Effective marketing in the 21st century

In the middle of the 20th century, there were only so many ways to get the message about your product out there. Companies looking to advertise their wares were told by marketing experts that they could choose from TV advertising (still in its infancy), cinema trailers, printed ads in magazines and newspapers, and radio marketing.

In the digital age, the way we consume media (and therefore advertising and marketing) has changed, thanks largely to the internet, and this means new opportunities to promote your products. Below are three 21st century marketing tactics to get your business noticed…

1. Viral Ads are undoubtedly an innovation of the last ten years, and developed from our natural inclination to share funny or interesting things with our friends, combined with the rise of YouTube and other social media channels. In this climate, if a clip catches the public’s imagination, it could be seen by millions (“go viral”) in just a few days, and advertising and marketing agencies have been quick to pick up on this phenomenon.

They were eager to exploit the potential of advertising that’s spread solely by the digital version of word of mouth, as a successful ad could reach a global audience almost instantly for a fraction of the price of more traditional advertising methods.

A good example of this is this ad for Microsoft Office (although you wouldn’t necessarily know it from the clip itself) which has surpassed six million views since 2007. There’s a balancing act to be found with such marketing strategies, so approach them with caution and an expert eye.

2. Product placement has been around since the early days of television, particularly on American networks, where very unsubtle plugs for products (including this logic-defying spot featuring Fred Flintstone promoting cigarettes) were commonplace.

Today, thankfully, product placement is more subtle and more appropriate to the programme or film it’s included in. There is another reason for getting your product within the programmes themselves, as with the increase in popularity of digital recorders and box sets, sitting through ad breaks is becoming an unnecessary chore, so companies understandably want to put their product where it can’t be fast-forwarded past.

The effectiveness has certainly improved, though the costs can be excessive – another one to approach with an expert guiding hand as part of a full marketing strategy.

3. Content Marketing is another way of using the internet to promote your company, and whereas pop-ups and banner ads can be dismissed as irritating and something to be ignored, creating engaging and interesting content around your brand is a great way to connect with an audience.

Having shareable and appealing content on your website leads to more web traffic (and a reason for visitors to return to your pages), and improves your rankings in search engine results pages, without having to resort to artificial tactics that are frowned upon by search engines.

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Ian is the founder of Opportunity Marketing marketing, with over 18 years of experience in successfully setting up marketing departments, creating marketing strategies and implementing these strategies across a wide number of SME companies in both the B2B and B2C sectors through a variety of channels.
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