Image By Thomas Rockstar

With run of the mill advertising and marketing methods bombarding us an estimated 5,000 times a day, it’s no surprise that consumers are beginning to switch off. After all, you can only see so many payday loan ads before you start to realise how cripplingly poor you really are.

In 2004 Yankelovich president J. Walker Smith discussed the impact of all of these impressions, noting that 60% of people had a far more negative view of marketing than a few years earlier. An even larger 65% felt constantly bombarded by it.

Since then advertising has become even more prominent in our everyday lives, so it’s highly likely that this percentage has leapt even higher. Therefore, to create a positive impression of your brand, it’s important to employ some different tactics to the norm.

So what do you do if you want to stand out from the crowd? Well, why not try one of these three alternative marketing methods?

1) Phygital Marketing

The concept of guerrilla marketing has been around since the 80s, but nearly thirty years after the term was coined a new player has come to town, phygital marketing.

Whether you choose to pronounce it psy-gi-tal or fi-gi-tal I think we can all agree it doesn’t sound pretty, but the concept is actually quite brilliant; Phygital marketing essentially means the creation of an “ecosystem between the brand and the consumer that bridges both the physical and digital space,” – Maggie Lonergan, marketing director at Fortune Cookie. The idea stems from the fact that for many people being online is now a natural state.

Google Glass is the perfect example of phygital technology, as it turns the physical world into a digital realm, but something as simple as a billboard can have the same effect.

Grocery chain Homeplus in Korea took their supermarkets to the streets with these interactive billboards that allowed customers to purchase shopping while waiting for the Metro. Customers simply viewed the images of products, scanned in QR codes and then their groceries were delivered once they returned home. This helped to boost online sales by 130% and allowed the brand to become the number one online retailer in Korea.

Adidas have also hopped on board by deciding to install touch-sensitive walls into their stores, which allow customers to digitally browse their entire catalogue. It’s a clever way of providing an abundance of choice in a restricted space.

So rather than thinking in terms of online and offline marketing, perhaps it’s time to consider a way of merging the two.

2) Student Brand Advocacy

If you want to get your brand in with the “cool kids”, then try using students to promote your products. This is a tried and tested marketing strategy that’s a favourite with the likes of Red Bull, Jack Wills and Student Beans.

The key here is ensuring that your product fits perfectly with a typical student lifestyle. If the product matches well, then other students are likely to sit up and take notice.

There is a certain element of risk with this strategy, so it’s important to carry out the selection process carefully and ensure that the students you pick are truly dedicated to your brand. Some of the best schemes reward their brand advocates with personal-development plans and training in sales and marketing. You could even invite your student rep to the office to make them feel part of the team. Alternatively, pick someone who’s just in it for the money and you’re likely to discover your freshly printed leaflets lying at the bottom of the bin.

Kristin Harp, the marketing manager of US brand Sodastream recently stated that their entire business was built “on the power of our brand advocates”. So while this is a fantastic way for established brands to further their promotion, it’s also a great way for smaller brands to get a foot in the door.

3) Scent Marketing

Scent marketing isn’t a new phenomenon, in fact it’s been around since the 70s, but it’s only now beginning to grow in popularity.

It works due to the ‘Proust phenomenon’, which is a fancy term for a smell causing a particular memory to be recalled. As these memories are often closely tied to our emotions, certain smells can quickly influence your mood. But these aren’t just fleeting memories of Tuesday night at the pub; smells can bring back memories across the decades.

Smells can be a great way to stand out from the crowd, as a study by Rockefeller University in 1999 demonstrated that people remember just 2% of what they hear, 5% of what they see and an enormous 35% of what they smell. In a world saturated with images and sounds, the humble smell stands a good chance of being remembered.

It also appears that certain smells can subconsciously influence our decisions. Floral scented casinos have been found to encourage gamblers to bet up to 45% more (Hirsch, 1995), while another study found that people were 84% more likely to buy a pair of Nike shoes if they were in a scented room at the time (Lindstrom and Kotler, 2003).

Aromas have already been used to good effect in some retail outlets and with scent marketing firm Ambius reporting that it takes just 15 seconds for a customer to decide if they want to stay in your store, it’s easy to understand why. If you’ve ever stepped into an M&M’s World store in New York or London you may have grown curious about how packaged chocolates could produce such a powerful smell, but this scent is a clever way of encouraging people to buy.

Scent marketing is therefore a great way to boost sales, whether you want to encourage customers to linger in your shop or you simply want to leave a lasting reminder of your brand.

Whether you decide to trial one of these methods or stick to something more traditional, just make sure to engage emotionally with your target audience and find a way to stand out from the crowd.

Do you know of any other alternative marketing techniques?