that improve the site and make it easier to navigate. This may include improving the load times of the site, ensuring that the site is mobile-friendly and responsive, or improving the taxonomy and layout. A technical SEO expert can also spot errors in the code that may prevent your site from being indexed by Google.
- Local SEO
Local SEO is location-specific SEO that deals with rankings in a specific geographic area. This can be an excellent source for link-building and organic search. Local SEO rankings are often linked directly to your Google My Business profile. The profile can be optimised by adding business hours, services rendered, proximity, reviews and more.
SEO is a complex task and not always easy for beginners, which is why many companies outsource SEO to technical experts that can perform a site audit and keyword research.
Marketing makes customers aware of your products and services. It engages them and convinces them to buy your product. Marketing can also create and maintain demand, keep a brand relevant, foster a reputation of expertise and innovation, and help companies gain an edge over the competition.
Some of the benefits of marketing include:
- Gaining the ability to extend your reach in your market
- Targeting the right audience at the right time, using the right media
- Improving engagement and communication with clients at various stages of the buying process
- It's easy to track and monitor
- It helps businesses get to know their customers
- It can increase your revenue and drive sales, both directly and indirectly
Most marketers will use at least a few of the tactics in the list for promotions, depending on their budget and goals. It’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the various options and to keep experimenting until you find the most effective tactic.