20 Out Of The Box Ideas For Marketing

Marketing seems so simple, doesn’t it?

For tens of years, businesses have turned to cheap and unsustainable marketing materials for the business they love and want people to see. 

There are ideas you can try for marketing what you can do. However, it might not be easy to get people to know about your products or services if you just sat there doing nothing. That’s where marketing comes in which is about using tools or measures to attract more customers to your business.

This ranges from printing thousands of flyers, putting brands across pens and straws using plastic bags and so much more. Unfortunately, people throw away water bottles with branded plastic wrappers. Bags and other stuff get old and stop being used too.

But that’s not to say that these things don’t work. Of course, they do! Marketing and promotional materials work, that is why they are so popular. But, there is a better way to make an impact.

It is important that you shift the focus away from things that people & businesses often do, and look for more sustainable options. If promotional materials are to give clients and customers some insights into who you are and what you do, then it makes sense to put your best foot forward. 

Here are some out-of-the-box ideas about how you can step it up, going forward.

20 Out Of The Box Ideas For Marketing

1. Custom Promotional Gifts

The ultimate goal of marketing is actually to bring in more sales. The first step is to attract more customers. Nowadays, many companies tend to use custom promotional gifts to attract or reward customers when doing marketing.

Popular promotional gifts include custom pins, custom coins, custom lanyards, custom stickers, etc. The company’s logo and name can be added to these gifts during design.

In marketing campaigns, these gifts can be distributed to customers. When they wear or use these items, your business will be promoted among the public as well.

2. Great Content

Creating great content is one of the best marketing tools you have. Infographics that are informative and interesting to look at, work very well.

Here are some tips for content that can make an impact. 

  • Who – if you are writing for everyone, you are writing for no one. People want to read things that are designed for them and them only, you need to keep your audience in mind at all times. Firmly secure your space in the niche. 
  • Templates – legal letters, pitches, contracts, quotes, invoices… name it.  People need these in template form. So create some and have them available to download. SEO them up correctly, and you’ll have a constant flow of potential clients – and their email addresses. 
  • Lists – there is a list for everything. But, the trick is to be the longer list. People also enjoy odd numbers like 7,9,13,23. Always start your title with the number – people know what they are getting straight away. 
  • eBooks – If you have some expertise, then share it. Create an eBook and create a landing page to go with it. If fact if you go through your previous blog posts, you are probably going to find a wealth of content that can be repurposed. 
  • Collaborations – if you need a quick way to double down on content and readerships, then find someone to work with on a really cool out-of-the-box idea. Marketed at both audiences pretty much guarantees that you will pull some decent traffic. 

3. Build on your existing customers

20 Out Of The Box Ideas For Marketing

Customers are very influential in getting more customers, when you put the effort in delivering quality service to them, they can write positive reviews about you as well as post photos of them having a nice time in your business.

You can take a step further in doing such by yourself by taking a personal photo with your customers, posting it online on your social media account and tagging them. You can also share screenshots of their feedback too.

They can market you using word of mouth when they speak to their friends and family. This works well if you own a restaurant, a cake shop or a boutique.

4. Know your customer’s location

Having a catalogue of your customers and where they are can direct you on your marketing strategy. You can place ads on posters in locations where they are more likely to be found.

This can attract others who are more likely to patronize you. For example, a photographer discovered that most of her clientele drank at a particular bar, so she pasted ads in the washroom and had more patronage (source: inc.com).

5. Develop personal connections

20 Out Of The Box Ideas For Marketing

Customers feel important when they are recognized. This can be by addressing them by their first or last names when they patronize you. A step further you can go is by sending birthday messages and wishes during the festive period.

An example of this strategy was used by coca-cola in their “share a coke” campaign, where they printed the most popular names in the country in their cans, and people would opt for the ones that had their names on them.

6. Make your website mobile user-friendly

In this current age, there are more smartphone owners than PC owners who are more likely to visit a webpage with their mobile devices on the go. Someone visiting your website shouldn’t have to click on a ton of links to access the information he or she needs.

Most internet users aren’t patient enough to go beyond the 2nd or 3rd webpage. Hence, your website should not just be for PCs or laptops alone but should be compatible with mobile web applications too.  You should try to develop both for your business.

Additionally, it shouldn’t be bugged with lots of annoying ads that users don’t know where to click to gain access to your product. Avoiding this problem and a couple of others will also reduce bounce rates on your websites.

7. Launch a referral program

This method works when getting people to sign up for your company. Existing customers can get a token when they refer people to your business. This way, the more people they refer the more they get paid.

The new users also get tokens only when they patronize you successfully.

An example is the Zoto mobile recharge app I used back in university, it rewarded people that had successfully registered on their services and conducted their first transaction on the app.

8. Support or sponsor a program

20 Out Of The Box Ideas For Marketing

Sponsoring an event gives you access to a wide range of audience, it also gives a good reputation when you associate with other well-known brands.

If your services relate to students, then you can plan to sponsor popular student activities. During conferences or public lectures, you could also give talks about the issues that matter to your audience while you market yourself in the process.

9. Develop a loyalty program

Loyalty programs reward customers who have been consistent in using a particular service. Most customers would want to sign up for services that offer them discounts or price slashes.

This is a way to keep these loyal customers and attract new customers. An example was the Airtel Loyalty Reward program which gave subscribers points whenever they made calls, bought airtimes or sent texts. These points were further used to redeem prizes.

10. Use paid ads for marketing on social media

It is worth noting that social media is an important aspect for everyone that owns an electronic device, whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, there are a lot of minds you can influence when you use their ad services.

The ads are targeted and can reach millions of users that searched for those particular services you offer. You can add a landing page to the ads in case a user wants to know more about you. If they are impressed, you will have a high conversion rate.

11. Conduct contests and giveaways

20 Out Of The Box Ideas For Marketing

While it may look expensive, this tends to draw a lot of attention from customers and non-customers alike. A contest brings something that your audience will be excited about and creates fun.

By conducting it you can have lots of customer email and contacts which will be beneficial for present or future use such as sending emails or newsletters about a future contest.

To conduct a contest or a giveaway, you must;

  • Highlight the deadline.
  • Make sure that the rules are clear and simple.
  • Choose a platform for the giveaway, there are sites like gleam.io that you can use for local and international giveaways.
  • List the prize to be won.
  • Use a customized hashtag for the giveaway to have wider publicity.
  • Don’t be partial, make it fair.
  • Announce winners at the end of the giveaway.

Using a website like gleam.io works on a point system whereby contestants gain points by following you on ALL social media platforms available and participating actively by sharing, commenting and liking your post.

They also gain more points by introducing more people to the giveaway and also requiring them to subscribe and watch a video on your YouTube channel (if available). The person with the highest point wins. This is a great way for you to increase your customer base online and market your product.

12. Conduct flash sales

out of the box ideas for marketing
20 Out Of The Box Ideas For Marketing

A flash sale offers a short-term discount on a certain product within a certain time frame and it is sold out in a flash. It creates the fear of missing out on a discount on a favourite product which your customers may need.

Thus, conducting flash sales is another way to market your products and gain new customers. To do this, you must;

  • Study your target market.
  • Run social media ads to inform people of the flash sales so that they can get prepared
  • Study the limited products they purchase more and use it as leverage for other products.
  • Choose a maximum time frame. For example, 6-12 hours.
  • Offer discounts on those products they are familiar with such that you don’t run at a loss. They can get to experience the ones they have not previously bought as an option.
  • Prepare for incoming orders and the influx of customers.

An example is the Jumia flash sales that offer discounts on some selected products that people are less likely to buy along with others with a little prize margin.

13. Launch a social media campaign

Launching a social media campaign and using ad services are similar but quite different. As for a campaign, you can tweet about a product with a hashtag and get your followers to retweet it. To launch a successful social media campaign, you must;

  • Define your goals: This is knowing what you want to achieve. You must first decide what your primary and secondary goals are and then list a measure to rate your progress in achieving them.
  • Know the rules of the platform: There are specific rules each platform has that you must adhere to before running a campaign. For example, Facebook has its website guidelines for running promotions and violating them will cause your account to be terminated.

14. Use search engine optimizations

20 Out Of The Box Ideas For Marketing

Most searches online are done with a keyword, be sure to use a unique keyword(s) for your campaign which can be ranked socially. When those keywords are searched, your campaign will pop up on the first page.

For example, if you’re a lawyer, using SEO for solicitors can be an excellent way to target customers searching for your services online. If someone is searching for ‘solicitor Birmingham’ or ‘lawyer Birmingham’, optimising your website for these terms is likely to lead to a significant increase in organic traffic.

Over time, this increase in traffic can create more customer conversions, growing your business exponentially! You can also use low-cost ads on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to supplement your campaign.

  • Create a landing page for your campaign: when users click on your campaign, there should a website that gives them instructions on what to do next. When visitors find it very non-confusing and easy, you will have a lot of conversion rates.
  • Increase your contact with influencers: There are a lot of influencers on a number of platforms that can be hired to make your campaign trend and before you realize it you have gained more customers.
  • Measure your success: During the progress of the campaign or after it has ended, you should review the data gathered to ascertain if you achieved your goal.
  • Conduct a follow-up: While your campaign lasted, you were interactive and responded to posts and tweets. Now that it has ended, it shouldn’t end there. You have their contacts and can use them to build a long-lasting relationship with them. You can ask them if they would like to subscribe to your newsletters to receive information about your services.

15. Offer free samples

If you are new to a business and you want opinions about your product, this is what you should do. Your product gets to face a trial and error stage where you will know if it is viable and if people really liked it. Even you can get help or hire a professional product marketing agency to market your brand.

Offering free samples works pretty well in the cosmetics and manufacturing industry especially if you are a startup. Most people would really respond positively if they are impressed with what you are offering them as free samples.

16. Show appreciation

Customers always like it when their brands demonstrate their appreciation, it is very effective in retaining customer loyalty. Such a show of appreciation can come through a “thank you” note after a purchase.

Special events can also be organized to give your customers a wonderful time whilst unveiling a new product which they also get to test. This makes you keep your customers while also gaining new ones.

17. Create a good first impression

The senses are easily stimulated; people would want to try out a new restaurant, an item of good clothing on display or when it is worn by a friend. The first impression matters too if you need customers. It leaves a long-lasting effect on their perception of your product and service.

This will be achieved when your product has nice packaging, smell and taste (if it is consumable). First impressions aren’t only tailored for just selling a product alone, customers should be impressed when they visit your company. Thus, you should;

  • Have a beautiful, neat and well-ventilated environment
  • Be punctual, manage time effectively and don’t keep people waiting
  • A well-managed reception
  • Courteous Staff (especially the receptionist/secretary who can easily create a good or bad first impression)
  • Good customer service and care lines
  • Clean toilets or restrooms (very important)

18. Be creative with your marketing content

20 Out Of The Box Ideas For Marketing

People generally consider ads annoying when it pops up on their webpage, most especially if the artwork or content is boring. Putting up an animation poster or video can catch people’s attention and create good publicity for marketing your product.

In cases where people find too much talk in an ad unappealing, you can use infographics to sell yourself. It is a graphical representation of the information you are trying to pass when it is combined with maybe a whiteboard animation and a good voice, then you are good to go.

Trying to market your product can be tasking for you when you need customers and there are a lot of things you can do and lots of tools you can take advantage of. Some of them can affect you financially if you aren’t the skilled type but you can always outsource it.

Outsourcing means that you can pay companies to help you market your services with just a little cost and you can focus on making your services top-notch.

19. Ditch Plastic

If you are sending out promotional items to potential clients and customers, it is time to change them up.

Think about metal straws, reusable tote bags, and even herb gardens. There are companies like Earth Friendly Promotions that specialize in eco products that will still hit every single point you need. 

20. Make videos

20 Out Of The Box Ideas For Marketing

Shamelessness might be the order of the day but unless you are already famous, or have a considerable brand, then getting likes and followers take time. If your network often, then you should be making sure your main social tag – the one you are most active on – is on your cards.

Join in on regional hashtags. You might have to do a bit of research to find the one best suited for you, but when you do, make a point of scheduling time to get involved.

Throw in some videos. They are enjoyable to watch, and if you keep them short, and informative with some humour, they might even be share-worthy. 

Now, while you can automate much of your social media, you should be there for this time slot. Collaborating with other local businesses – even if they are competition, talking to customers and other locals. 

You can make your own marketing videos with these apps:

  • Animoto
  • Headliner
  • Typito
  • Animaker

Creative Summary For Your Out of the box Marketing

There are more options than you can imagine when it comes to content creation. So here is a summary of the options. 

  • Host contests/giveaways/ competitions – they encourage sharing and engagement. It is a quick boost, but you are likely to retain many of the new followers and likers. 
  • Try urban style marketing – chalk on the walls and pavements, flyers and posters
  • Create videos – YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Vine are great places to start
  • Pinterest – Hire a pin professional to tackle bumping your traffic from Pinterest 
  • Pop-up – have a quick sign-up option on your website. 
  • 101 – write an excellent long 101, with a lot of information and help for new people in your field. We can help you achieve this by hiring us.
  • Create brand guidelines
  • Interview experts in your field
  • Create and maintain a monthly newsletter


There are many ways that you can keep your customers and clients engaged that don’t rely on cheap plastics and throwaway products.

Good content and being socially conscious & earth-friendly will give you the recognition you need in no time at all. 

Spread the word if this makes you feel good. 😉 

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Post Author: Abimbola Joseph

Abimbola Joseph is a creative content developer who derives pleasure in encouraging individuals to be the best they can be in all relevant facets of life. She believes that we all have a better version of ourselves which can be leveraged to impact others and make the world a better place. Connect with me on Instagram @abimbolajoe.

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