Let’s talk marketing. Whether you’re comfortable with your plan, struggling to be heard, or have no idea either way – it’s time to get strategic. Marketing initiatives thrive when fueled by creativity. And Marketing initiatives need to stay fresh – which means YOU have to stay on your toes.

This week on our C3Workplace Thought Leader Summer Series, Rachel Durkan, Owner & Founder of Paradigm Marketing & Design shares her insights on the best ways to liven up your strategic marketing initiatives:

8 Ways to Liven Up Your Strategic Marketing Initiatives
By Rachel Durkan
President & Founder of Paradigm Marketing & Design

Small and medium sized business often look for creative (and more affordable) ways to enhance their marketing initiative.  With a little creativity, a lot of strategic planning and a thorough execution strategy, any business can create unique and effective marketing initiatives that will grow their brand and grab customer attention. Outlined below are 8 ideas to help you liven up your marketing initiative.

  1. Embrace user-generated content

In the age of social media marketing – content is king. Everyone wants to produce something that will grab consumers’ attention and better yet cause content sharing.


  • Millennials spend 5.4 hours a day with content created by their peers
  • This represents 30% of their total media time
  • User generated content is 20% more influential on purchasing decisions


  • Share personal stories
  • Exchange ideas
  • Encourage customer interaction

Case Study:

Estee Lauder has become a leading brand in creating personal and intimate connections with their consumers. Estee Lauder’s international Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, launched in 2014 became a campaign devoted to self-empowerment, self-pride, and self-confidence. The Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign enables Estee Lauder’s consumers to share their personal stories about the struggles, frustrations, and successes in overcoming breast cancer.  This intimate communication between Estee Lauder, their current consumers, and potential consumers enabled their customers to interact through a platform that not only shares their stories but also spreads awareness for a greater cause.

  1. Partner with allies to drive content marketing

A partner can be anyone who has a similar target audience as you.


  • It’s better. As marketers, we can create better content if we’re willing to partner with others who know the audience perhaps even better than we do. Two heads are better than one.
  • It’s faster. Most content marketing is a slow-grow strategy. But brands that partner with other brands see much more rapid success with the content they create because of cross marketing initiatives.
  • It’s cheaper. It’s much less expensive to share with one another’s audiences than it is to advertise.
  • Increase consumer reach

Case Study:

Let’s go back to Estee Lauder’s promotion for a moment.  Their partnership with the Breast Cancer Foundation cause, created a much greater reach for Estee Lauder. By partnering with a well-known and inspiring organization, Estee Lauder is increasing awareness for the Breast Cancer Foundation while in turn increasing brand awareness for themselves by reaching the Foundations constituency.

  1. Collaborate with influencers

You can achieve this through…interaction with your customers and product reviews.

Case Study:

Lowe’s Home Improvement allowed top designers and mom bloggers to take over their Instagram account for a few days.  By allowing these influencers to share inspirational content, Lowe’s was able to tap into a new audience and access these top blogger’s fan base.

  1. Help customers solve a problem


  • Provide exclusive offers that make their lives easier
  • Listen and respond to your community

Case Study:

Orca Chevrolet in Brazil ran a campaign where they partnered with a local tow company and rescued stranded drivers in their new car models. This endeavor solved a problem for the customer and gave them a chance to test drive the new Chevrolet leaving them with a positive emotional experience and a good memory related to the brand.

  1. Use humor


Consumers are statistically more likely to remember an ad that makes them smile or laugh. They associate that favorable emotional reaction to your product, service or brand. Be funny with caution…make sure your brand humor is appropriate.

Case Study:

This commercial by Dollar Shave Club is an excellent example of how humor can elevate a brand.


  1. Use big data


Using data to target specific customers under certain circumstances can help to leverage timely opportunities. Large data sets that may be computed are able to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions.

Case Study:

Red Roof Inn uses cancelled flight information to send messages to stranded travelers informing them of room occupancies.

  1. Tap into nostalgia


A recent study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that people who were asked to think about the past were willing to pay more for products than those who were asked to think about new memories; another experiment showed an increased willingness to give more money to others after recalling a nostalgic event.

Case Study:

Recently, Coca Cola announced the revival of surge, a citrus-flavor soda they discontinued 12 years ago. It was discontinued because frankly, it is awful in my opinion. However, the bubbly beverages bring back memories from 12 years ago. There is even a Surge Movement on Facebook of fans who lobbied to bring the drink back – it now has 150,000 likes.

  1. Story telling

Story telling is one of the most effective methods in marketing.


  • Stories are more memorable and can produce an emotion (as well as invoke nostalgia)
  • You can promote your story across various platforms and tell different pieces of the story to ensure it is better received since people will be doing different activates when they hear about the story and associate new emotions with it and the brand.

Case Study:

Axe’s Susan Glen is a great example of a modern story that was shared across various media platforms. Axe tapped into the memories of the girl who got it away. Instead of just repacking the content, the same story was told differently on different channels, and on social media. There was also a 60-second film, interactive billboard at Times Square, and unbranded memes. You can view one of the commercials here.

As you begin to leverage one or all of these strategies in your current marketing strategy remember that every marketing initiative is meant to compliment and reinforce your overall marketing goals (elevate the brand, produce a return on investment, introduce a product, etc.).  An integrated marketing effort complimented by any of these initiatives will prove most successful.

Rachel Durkan low res-1

Rachel Durkan is the founder and owner of Paradigm Marketing and Design which provides full service marketing support including strategy development and execution, and creative services. Rachel launched Paradigm initially as a website design/development agency but quickly identified a need in the market place for comprehensive marketing support services.  Paradigm is unique in that it integrates a client’s entire marketing strategy to be cohesive and ensure that each marketing initiative (brand development, website design, communication initiatives, etc.) supports the strategic plan to produce a long term return on investment.

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