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Wordle: 5 takeaways to improve your marketing strategy

I glance rapidly at the phone: eight more hours to go before I can play again. I refrain from looking for five-letter words online, I want to discover the next word by myself with no additional help. That’s the whole point of the game, to challenge oneself and work the brain. And when I guess the word, it’s twice as satisfying since English is not my first language.

What is this game? It’s Wordle.

Wordle was created by Josh Wardle (notice the pun: wardle – wordle), a software engineer with a passion for games, as a word game for the enjoyment of him and his partner.

He released the game to the public in October 2021 and saw it going from 90 players to 45 million players in the first week of January 2022.

New York Times acquired Wordle on 31 January 2022 when Josh felt the game, with its overnight success, began to be too much for him to manage.

About Wordle: game rules and statistics

  • The game challenges users to guess a hidden five-letter word in six tries or less
  • The game resets once a day so users have 24 hours to guess the word
  • It’s the same word for everyone
  • No login therefore no user data
  • Free to play, no ads
  • Launched to the public in October 2021
  • Grew from 90 users/day to 45 million users on Jan 26, 2022
  • Sold to New York Times on Jan 31, 2022
  • 1.7 million mentions on Twitter in the first two months
  • Sweden is the world’s best country at Wordle, with the fastest rate at solving the puzzle as per this report
  • Millennials love Wordle: people between the ages of 35-44 make up the bulk of the game’s players per Statista.

 

wordle-usage-stats

Source: Trixabia.com

wordle-best-countries-at-solving-wordle

Source: Word.tips

wordle-user-age-statistics

Source: Statista.com

Can marketers learn from Wordle’s success?

Yes, and I boiled down the reasons why Wordle has become such a global hit and came up with 5 takeaways that marketers can apply to build virality into their campaigns.

Let’s break them down!

1. Wordle has the right amount of challenge

I like playing games like anyone else. I remember playing Space Invaders and GTA fifteen years ago. They were challenging in that they required quick responses and challenged my eye to hand coordination. I played two-three times and quickly lost interest.

On the other side of the spectrum, you have deep thinking games like chess. Although I loved The Queen’s Gambit, and have played chess once or twice, it’s too challenging for me. It requires resources I don’t have among which a lot of patience which apparently I lack.

Wordle is the right amount of challenging: not too easy, not too hard.

The secret lies in the game’s ingenious mechanism: the rules are so that the player doesn’t get discouraged. The game tells you You are correct, there is an E in the word, but it’s not here, find the right place inside the word. With every correct letter and correct location of the letter inside the hidden word, you are gently nudged toward solving the puzzle.

WORDLE MARKETING TAKEAWAY #1

Design your campaign with the right amount of built-in challenging features.

Find ways to encourage and reward your audience at every stage of the campaign. This will keep your audience engaged and wanting more.

2. Wordle’s scarcity feature increases engagement on a global scale

The game is built in 24-hour sessions within which you can play one word only. No matter where you are in the world, one word.

Scarcity is one of Cialdini’s 7 Principles of Influence and Persuasion:

  1. Reciprocity
  2. Commitment and Consistency
  3. Liking
  4. Scarcity
  5. Authority
  6. Social Proof
  7. Unity

 

Also known as The Godfather of Influence, Dr Cialdini is the most cited living social psychologist in the world and a past speaker at BRAND MINDS.

The scarcity principle states that when something is in short supply, we perceive it as more valuable thus fuelling our desire to have it.

In the game’s case, scarcity is present but works differently. Because it’s the same word for everyone, the game sparks discussions on a global scale. New Zealanders, Austrians, Canadians, Bulgarians – people from different timezones, cultures and languages come together to talk about one thing – the word of the day in Wordle.

WORDLE MARKETING TAKEAWAY #2

Whether your campaign features a one-time deal or a limited number of products, leverage the scarcity principle to prompt your customers to take action.

If you can think of a way to have your audience talk about your product or a specific topic your product refers to, you have increased chances to see brand conversations skyrocket.

3. Wordle has built anticipation within the game’s mechanism

What do I do next after solving the day’s puzzle? I look forward to the next puzzle counting the hours until the game resets. Ten minutes before the reset, I open the game and literally stare at the timer counting the seconds until I can work on a new word. That’s excitement and anticipation.

There’s been a lot of talk over the past few years about how brands and commerce, in general, have lost anticipation as a way to engage with customers all due to the instant satisfaction demands from the younger generation.

Amazon brings in billions of dollars in profit with its one-day delivery service. Big retail chains are now providing customers located within a specific radius with a one-hour delivery service.

Depending on the industry, building buzz is something marketers are looking to achieve through savvy marketing, social media and PR campaigns.

If you’re in the events industry, you build buzz and create anticipation with new speaker announcements. If you’re in retail, the fastest delivery wins customers and revenue.

Or if you’re Beyonce, you skip anticipation entirely and just drop the newest album on your fans and replace anticipation with frenzy, as highlighted by Branding Expert Martin Lindstrom here.

WORDLE MARKETING TAKEAWAY #3

Launching a new product or service? Unless you have the clout of Queen Bey, you need to build anticipation.

Brainstorm ways to create buzz on social media and have your customers waiting in anticipation for your new event. Of course, it’s useful to have an engaged community so building one should be your number one priority before anything else.

4. Wordle’s sharing feature is a great referral program

After solving every puzzle, users can check their game statistics and see how their skills have improved with each game. They can also share a screenshot of their just-finished game on social media and messaging apps. In doing so, users showcase their Wordle skills and can also see how they compare with other players. The letters are hidden so players who haven’t played the world of the day yet are not robbed of their chance to guess it.

The sharing feature accomplishes two goals: users get to show off their skills and the game extends its reach organically.

These are my Wordle statistics. It looks like I’m getting good at it.

It’s what Spotify did in 2016 when it integrated with Facebook Messenger allowing users to share their Spotify songs or playlists directly within a chatbox. This integration accelerated Spotify’s growth through referral traffic with millions of Facebook users joining Spotify.

Airbnb’s integration with the Craiglist platform is now the company’s most famous growth hack. In 2010, looking to access Craiglist’s huge user base, Airbnb built a bot to piggyback the platform. Discover 10 Growth Marketing Tactics To Grow Your Business.

WORDLE MARKETING TAKEAWAY #4

Today’s digital environment makes it very easy for marketers to spread the word about products and services. The challenge marketers face is not technical: if it’s digital, it can be shared.

What marketers need to do to reach new customers beyond brand digital assets is give them reasons to talk about the brand.

If your product delivers more than what the customer expected, they will share it on social organically.

If your brand set out to manage the sharing process, build a referral program where you decide the what, the how and the why.

What do customers get for sharing your product?

What is the mechanism of sharing?

What are new customers offered?

How simple/complex is it for customers to share your product?

5. Wordle is leveraging the power of social proof

I learned about Wordle when someone shared their stats on Facebook. I didn’t understand what it was at first. I only saw a mysterious white square with green, yellow and grey small tiles. More posts began popping up in my feed from people I knew so I decided to find out what this game was. The shared post didn’t have a link back to the game so I had to look it up on Google. I ended up on the game’s initial website, powerlanguage.co.uk/wordle, and began playing. The game had just earned a new player through the power of social proof.

Social proof is one of Cialdini’s 7 principles of influence and persuasion (you read about scarcity at Takeaway #2).

The social proof principle states that people will look to the actions of others to determine their own.

WORDLE MARKETING TAKEAWAY #5

According to a report by Sprout Social, friends are the ultimate influencers for consumers aged 18-40, with influencers as a close second.

So to get to new customers, marketers need to get their message shared by their existing customers first.

What do marketers need to do to achieve this goal? Begin with the end in mind.

What should the copy write so the social post gets shared?

What should the ad look like so it grabs the customer’s attention?

In his marketing masterclass, at BRAND MINDS 2022 Viral Marketing Expert Jonah Berger shares his powerful toolkit to help marketers persuade their customers.

You will learn:

  • How to design messages, ads and information that people will share;
  • 5 hidden factors that impede change and how by mitigating them, you can change anything;
  • 6 basic principles driving all sorts of things to become popular.

 

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Behind Apple’s product launch event: STORYTELLING STRATEGY

When you think of Apple as a brand – you think of INNOVATION, CREATIVITY and SOPHISTICATED DESIGN, shaped in the simplest way. When you think of iPhone, iMac or iPad, you think of a global brand. However, global brands are not created over night, but with consistency and a lot of strategic decisions that are taken with every single step.

In this particular case, Apple managed to:

  • Create products that most creators around the world want;
  • Design a lifestyle enhanced by the versatility of their gadgets;
  • Build a complex ecosystem that is completely interconnected.
  • And most importantly, they succeeded in creating an incredibly engaged brand culture.

Building a global brand takes years, organising an outstanding event requires knowledge that is applied wisely, through a few strategic decisions.

From this article you will learn more about what stands behind an outstanding launching strategy and what you should consider when creating your own. Enjoy!

 

APPLE INC. – EVENT LAUNCH STRATEGY DECONSTRUCT – Based on the online launch on April 20th, 2021.

ANGLES:

  1. Pre-suasion and how Apple FRAMES the mood of the AUDIENCE in creating a certain positioning for their products;

  2.  How they enhance the BRAND CULTURE, build TRUST and create SYNERGY with their audience;

  3. 3. How Apple leverages the fundamentals of MEMORY PALACE technique through particular scenes.

1. Pre-suasion and how Apple FRAMES the mood of the AUDIENCE in creating a certain positioning for their products:

There’s a very popular concept in the art of persuation, that Robert Cialdini is talking in his books and it’s called pre-suasion.

Presuasion is the practice of getting people sympathetic to your message before they experience it. It’s about all the things that happens before you ask someone to say yes to your proposal.

Regarding this, below you’ll find the PRE-SUATION SCHEME in Apple’s April 20th event. Take a look at it because we’ll go through each point in particular, below:

  1. WORDS & PHRASES:

You’ve probably heard before that the words we use can frame how we think and act. Well, if you think about it in strategy terms, just imagine that the phrases and the words that a brand uses can frame its audience perception and buying decisions.

Apple manages to leverage this insights in an outstanding way and to emphasise this, take a look about how many times they have used certain WORDS in a 1-HOUR event and what are the PHRASES they use in their event script:

1) MOST USED WORDS:

If you look at the words (grey circles) that are repeating in the event script and you count the number of times (green circles) each of them is used in a 1-hour timeline, you understand what are the main takeaways that people leave with, after watching it. And the most imortant role in the whole script stands right at the end, with a 238 mentions in just 1 hour. Take a look below.

The perception of Apple products after watching a launching event.

2) USED PHRASES:

In the same strategic way that they are using particular words to create perception, the BRAND’S PERSONALITY is enhanced once again through powerful phrases that do the same thing. You can find below a few of them extracted from the 1-hour script:

Apple Card Presentation:

  • Our customers are LOVING all the benefits of Apple Card and we believe it’s THE MOST SUCCESSFUL credit card launched EVER.
  • iPhone 12 is THE MOST POPULAR SMARTPHONE IN THE WORLD, and people LOVE its AMAZING features.
  • We’re so EXCITED to introduce a new, GORGEOUS purple. / It looks STUNNING. / It’s ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL.

Apple TV Presentation:

  • Apple TV 4K is now built with the A12 Bionic, bringing a new level of PERFORMANCE that will be a MASSIVE upgrade to your TV.
  • Apple TV 4K brings THE ABSOLUTE BEST entertainment experience to your home.
  • The results can be DRAMATIC, with more natural colors and improved contrast making your TV look better than EVER.

iMac Presentation:

  • There has never been a more EXCITING time for the Mac.
  • And our Mac business has never been STRONGER.
  • Our M1 products have continued to fuel the Mac’s INCREDIBLE growth.
  • M1 has been a GIGANTIC leap forward for the Mac.
  • It has redefined the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini, SHATTERING EXPECTATIONS of what each of them can do.
  • Users have been ABSOLUTELY blown away by their responsiveness and amazing battery life.
  • These Macs demonstrate how M1 can DRAMATICALLY move the Mac forward.
  • The all-new, completely redesigned iMac is MORE personal, MORE POWERFUL, and MORE CAPABLE than EVER.
  • And it’s INCREDIBLEfrom every angle.
  • iMac’s new form is STUNNING
  • So you can see your content in all its GLORIOUS detail.
  • Every image is BRILLIANT and vivid.
  • We’ve taken iMac’s camera, mics, and speakers to a whole NEW level.
  • This camera will make you look like a rock star. In fact, it’s THE BEST camera we’ve EVER put in a Mac.
  • Simply put, it’s THE BEST sound system ever in a Mac, and we can’t wait for you to hear it.
  • And in Apple Arcade, gaming on iMac is BETTER than EVER,with AWESOME and EXCLUSIVE games.
  • ..export your favorite video projects in iMovie FASTER than EVER.
  • You’re going to LOVE the combination of M1 and macOS on the new iMac.
  • And Magic Trackpad, still by far the industry’s BEST, has a refined shape to match the new keyboard.
  • .. the new iMac can DO IT ALL..
  • That’s DEFINITELY magic.
  • With iMac, the possibilities are ENDLESS.
  • ..iMac is THE MOSTpersonal, POWERFUL, CAPABLE, and simply THE MOST fun it’s EVER been.

iPad Presentation:

  • The M1 chip is not just in the Mac, it’s now in iPad Pro. And it’s gonna BLOW YOU AWAY.
  • A-series chips to deliver a POWERFUL and responsive experience that’s YEARS AHEAD of anything else.
  • ..or Xbox game controllers, with haptics, makes playing games on iPad Pro INSANELY fun.
  • With this combination of CPU and graphics performance, the new iPad Pro is, yet again, THE FASTEST device of its kind.
  • ..Signal Processor, and unified, high bandwidth memory architecture make iPad Pro more capable than EVER.
  • The new iPad Pro also allows users to access their content faster than EVER..
  • ..the new iPad Pro is, yet again, the fastest device of its kind. It’s BUGGER than that..
  • And, for our MOST demanding users, a new 2TB configuration gives you ENORMOUS storage capacity,..
  • Making it the FASTEST, MOST VERSATILE port ever on an iPad, or any other device of its kind.
  • This is HUGE! Super fast 5G cellular connections lets users be creative and productive wherever they are.
  • That’s a MASSIVE increase over the 72 LEDs that were in the previous iPad Pro.
  • The result is an EXTREMELY high one million to one contrast ratio.
  • There’s NEVER BEEN a display that delivers this kind of visual experience on any other mobile device.
  • So users can now do things they could NEVER do BEFORE.
  • With this AMAZING set of features, it goes BEYOND any display in the world.
  • When I think of M1 on the iPad, there are truly NO LIMITS to what’s possible creatively. The POWER that’s there… It’s a MONSTER. We can do more. We can make BIGGER canvases and we can do way more with our brushes..
  • Processing power is INSANE.
  • We’re always AMAZED by the new capabilities our developers put in the hands of our users.
  • Of course, you can’t talk about iPad Pro and not talk about the PHENOMENAL accessories..
  • Apple Pencil transforms iPad Pro into an IMMERSIVE drawing canvas and the world’s BEST note taking device by far.
  • An INCREDIBLE value for such an INCREDIBLE device.
  • We’re so excited about the new iPad Pro.
  • This is the most OUTRAGEOUSLY capable and VERSATILE iPad Pro we’ve EVER made.
  • In every way, this is a GIANT leap forward for iPad.
  • We can’t wait to get these new products into your hands and see all of the AMAZING things you’ll do with them.

2) ENVIRONMENT FRAMING

Weather and light have a tremendous importance in setting a person’s mood and Apple marketers know that.

Choosing a sunny day, areas that are bright and warm is always a good technique to transfer a certain mood to your audience.

But it doesn’t stop there, if you pay attention to Apple’s setups, there’s more – especially when it comes to the presentations of their products. Having their products on the centre stage, in a setup that makes them bigger than their presenters highlights the idea of GRANDEUR once again. The message is simple:

They are BIG, they are BOLD, they are THE BEST and you have to have them.

3) VISUAL FRAMING

When it comes to visuals, what we are able to see in most of Apple’s launches (not just the one making this study case) is the VIBRANT COLOURS they use. Enhanced chromatic in visuals is translated as everything that has vibrant colours in our lives, weather is clothes, objects or fruits:

It means FRESH,  it means NEW, it means VIVID.

Furthermore, COLOURS appears to be also the LEITMOTIF of the event and it’s translated through both graphics and sound.

The overall design elements and products:

4) SOUND & MUSIC

To understand how sound effects impact the launching event, you will have to literally watch and listen to it. The underline technique stands in amplifying the whole experience through framing what people hear and they are told. It’s a fundamental tactic used to mentally transport your audience closer to the state you want to create.

Besides the basic sound effects that enhance certain gestures and actions, Apple has also carefully picked the songs for the event and they are the ones mentioned above.

The themed songs:

  • “Every Color” by Foster The People ♪
  • ♪ “Love Looks Better in color” by Lizzo ♪
  • ♪ Let you heart See the colors ♪ – Chemical Brothers

Take a look of the lyrics below and think if they make the audience entering a certain mood:

 

THE EVENT BEGINS WITH:

♪ Let you heart See the colors ♪ – Chemical Brothers

♪ Let your heart ♪

♪ See the colors

♪ All around you ♪

♪ I’ll be loving you, Yes, I will ♪

♪ I’ll be loving you ♪

♪ I’ll be loving you, Yes, I will ♪

♪ I’ll be loving you ♪

NEW PURPLE iPhone ANNOUNCEMENT

♪ “The Candy Man”” by Aubrey Woods ♪”

♪ Who can take a sunrise ♪

♪ Sprinkle it with dew ♪

♪ Cover it in chocolate And a miracle or two ♪

♪ The Candy Man ♪

♪ Because he mixes it With love ♪

♪ And makes the world Taste good ♪

“♪ ‘Cause the Candy Man thinks It should ♪ “

AIRTAG PRODUCT ANNOUNCEMENT

♪ “Every Color” by Foster The People ♪

♪ I can see ♪

♪ I’m caught up Drifting in your rainbow eyes ♪

♪ And I can see Every color in me ♪

♪ I can see every color in you ♪

iMac NEW DESIGN ANNOUNCEMENT

♪ “Love Looks Better” by Lizzo ♪

♪ Sick six piston ♪ 

(presenting the 6 NEW iMac models)

♪ Tiptoe kissin’ ♪

♪ Catcall kittens ♪

♪ Whole milk lickin’ ♪

♪ See my vision ♪

♪ Rainbow smitten ♪

♪ Nobody safe, nobody ♪

♪ You and you and you Can be my lover ♪

♪ ‘Cause love looks better In color

Color me, color me, Color me, color me ♪

Color me, color me, Color me, color me ♪

 ♪ You can be my lover ♪

♪ ‘Cause love looks better In color ♪

THE EVENT ENDS WITH

♪ Let you heart See the colors ♪ – Chemical Brothers

 

5) ENERGY & MOOD TRANSFER FROM OTHER PEOPLE

Daniel Goleman, the world famous psyschologist, said in 2018 on BRAND MINDS stage that:

 “The leader sets the emotional state for other people.”

…and the rule doesn’t not apply only in leadership, but in every relationship dynamic that occur between people. We partially mirror the state we see in the people that are surrounding us. Wether is high enthusiasm, focus, or positivity, when we relate with a particular mood, part of its energy it’s transfered to us.

In Apple’s videos you will always find positive moods that people wear – they are highlighting aspirational states that you want and would be able to reach by acquiring their products.

The message is:

“Life’s most important moments are better with Apple.”

 

2. How Apple enhances the BRAND CULTURE, build PRODUCT TRUST and create SYNERGY with their audience:

1) BRAND CULTURE: There’s no coincidence that all of the event presenters are wearing Apple watches. Brand ambassadors are basically extensions of the company they represent. Wearing or consuming the brand’s products is a core requirement that builds trust in the relationship with the audience, which is fundamental. How could you trust someone that’s recommending you a product if he or she is not using it themselves? – You probably experienced this through influencers’ campaigns.

No need to mention about the gender balance we see in the brand’s experts’ mix, which is a reinforcement of gender equality and racial diversity. These are beliefs that are deeply built into Apple’s foundation of values.

2) PRODUCT TRUST – is built through presenting the products – not using actors, but the experts that have created them. In marketing, this is a social proof tactic, called experts’ approval. Look for them on LinkedIn, you will find them all. The same approach is present – this time – through non-Apple employees in the Testimonials promo for iPad Pro, here

3) AUDIENCE SYNERGY: The idea of Apple products being a part of one’s life is taken farther in their launching events through details most of us do not observe. However, this doesn’t mean, our subconscious minds doesn’t either. Take a look at the scenes below:

  1. There is a whole chromatic setup built in a way that amplifies the idea that the iMac stands in the centre of one’s life;
  2. The boldest colour in all scenarios is the Mac’s – everything else – details and accessories gravitate around it;
  3. The characters’ clothes being in tone with their Mac suggests that the product itself is an extension of their personalities. 

3. How Apple leverages the fundamentals of MEMORY PALACE technique through particular scenes:

The method of loci (loci being Latin for “places”) is a strategy used to recall information and enhance one’s memory through visualisations of familiar spaces. The method of loci is also known as the memory palace, or mind palace technique.

Now, what does this has to do with Apple’s script and storytelling?  You might ask yourself how is it useful since the places they used in the video footage haven’t been visited by their audience? Well, there are certain fundamental parts of this particular technique that are used in their scenes.

But before we go through it, find below the key factors in building a memory palace to better understand the concept:

Let’s assume you choose to learn the KEY PILLARS of a MARKETING STRATEGY;

  • STEP 1: Choose a place that can be easily visualised as the blueprint for your palace. (Your HOME)
  • STEP 2: Walk through your palace to define a route. ( KITCHEN – LIVING ROOM- BATHROOM – DORMITORY)
  • STEP 3: Identify specific locations in the palace to store your information. (KITCHEN will be used for the digital campaigns information; The LIVING ROOM for social media and so on…)
  • STEP 4: Integrate the information you want to remember in a crazy story that takes place in the space you allocated to it. And remember: the more creative – the more probably your brain will remember it.

Apple is using the last 2 pillars in their strategy.

We could actually mention the first step as well – if we consider the fact that the PALACE is the Apple headquarters.  There are a lot of iconic spaces they use in most of their events (2 of them below).

Getting back to their strategy, the technique is simple:

1. Each presenter covers one PARTICULAR FEATURE or PRODUCT;

2. Each time they switch the storytelling from a product/ feature to, the SCENE changes as well;

3. They enhance the memorisation of a particular product through CRAZY PROMO VIDEOS/STORIES:

⚫ See Air Tag’s story here: The challenge of finding one’s keys translated into an Indiana Jones type of quest;

⚫ M1 chip’s importance story here: A story about espionage and the risks one is willing to take for great technology;

⚫ The amplification of iMac’s place in the Apple food chain here: A metaphorical scene of a whale swimming along with the rest of the sea life;

⚫ iPad Pro’s story here: Translated through a video promo projecting its power similar with a rocket launch and a smooth landing on your office with the sound effect of a parachute. Absolutely gorgeous!

4. On top of all the mentioned above, each character that is part of the event’s promo videos is a projection of the audience that Apple is targeting: creative professionals and families. What’s very smart about their strategy is that they are not just recreating with precision their environments, but they are also highlighting with specificity particular apps they are using.

We are basically talking about TRIPLE RELATABILITY:

  1. Targeting through LOOKS – the way the characters are dressed to enhance personality;
  2. Targeting through SPACE – the places that are designed to reflect the target audience’s taste and interests;
  3. Targeting through APPS – the creative processes the audience is involved with;

Take a look below to experience Apple’s MEMORY PALACE in a VISUAL WAY:

6 factors for a smart marketing strategy

Are you looking to improve your marketing strategy?

Here are 6 factors you should take into account for a smart marketing strategy:

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Startup Marketing – 6 factors for a smart marketing strategy

If you’re working for a startup, you probably don’t have a big budget to implement your marketing strategy. Money is tight and that’s why you need to be smart about how you are spending it.

Here are 6 factors you should take into account for a smart marketing strategy:

1. Customer Retention over Customer Acquisition

Every time you get a new customer – oh, such a rush!

It’s vital to earn more and more customers each month, but before you get all excited looking at the numbers you need to also check your retention rates.

What’s the point of getting new customers if a high percentage of them don’t come back the next month?

Just as you have a new customer acquisition strategy in place you need to leverage a great retention strategy as well.

Why?

Because it’s 5-25x less expensive to keep a customer than to acquire a new one.

That’s the reason Slack has 5x more customer support representatives than salespeople (source).

Learn how to use email marketing to boost renewals and scale your business.

Here are 14 customer retention strategies via HubSpot:

  • Inspire with a mission;
  • Empower customers with convenience;
  • Leverage personalization;
  • Speak to your customers;
  • Use gamification and referral programs;
  • Create a divide between you and your competitors;
  • Use subscriptions to bolster the experience;
  • Use experiences to elicit positive feelings;
  • Capitalize on social proof;
  • Educate your customers;
  • Surprise and delight;
  • Offer support on the right platforms;
  • Thank your customers;
  • Apologize when you make mistakes.

customer_retention-min

2. Go bold & unconventional with your marketing campaigns

Remember the 2018 Skittles Super Bowl ad?

Here it is to refresh your memory:

It’s bold and unconventional for sure, but also a little weird and bizarre, but Skittles was able to pull this off because, well, it’s Skittles.

If this is not your usual cup of tea, here are other bold and unconventional marketing campaigns from Burger King, One Strange Rock and UK’SHONA KWELANGA.

What is psychographics?

How to design such creative marketing campaigns?

  • Always have your customer’s psychographics in mind as a starting point.
  • Gather in-depth knowledge of your customer’s pain points, problems and struggles.
  • Open your mind to other forms of creativity.

Go outside the boundaries of your industry or your comfort zone and observe how other artists express their art.

Art is nothing but another tool for self-expression and communication with the audience.

Visit art galleries, observe contemporary art installations, learn about innovative architecture, graphic design and illustration.

You can start with Abstract, a Netflix original documentary series highlighting artists in the field of design.

3. Plan for consistency

Interest is shown in effort; talk is supported by actions and trust is earned in consistency.

D Young

A little delivered consistently over a long period of time goes a lot further than a one time hit and run campaign.

Go back to the drawing board and write your marketing plan for the next year. It’s a difficult task because it requires sustained focus and attention but it will be worth the effort.

Another popular saying is “consistency always leads to excellence”. It also leads to refinement of the product (ie: marketing plan), improved communication skills, it builds your reputation and increases brand awareness.

consistency (2)-min

4. Share your journey with your tribe

Growing your startup is a journey, and like any other journey, it has ups and downs.

Share your journey with your fanbase! Don’t create content, document your journey as Gary Vee touted a few years back.

Sharing your startup’s highlights with your fanbase encourages engagement and increases brand awareness.

Celebrate your achievements together and show them your failures – they will be happy to encourage and support you.

People want to cheer for the startup they love or support. They want to feel connected with the team behind the startup. And you want the same because engagement and support lead to sales.

In his book, ‘Marketing Rebellion’, Mark Schaefer tells the story of how Procter&Gamble lost a huge chunk of market share for Ivory, the brand’s signature soap while spending millions of dollars on marketing and advertising.

Why?

Because the brand failed to make an emotional connection with its customer base.

Other soap suppliers run small operations or family businesses and yet they are able to connect with their customers by sharing their mission, their involvement in the community, their efforts to be a sustainable business.

This is what today’s customer says: “I don’t know if I love this brand, but I love the hands that made it.”

It’s about finding your tribe and keeping a close and authentic relationship with it like Seth Godin says in his book ‘Tribes’:

Two different things: a crowd is a tribe without a leader. A crowd is a tribe without communication. Most organizations spend their time marketing to the crowd. Smart organizations assemble the tribe.

Seth Godin

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5. Blog about your journey

Blogging is good for SEO. Google loves fresh content that is relevant to your audience.

Question is: should you use blogging platforms like Medium or should you self-host your blog?

If you are just starting out, writing on Medium could be the best solution for your startup.

No inspiration? Here is when and what to blog about.

Here is the main advantage: Medium has a higher domain authority than your website could ever achieve which means Google will return articles published on Medium before your website content.

A good example is Slack: they hosted the company blog on Medium before moving it on their domain.

Pros and cons: Medium vs Self-Hosted Blog

Another platform you should consider as a startup founder is Indie Hackers. I found out about this platform from Rand Fishkin who talked about it in one of his LinkedIn posts.

Give it a go and also take into account that you can also sign up to be interviewed.

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6. Connect with your fans and early adopters in real life

There’s nothing more important than human connection: we crave it, it keeps us sane, it improves our life quality and even our lifespan.

Make it a goal to connect with your fanbase, prospects and customers on a regular basis. Ask a few well-thought questions (avoid an interrogation!) and listen to what they have to say.

Connecting with your fans and customers reflects positively on your personal brand and it’s a great way to raise awareness, build engagement and trust.

It’s also a source of inspiration, new ideas for the business or marketing efforts.

And it comes at the price of a cup of coffee so what are you waiting for?

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3 Brands Leveraging Nostalgia In 2018

As marketers, nostalgia is one of the most creative tools we have at our disposal. Many reports have shown that successful brands are those which establish an emotional bond with their customers. Therefore nostalgia is a way to make surprising connections in order to elicit an emotional positive response from our audience.

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Here is how 3 brands leveraged nostalgia in 2018:

1. Google Assistant: Home Alone Again

Home Alone is one of the most iconic movies of the 90’s; it turned 18 years in 2018 and its leading actor, Macaulay Culkin is 38. And still the movie has been broadcast by Romanian televisions around Christmas time for the past 11 years uninterruptedly.

Google uses this particular cultural reference to advertise its virtual assistant to the adults who grew up watching Home Alone.

2. Tourism Australia – Dundee 2018 Trailer

What is Australia known for? Kangaroos, the Aborigines and … Crocodile Dundee, the 1986 movie. The main character, Mick Dundee has everything going for him: character, charisma and a big knife. He also knows his way around ladies, sweeping Sue Charlton, the American journalist off her feet. At the time, the female audience was enchanted by Mick Dundee’s relaxed masculinity and the male audience was charmed by the gorgeous and voluptuous Miss Sue. The movie made a lasting impact on movie-goers and is still a good film today.

Tourism Australia was right to leverage this movie’s huge popularity. The commercial is designed as a movie trailer for a supposed sequel to the 1986 Crocodile Dundee. The ad features many famous Hollywood actors born down under such as Hugh Jackman, brothers Hemsworth, Margot Robbie, Russell Crowe and American Danny McBride in the role of Mick Dundee’s long lost son.

The commercial hit the sweet spot big time! The video has over 3 million views and many are expecting it to become a full-fledged movie!

3. Coca Cola – The Wonder of Us

Unlike Google and Tourism Australia, in this commercial for the 2018 Super Bowl, Coca Cola uses nostalgia in a very discreet manner – if you don’t pay attention, you can almost miss it.

Coca Cola talks to the Gen Xers through their favourite activities and games they were playing when growing up: spin the bottle, playing with colourful balloons, rope swinging above water with your best friend or going on rides in bumper cars.

In this ad, nostalgia doesn’t play a leading role. Nostalgia helps Coca Cola deliver its main message about inclusion, celebration of sexual and cultural diversity, uniqueness, freedom, courage.

Expert’s Statement

Bogdana Butnar, Head of Strategy @Poke (Publicis UK Group) and marketing expert with 17 years of experience shared with me her opinion on nostalgia marketing:

Nostalgia is definitely an interesting tactical territory.

From a big picture point of view, I don’t think building a brand on nostalgia is wise, but you can do some interesting activations with it because Millennials and Gen Z are two generations who actively engage with the past.

Both Millennials and Gen Z have been described as having “complicated” relationships with the present, the former because it’s not allowing them to self actuate, the latter because it’s not what they expect.

Both generations look back with fondness to safer, more solid times when things were clearer and more stable. Gen Zers are particularly known to look up to their grandparents more than their parents or peers. This means that brands that were solid back in the day can hark back to those times to speak to this trust and longing for stability.

On the other hand, on a smaller scale, most of us have fond childhood memories of one brand or the other. We remember the candy grandma used to sneak us when we were visiting, a specific container design that signified we were getting something nice, or simply something that was so common that it became iconic.

All of those can be interesting tactical ways to engage a new audience by appealing to this “madeleine effect” that objects or flavours can have on us. And nostalgia is very easy to “identify” if you’re a brand that’s looking. People tag images of memorabilia, they proactively ”signal” that they miss something so it’s surprising more examples of nostalgia in marketing, through comms, packaging design, special editions etc, are not widely seen.

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Product placement ​as a marketing tool

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Product placement and its meaning have changed during the years, along with its evolution on the market and the growing of new techniques and technologies.

One of the initial definitions comes from Balasubramanian (1994) who defines product placement as a paid message about the product communicated via intended but inconspicuous input of a branded product into a movie (or a TV program). “Consequently, through product placement the viewers’ belief
in a product or their consumer behaviour can be influenced in a positive way. (Hudson and Hudson, 2006) According to the American Federal Trade Commission, product placement is defined as a form of promotion in which branded products are placed into television programs by advertisers for a
certain fee or other consideration. (Powell, Hardy, Hawkin and Macrury, 2009),” said C Journal.

Product placement in Europe has developed under different conditions than in the USA. The main tool for regulation of television in Europe used to be Television without Frontiers Directive decreed in 1989. Later in 1997 it was amended by the provisions regarding advertising, teleshopping and self-promotion of televisions. In 25th April 2017 the European Committee (European Union, 2007) presented its latest vision, now called the Audiovisual Media Service Directive.

According to Brennan et al. (1999),quoted by Research Methodology the idea of the product placement in movies was originated due to producer’s effort to increase the reality of movies by adding to them real brands and products. However, once products started appearing in movies it was followed by increase in sales for that particular product and it caught marketers’ attention as a new promotional channel. “Sutherland (2005, online) claims the origins of the effectiveness of product placement to go back to 1934, illustrating his claim with the film “It Happened One Night”, where the actor Clark Gable was featured not wearing undershirt, which resulted in fall in the sale of undershirts by 40%. However, this example does not really illustrate the efficiency of the product placement, as the author claims; it simply illustrates a significant influence of movies and role models to the audience,” wrote Research Methodology.

Reaching the moment of one of the first product placement successful business stories, according to Karrh, the producer of Reese’s Pieces – Hershey claimed 65% increase in the sales of the product when it featured in E.T., and after that, starting from 1980s, the product placement began attracting the attention of marketers as a strategic marketing tool. After all,many researchers credit the film E.T. and Hershey with the discovery of the potential product placement represents as a marketing strategy.

Some great examples of product placement in the 90s movies can be seen here.

A closer to our times good example would be according to LSM Education, the US TV show Modern Family that integrates brands into its storylines very effectively. “Their episode titled “Connection Lost” takes place on the character Claire’s laptop screen as she attempts to locate her daughter. She does this by communicating with other members of the family through iMessage, FaceTime, and other apps. While the entire episode appears to be a blatant advertisement for Apple products, Modern Family’s executive producer has stated that there was no money exchanged between Apple and the production company.  However, this is an ideal portrayal of Apple’s products, blending seamlessly into the realistic image of a middle-income American family who would be likely to use these technologies. The Apple brand actually helps to create a link between the fictional characters and the viewers: they are alike because they use the same products. Identifying with characters through the brands they use can be a particularly potent form of product placement,” explains LSM Education its point of view. 

But product placement is not effective on movies, but also on TV programs and,nowadays, especially on music videos. “This is driven by the fact that music revenue is becoming increasingly dependant on advertising. The music industry has even embraced “retroactive product placement”, in which advertising is inserted digitally into pre-existing content. Such image manipulation can be performed easily, and has already been used in videos by artists including Rucker, Far East Movement, Avicii and Aloe Blacc,” writes LSM Education

Here are some tips & tricks about product placement that may help you in your marketing strategy.

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