10 Modern Marketing Strategies That Work! (You won’t believe 3#)

Picture demonstrating famous icons like twitter Facebook and snap chat.
Picture demonstrating famous icons like Twitter Facebook and snap chat.

What is modern marketing, how is it changing, and what strategies can you use to boost your brand?

The short answer to all of these questions is the one we all know already: modern marketing is engagement.

But this is where it gets interesting, because this simple answer conceals a profound truth: in the world of modern marketing, what we want to know is what it takes to engage the customer. What strategies can we use, and how can we use them?

As it turns out, modern marketing is a complex landscape of advertising, a dynamic mix of cutting-edge new strategies and old strategies which have become new once more. From email to direct mail to events to earned media, modern marketing is nothing if not a dynamic, multi-pronged quest to get the customer’s attention.   

Modern Marketing Strategy 1 Email

Laptop showing email being sent.
Email can still be effective

So, here’s the story: a potential customer visits your site – we’ll get into why they might be visiting your site later – clicks through a couple of pages, makes a mental note to follow up later, and… forgets. They might have turned into a regular, too, but they forgot, and there was nothing to prompt them to remember.

What went wrong?

The clue is here: “There was nothing to prompt them to remember later.”

A great way to prompt someone to remember you exist later is to email them. This is why it is so important to have an email marketing list and prompt every person who visits your site to join it.

You can do this with a simple, attractively-presented message, a la “Sign Up to Receive More Info and Updates About [Thing],” but why not sweeten the deal a little bit?

Maybe you have a regular email newsletter which offers invaluable advice about your field: “Sign up to get the industry’s hottest takes on [Thing]!”  

Or perhaps you could offer people who sign up to your email list a free ebook: “The Complete Guide to Buying [Thing]!”

Perhaps you’re feeling unsure if email marketing is for you? Need an incentive, or at least a little more info?

Email is not only the number one communications channel, it also produces a staggering ROI: people who buy email-marketed goods spend 138% more than those who have not received email offers, and an average ROI of $38.00 for every $1.00 spent, with one in five companies reporting more than $70.00 ROI for every $1.00 spent.    With these stats in mind, there are some good ways to get the most out of your email marketing campaign. If you follow these steps, you’ll go a long way toward creating an impact.

Email Step 1 . . . Personalization

Drawing of a man that has obvious taste for all things "Hipster"
Man that has obvious taste for all things “Hipster”

This one should be easy enough. Who wants to read an email addressed “Dear Sir/Madam”?

Personalizing by using the first or, depending on circumstances, last name, is a good way to start things off on the right foot.

Email Step 2 . . . Imagery

antique reel to reel movie projector showing images
Imagery is attention grabbing

Offer people interesting graphics, rather than a mere wall of text to wade through. An email that has some good imagery will do a lot more for you than one that simply asks customers to read a message.

Of course, a key aspect of this is that imagery can enhance your message. Imagine someone checking their email and getting your message first thing in the morning, when they’re still waking up over coffee.

Few of us really want to read through a lot of text when we’re still waking up, but an interesting image or two is likely to grab our attention and help us understand what the email is actually talking about.

Email Step 3 . . . Responsive Design

Indy Car driving at high speed, with motion blur in the image
Responsive Indy car driving at high speed

This one is super-important. If someone clicks on your email on their phone, it needs to load a mobile version, not the desktop version. This is called responsive design: the email is responsive to whichever device the person is trying to load it on.

By the way, it may be worth noting that some 67% of emails are read on either a smartphone or a tablet.

Email Step 4 . . . Call to Action!

The words "act now" in bold, carved into wood
A call to action creates urgency

This should be a no-brainer, but we’ll say it anyway: your emails all need to have a point, and that point needs to be expressed in a call-to-action that is appropriate for what you are selling and what your target market needs.

After all, if you’re like most people, you’re inundated with more emails than you know what to do with on practically a daily basis. For your actual or potential customers, the difference between mass-deleting your emails and hanging onto them is likely to come down to the effectiveness of your call-to-action.

Modern Marketing Strategy 2
Social Media Marketing

Image of several devices demonstrating social network usage.
The concept of social networks, blogs and online communication.

With world-wide popularity, highly specific targeting filters available, and platforms that are basically free to use, what’s not to love about social media marketing?

Social media marketing may seem like a no-brainer: get your company on all your favorite social media platforms and start putting out content and targeted advertisements.

With social media, though, the catch is that because everyone is doing it, there’s an incredible amount of information out there. As with the rest of the internet, it’s very easy for people to tune out all sorts of things that don’t proactively grab, and hold, their attention.

Let’s look at some ways to make sure that your advertisements stand out and get you the attention of the people you’re after.

Social Media Step 1 Pick Your Platforms

Well-known social network brand's placed on 3D sphere
Where is your perfect audience? Start there first!

In this age of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Snapchat, it may be tempting to jump on every platform, or at least several of them, and have at it.

Don’t do this.

Not all platforms are created equally, and not everyone likes every platform. Indeed, the demographics of different platforms vary considerably. To give an example, Facebook and Instagram are both particularly popular with women, while LinkedIn is popular with men.  

Take the time to figure out which platforms your prospective customers are hanging out on, and target those platforms.

Think of this as picking your platforms.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, and potentially Instagram are good business-to-consumer (B2C) platforms, while Twitter and especially LinkedIn are better for business-to-business (B2B). 

Social Media Step 2 Create Audience PersonasCC

Image of businessman holding globe, with miniature business people standing on map
Know who your customer is . . .

As you research the people who are, or who might, follow you on social media, you should be able over time to create audience personas (aka buyer personas, customer personas) that describe them.

Who are your core target groups, demographically speaking? Male or female, what age group, what level of education, income, and interests?

The better you become at answering these questions, the better you will be able to succeed at social media marketing.

Here it’s worth noting that as with email marketing, personalization is very important for social media marketing, so audience personas are key. Over half of consumers always expect companies’ offers to be personalized, and among millennials that figure climbs to more than two-thirds.

Creating a good audience persona starts with research. Look at your current demographics, your website and social media analytics, and look into what the competition is doing (perhaps they know something you don’t).

Second, spend some time identifying consumer pain points on social media.

Social listening is an important tactic here: take the time to see what people are saying about your product, competitors’ products, and keywords relevant to your business. Your goal here is to really capture the mood of what people are saying, and why.

Once you understand that, you can respond with that in mind. Do something, large or small, in response to the information you have gathered, and then see whether this changes the social media chatter about your product, and if so how.

Now that you’ve identified pain points, look at customer goals, the inverse of pain points. What are your customers trying to achieve, and how can your brand help them?

Understand these things and put them all together, and you will have effective audience personas.

Social Media Step 3 Choose Your Metrics

Doodle showing timeline, cost, strategic goals for measuring results
Decide how you will measure your results as your strategy evolves and progresses

Who doesn’t want to be popular on social media? Having lots of followers and lots of likes on your content are two important signs that you’re doing something right with regard to reaching people and getting them to interact with your content.

With that said, that’s not the whole story, either. Doing social media marketing well means going beyond these “vanity metrics” and choosing better metrics to give you a sense of how your brand is doing on social media.

So, which metrics? The answer is engagement metrics, which actually measure how well people are engaging with your content. A major one is post reach, defined in terms of the number of users who actually saw a given post.

Another one is clicks, the number of times your content was clicked on. If you look at clicks, you will have a clear idea about how people are moving through your marketing funnel.

Engagement itself is a metric, defined in terms of the total number of social interactions divided by the total number of impressions. Who interacted, and was there a good ratio out of the total reach? Figure that out, and you’ll be well on your way to understanding how you are perceived. Finally, look at hashtag performance. Which hashtags associated with your brand or industry are the most popular? Which ones show the closest associations with your brand? Which ones created the most engagement?

Social Media Step 4 Have Engaging Content

Girl with magic wand, making laptop and content come to life
Your content should speak to and move your perfect prospect to action!

This may be a no-brainer, but it’s worth repeating anyway: social media marketing is all about good content. The better your content, bearing in mind all of the other things we’ve discussed, the better your chances of reaching and engaging people.

If you’ve followed the other steps, you should be in a good place to figure out exactly what sort of content is likely to be engaging and relevant to your target audience.

With that said, it’s a good rule of thumb and starting point to create content that is a good fit for whatever brand personality you’re trying to convey.

If your content reflects your brand personality, it will most likely resonate better with viewers and create more engagement. And, too, if people become used to seeing certain kinds of content, then there will likely be a positive reinforcement effect.

Attitude and affect are a huge part of this: if people expect your brand to be “sporty” and “cool,” post things that reinforce that image. Ditto if they expect you to be “snarky” and “funny.”

One particularly memorable example of this came earlier this year, in the instantly notorious-but-uproarious Twitter feud between Jimmy’s Famous Seafood in Baltimore and advocacy organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Baltimore is a city known for its crab-based cuisine, so when PETA put up billboards urging people not to eat crab, there was bound to be some backlash.

Jimmy’s Famous Seafood, a family-owned restaurant that has been a Baltimore fixture since 1974, decided to respond to PETA with a series of mischievous and taunting tweets, even calling the organization out.

As other users chimed in, Jimmy’s became increasingly saucy, dishing out snarky comments to detractors and roasting them along with PETA. The result was a social media firestorm which has entered internet history.

Modern Marketing Strategy 3 Direct Mail

Man at his mailbox reading a letter he just received.
People still read their snail mail!

Mailing a physical document to a prospective client in the age of Facebook marketing may seem as antiquated as Morse code or even carrier pigeons, but in fact, direct mail marketing is making a comeback.

In the early days of the Digital Revolution, the brave new world of marketing online allowed many companies to get a great deal of exposure and leads for very little investment: banner ads that cost a mere few dollars could generate hundreds of leads, and Google clicks could be had for pennies.

Because it was so easy and so cheap, much of the marketing was sloppy – not that this particularly mattered, because the companies were still making money hand over fist. Over time, however, the online ecosystem has matured and become more complex, and with that maturation, online marketing has become increasingly expensive.

At the same time, customers have been inundated with information. While this does mean they no longer need to rely on salespeople for information about products they wish to buy, it also means they see so many advertisements that it’s much harder for any one of those advertisements to stand out.

For many companies, one important solution is to switch back to direct mail, sending marketing literature directly to the customer’s physical mailbox. This approach can work in combination with online marketing, too.

And so, like the worm Ouroboros eating its own tail, direct mail is back because of the very thing that drove it practically to extinction in the first place. It declined because of the Digital Revolution, but thanks to digital information overload, direct mail is once again one of the best marketing strategies out there.  With this in mind, let’s look at some effective ways in which to do direct mail marketing.

Direct Mail Step 1 Use the 40/40/20 Rule

Arrow with word "success" written on it hitting bullseye
Work smart not hard!

The 40/40/20 rule states that success comes from three elements: 40% of it comes from choosing the right audience, another 40% from providing a compelling offer, and the other 20% from the creativity of whatever it is that you are sending out.

Defining your audience is particularly important with direct mail. After all, you’re going to be mailing a lot of people: you don’t want to waste time and money mailing the wrong ones.

Instead of blanketing a zip code or neighborhood with a direct mail offer, target your mailing to the people you’re actually trying to reach. In other words, focus on who your audience are, and what you can do to help them. Once you know who they are and what they want, develop a mailing list and then come up with a great offer to engage their interest.

Direct Mail Step 2 Thou Shalt Be Creative

Female hands holding a Creative autumn flowers bouquet on florist workspace table background with opened envelop , shears , pencil, top view.
Creativity invites curiosity and intrigue!

While creative design falls under the 20% section of the 40/40/20 rule, it is still vitally important to be creative. If you aren’t creative, whatever you send will get junked, and that will be that. 

This rule certainly comes in handy in many other areas of marketing, too, but with direct mail, it’s essential if you want to minimize the chances your prospect will throw away whatever you send them.

And, crucially, the beauty of direct mail is that you can be creative. Customized postcards, foldable origami, and interactive letters that require the reader to do something to reveal a message are all options.

Direct Mail Step 3 Send Out a Newsletter

Woman reading physical newsletter from her mail
A newsletter through the postal mail looks and feels more official!

Like an email newsletter, a physical, direct-mail newsletter addressed to a specific person and looking distinct from anything else in the mailbox may be all it takes to reach a prospect.

When done well, the beauty of such newsletters is that they don’t look and seem like advertising, but rather like education-entertainment pieces.

A newsletter with personal stories and a friendly tone, perhaps a joke here and there, will not feel like advertising to a prospect. The fact that it will not feel like advertising is precisely what they will find winsome about it. Sending out such a newsletter can create the perfect context in which one can send the prospect a postcard, handwritten note, or even a birthday card that contains an offer.

Modern Marketing Strategy 4 Blogging

Girl sitting at laptop with doodle icons all around her head
Let your passion spill over to connect with other passionate people in your field

There are a few very good reasons to be excited about blog marketing, or business blogging:

  • Establish yourself as a credible authority
  • Essentially free to do
  • Can facilitate SEO
  • Draw interested visitors to your website
  • Potential for posts to go viral and bring in lots of business

Clearly blogging is a marketing strategy with a lot going for it, though it also takes some ongoing dedication and work to make sure you stay relevant. Here are a few key strategies to use.

Blogging Step 1 Make a Blogging Plan

A woman leaned over papers, with her glasses in her hand, and a stack of notebooks on her left
You know the old saying “Failing to plan, is planning to fail”

If you’re going to do blog marketing well, you’re going to need a blog marketing plan, and the first element of your plan should be what you are going to share on your blog.

There are a lot of options here. Depending on what your business is and who you are trying to reach, you might share knowledge, tips from your experience, stories and anecdotes, relevant news stories, or some mix thereof.

A key aspect of your blog marketing plan should be on defining your niche. To be sure, much of this will depend on what it is you are marketing.

However, if your blog is to be a success, you will need a niche that is broad enough to have mass appeal. Define your niche and come up with a content strategy that will help you to stand out from the competition.

One other thing to think about is the tone of your blog. Blogs tend to have a certain conversational bent to them, but the tone that you take will need to be a good fit for your brand image and the people you’re reaching. Look at those factors to determine whether you should be quirky and offbeat or straight-laced and all business.

Blogging Step 2 Post or Perish

Blue jeans NEW word drying on a clothesline
Read and listen to articles and podcasts that will inspire you to keep posting!

So, you have your new blog, set up on the platform of your choice and with your official logo and everything. What now?

The first thing you’ll want to do is put up several posts in short order. This will start your blog off with a bang, and it will provide readers with multiple things to read. No one wants to visit a blog with one or two posts sitting there, lonely and forlorn.

Once you’ve established a nice foundation of content several posts thick, you can embark on a regular blogging schedule. With our tongues somewhat in cheek, we’ll call this “post or perish,” and acknowledge that although you don’t have to blog like a fiend, you do want to try to be consistent. Being consistent is important for your readers, who will appreciate a regular schedule so they know when to look forward to your next post. It’s also good for SEO.

Blogging Step 3 Be Neighborly

Smiling woman bringing food to her neighbor
Get connected to other “Influencers” in your space, and help each other!

As your new blog grows and expands, people will start to comment. It’s a good idea to reply to them and thank them for commenting, and to do so promptly. This is great for promoting lively conversations and increasing traffic. 

One extra benefit for you is that in addition to being good for SEO, comments on your blog will probably provide you with an ever-expanding store of requests for information, feedback, and insights which you can use to inform new blog posts.

Think of the comments section of your blog as a social goldmine, so to speak, and treat it accordingly. Another important step you’ll want to take is to reach out to other, similar blogs and engage with them. You might try commenting on their entries, encouraging your followers to check out their work, and of course, reaching out to them and asking to collaborate and trade guest posts.

Modern Marketing Strategy 5 Influencer Marketing

The right “Influencers” can give you a lot of credibility in a short period of time!

If you’re looking for a marketing boost, there’s nothing quite like having an influential person promote your product. A carefully-selected group of influencers can help you to boost your influencer marketing profile in a way that enhances brand image and exposure to target audiences. 

In essence, an influencer is someone who is popular with a certain audience, someone who is trusted by that audience. The audience may see that person as particularly clever, smart, stylish, attractive, etc. Whatever the case, that influencer is a star, and they may be willing to lend you a bit of their magic in the form of an endorsement.

It’s also true that your influencer could be another brand or organization rather than an individual. In such cases, a partnership in which each brand features the other’s products or services is the common way to go.

Let’s look at a few ways to make the most of an influencer.

Influencer Marketing Step 1 Find a Trusted Influencer

Man on mountain with map in hand, trying to find his way.
The right influencer can give you authority and traffic!

When searching for influencers, look for someone who is reasonably popular on multiple social media platforms.

Fortunately, there are a variety of tools available, such as Traackr and Buzzsumo, to help you find and make use of influencers who fit your brand and what you are trying to accomplish. These tools can help you find an influencer who is right for you, set up a strategy, and measure the results.

Influencer Marketing Step 2 Consider Micro-Influencers

Young man image with the word "Start Up" above his head, and "dream and persistence" at his feet.
Start-Ups and new business are generally more open to new marketing partnerships and more hungry!

Another option to consider with influencer marketing is micro-influencers, people with relatively small followings of between 1,000 and 50,000 people. While their reach is smaller than that of major celebrities and other influencers, some of whom have followings of more than 50 million, micro-influencers tend to have fiercely loyal, highly engaged followers.

The difference is actually quite measurable on Instagram, where users with fewer than 1,000 followers have like rates of around 8%, the highest of any bracket. For the 1,000 to 10,000-follower bracket, that rate falls to 4%, and for the 10,000 to 100,000-follower bracket, 2.4%. Users with 1 million to 10 million followers only manage about 1.7%.

To be sure, larger users still reach far more people, but micro-influencers tend to have a better and more authentic connection with their smaller followings. In essence, it is the difference between connecting with one high-profile celebrity with a large following with very different and diverse interests, and connecting with 100 micro-influencers with much smaller followings that have much more focused interests.

For example, when Sarah Ware of Markerly partnered with the Jenner and Kardashian sisters on Instagram in order to promote a weight-loss tea company, they gained hundreds of conversions. This makes sense: between them, the Jenner and Kardashian sisters have a tremendous Instagram presence.

However, when they worked with 30 to 40 different micro-influencers with smaller but much more focused audiences than the Jenner and Kardashian sisters, Markerly was able to reach higher levels of conversions. Granted, reaching out to that many different micro-influencers is more work than reaching out to the Jenner and Kardashian sisters, but leads to more engagement.

Modern Marketing Strategy 6 Create a Video Tutorial

Young vlogger recording video doing christmas decoration
If you create a tutorial that’s more complete than other tutorials, you could get a lot of traffic!

People like to learn new things, particularly in an easy-to-follow format like video. Why not put together a few video tutorials to appeal to them and get out the word for your business?

Chances are, there’s something people want to know that you can teach them. After all, you’re in business to solve problems of one kind or another – we all are. Find something you can teach people to do, turn it into a video, and upload it onto YouTube.

Here are a couple of suggested steps:

Video Tutorial Step 1 Find A Relevant Pain Point

Focus on addressing your prospect’s fears, and solving their problems!

What can you teach, given your line of work, that will help people to solve some kind of problem and overcome some kind of pain point? You might identify a common mistake people make with your product – and perhaps with other, similar products in the same industry – or you might identify a problem people have that your product or service can help them to solve.

One way to think of something is to consider the kinds of problems people will have that will send them to Google. If you come up with an idea, consider turning it into a search query on Google, i.e. “how to ___ a ____” to see if people are talking about it.

If you can identify a search query that generates a lot of results, so much the better.

Video Tutorial Step 2 Be Useful and Interesting

Three colored conference presentation banner set with scientific forum press conference and welcome to innovation forum descriptions vector illustration
Help your prospects see and prepare for the suture before it arrives.

This is two pieces of advice wrapped in one, but in essence, your overall presentation should be not only useful in helping people to solve a problem but also genuinely interesting.

Practically anything can be presented in a way that is interesting, or at least more interesting,

If you’re merely useful, you may get some exposure, but not as much as you’ll get if you’re useful and interesting. Be creative, upbeat, and fun, and your tutorial will stand out from the pack.

Video Tutorial Step 3 Don’t Skip Any Steps

Businessman standing on steps with briefcase.
Never assume everyone knows the basics. Always review, and be thorough and complete.  

You’ll want your tutorial to be thorough, and that means really walking people through whatever you’re teaching them one step at a time. If you can delineate several clearly-defined, easy-to-understand steps, so much the better.

Remember, the average person doesn’t understand whatever you’re teaching the way you do. Boil it down for them and show them in a way that is easy to understand, step by step. If you do this well, your steps will be memorable and will reinforce each other.

Modern Marketing Strategy 7
User Generated Content and Interaction

"User generated content" carved in wood with a cup of coffee.
Allowing your audience to contribute to your blog or site, will likely increase interest, authority and traffic.

In the age of social media, selfies, and personalization, there’s nothing quite like user-generated content. One survey of 839 Millennials found that they spend 5.4 hours per day with content created by their peers, and that such user-generated content is 20 percent more influential on their purchase decisions than other media are.

For that matter, an Adweek report found that 85% of users who were surveyed found user-generated content more influential than brand-created content.

User Generated Content Step 1
Find Something Users Care About

Content Marketing on a Video Wall as Digital Concept
Pay close attention to kudos and complaints to figure out what your users want, and give it to them!

Aerie is a women’s clothing company that decided to take a stand on the issue of editing and retouching photos of fashion models, and the impact that these photos can have on the self-esteem of women and girls who view them. 

If Aerie had simply taken to Instagram and pledged to no longer retouch photos of models, they would have had a great campaign. To be clear, they did this, but they didn’t stop there, and that’s what makes this campaign a work of pure genius: they asked users to post unedited pictures of themselves under the hashtag #AerieReal, and for every post, donated $1.00 to the National Eating Disorders Association.

User Generated Content Step 2 Tap Into the Conversation

silhouettes of men and women talking, with chat bubbles above their heads
If you listen close, your prospects will tell you how to sell them!

A big part of why Aerie’s campaign worked was that they were already paying attention to what people were talking about, not only on social media but in general. If you pay attention to these conversations, you can sometimes tap into something that is already trending, and possibly give it a boost.

When Tourism Australia saw the hashtag #SeeAustralia trending on social media, they realized they had an opportunity on their hands. They responded by highlighting Australian travel experiences, bringing together people who had traveled to Australia and those who were thinking about it.

Another good example is Netflix, which finds and promotes fans’ social media posts about various shows and movies to boost excitement and interest in premieres. A good case in point was Stranger Things Season 2, which led to nearly 1 million Instagram posts with the hashtag #strangerthings2, and earned the status of most-Tweeted about streaming series. Netflix used some of these posts in its own marketing efforts.   

User Generated Content Step 3 Showcase User Talent

3 talented dancers
If it’s interested to you, it will be to your audience as well!

Showcasing user talent goes with the territory where user-generated content is concerned, but it’s worthwhile to emphasize this aspect of it: user-generated content in marketing is not only about hashtags and shared posts, it’s also about talent.

Adobe used the hashtag campaign #AdobePerspective to highlight the creative work of artists and content creators who make use of Adobe Suite. This is genius, because it provides people with a chance to show off their work that also showcases what someone can do with Adobe.

Another example comes from National Geographic, the iconic magazine, which launched a #WanderlustContest hashtag campaign in 2015. The campaign encouraged people to post photos to get the opportunity to win a National Geographic photo expedition to Yosemite National Park. The result: an immense, interactive slideshow featuring photos sent in by users.

Modern Marketing Strategy 8 Growth Hacking

Growth Hacking Website Improvement Tactics 2d Illustration Shows Breakthrough Ways To Improve Websites Traffic
Always be thinking about the future effect of each marketing action!

Growth hacking is a term famously coined by startup consultant Sean Ellis back in 2010, to describe a problem he faced whenever he left a startup for a new venture. Ellis helped startups like Dropbox achieve phenomenal growth, but almost invariably found it hard to find someone to fill his shoes when he left.

Ellis eventually realized that he was packaging the position as a job for traditional marketers, but modern software products differ from traditional products in their nature and in their distribution.

Because of this, Ellis needed to find someone with a very different mentality from a traditional marketer. Instead of someone who was concerned about budgets, expenses, and conversions, he needed a growth hacker, in his words: “a person whose true north is growth.”

Growth hacking is a growth-focused approach to marketing, and it is most applicable to startups. Neil Patel provides an excellent example of the growth hacking approach from long before the internet: the massive growth of McDonald’s at every interstate highway exit in the 1950s.  

In essence, McDonald’s knew where customers were going to be, so they invested massively in getting a presence there. So, how to take advantage of this approach? Let’s start with the basics

Growth Hacking Step 1 Have a Scalable Product

Image of graph of growth. Scaling up.
Create systems that can help you grow more easily, by automating your processes, and allowing you to more easily train future team members.

In the old world of marketing, products are bought, consumed, and then bought again. In the new world, things can be more complicated.

Take Dropbox, for example: the company provides a “product” in the form of cloud storage. One can even get free space by inviting one’s friends. Traditional products, i.e. shampoo, couches, etc. don’t work this way.

And then there’s social media. Products like Facebook and Twitter can sign up a theoretically infinite number of users, are free to join, and work better the more people there are using them. App-based ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are also excellent examples. The product is the app, which can be downloaded infinitely, and the sheer number of registered automobiles – 260 million as of 2015 – and drivers means that these products are highly scalable.

Growth Hacking Step 2
Customer Feedback and Regular Improvement

Business quality service customer feedback, rating and survey with happy and not smiling face emoticon symbol and icon on badges button with copyspace.
Customer feedback will give you an edge over your competition . . . IF YOU LISTEN!

While it’s vitally important to have a scalable product, it’s also essential to have a desirable product, and the key to that from a growth hacker perspective is to get feedback on the product as quickly as possible, and then regularly improve the fit between product and market.

A cautionary tale that demonstrates the importance of this principle is New Coke. Launched in 1985 as a bold new challenge to Pepsi, New Coke has gone down in the annals of marketing infamy. New Coke’s sin was, of course, that it was a poor market-product fit: Coca-Cola’s original beverage had attained iconic status as a sentimental brand, and the new version of the drink broke the brand promise.

On the other hand, there’s Instagram. The founders of Instagram originally tried their luck with an app for whiskey fans called Burbn, a play on bourbon. Users could do a variety of things with Burbn, from checking in at a location to sharing pictures of whiskey.

The key problem with the app was that it was too complicated, with too many features that made it confusing. What creator Kevin Systrom found, working with programmer Mike Krieger, was that about the only feature people were using was the photo-sharing feature – in fact, that feature was rather popular. 

Realizing they were on to something, the two doubled down on the photo-sharing part of the app and took a good hard look at what the competition was doing. In particular, they noted that photo-sharing app Hipstamatic had good filters, but not a good photo-sharing feature. On the other hand, Facebook was the dominant force in social networking, but the iPhone version of the app was also not good for photo-sharing.

Their solution: an app that was easy to use and made social photo-sharing convenient as well. And so Instagram was born, and has been growing rapidly since.

Growth Hacking Step 3 Content Is King!

content is king - writing, blogging and publishing concept - handwriting on a napkin with a cup of coffee
Content marketing takes time, but it’s cheap, effective, and lasts a long long time, if it’s kept up to date!

Content marketing, whether in the form of a blog, Instagram campaign, or what-not, is a vitally important way in which to do growth hacking. Content is king, and that means blogging and/or other content to drive exposure.

It also means thinking outside of the box. There’s content marketing, and then there’s content marketing with a growth hacker mindset. 

Take Hotmail.com, for example. In the late 1990s, Hotmail added the text “PS I love you” at the bottom of every email sent, with the text linking back to the home page. This helped them add more than 12 million accounts in less than a year.

While the Hotmail text was a footer, ironically it demonstrates a vitally important principle of growth hack content marketing: write great headlines.

The viral content site Upworthy.com has built an empire on shareable content. For every post, they write at least 25 headlines, pick two, and do an A/B test. This usually produces a clear winner. Another important strategy here is to make content more shareable. Rather than waiting until the end of an article and providing users with the standard social media sharing options, add Click to Tweet calls-to-action that will get users engaged before they even finish the article.

Growth Hacking Step 4 Personal Branding

"never undervalue yourself" painted on a brick wall
Your knowledge and (eventually) your name are more valuable than you think!

Personal branding is not only great marketing in general, it’s also a fantastic way to enhance growth hacking – just ask Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, or Richard Branson.

Sophia Amoruso, founder of Nasty Gal Vintage, had a colorful “crust punk” youth spent hitchhiking and, on one occasion, stealing a George Foreman grill. After getting fired from a San Francisco shoe store in 2005, and having to take a desk job to get the insurance coverage to fix a hernia, she decided to take a stab at selling vintage clothing online.

This colorful backstory has practically become a mythology. Amoruso was new to e-commerce, but she was observant, she was a tenaciously hard worker, and she had a keen sense of branding. Where her competitors used “woo-woo bohemian names,” Amoruso named her venture Nasty Gal.

Building up inventory was a challenge, but Amoruso put in the legwork to develop relationships with people who could get her access to rag houses, i.e. warehouses of donated clothing rejected by the Salvation Army. Finding vintage clothing that buyers would want badly enough to pay top dollar for was a challenge, but Amoruso discovered that tracking the rise of popular search terms could allow her to predict what people would want to buy.

Because she was initially selling on eBay, which had very strict character and image limits at the time, Amoruso had to become an expert at presentation. She recruited models off of MySpace, and paid them in hamburgers to model her clothing.

Amoruso’s hard work, diligence, and personal branding paid off. Nasty Gal Vintage is now worth more than $100 million, and has a global reach of 150 countries.

Growth Hacking Step 5 The Right People

Business People In A Hole Vector. Society Behavior Concept. Isolated Flat Cartoon illustration

Be customer centric!

This one may seem to go without saying: obviously you’re going to think about target market, right?

Here’s the thing: from the growth hacker perspective, it’s essential to find specific target segments, small, highly-focused audiences who will find your product to be exactly what they are looking for.  

In essence, all new products have to pass through the life cycle known as the law of diffusion of innovation.

For a product to become successful, it must be picked up by a segment of people known, for these purposes, as innovators, the roughly 2.5% of the potential user population who like to seek out and adopt new things before anyone else does. It must then become popular with the next 13.5%, the early adopters.

In essence, those two segments will make or break your product. Either innovative people with very specific wants and needs will pick up your product and spread it to everyone they know, leading to other people picking it up and passing it along, or they won’t.

Finding who will be in that initial segment means constructing a profile of your ideal customer. Figure out who will get the most benefit from your product. Try to describe an actual, real person, and go from there.

Modern Marketing Strategy 9 Networking Events

Business Event Meeting with Executives Discussing Topics
Networking is a great way to form new partnerships!

Marketing with networking events, such as tradeshows, conferences, and seminars, is popular for one simple reason: it provides an occasion for many companies in one industry to congregate and showcase their wares. 

This is a pretty considerable advantage, because it allows you to interact with other people in person – perfect for creating connections. And since these shows tend to be well-attended, they offer fairly target-rich environments.

With this in mind, here are a few tips for making the most of these shows.

Networking Events Step 1 Use Event Platforms

Businessman standing on stage and reporting for audience

Event technology platforms, chief among them Eventbrite, provide an effective way to engage with event marketing. Not only can they alert you about upcoming events, they also provide systems for creating, promoting, and hosting them.

Event technology platforms are becoming increasingly automated with familiar extensions like MailChimp and SurveyMonkey, and that makes it much easier to organize your own event, communicate with people ahead of time, and follow up with them after. You can even publish your event to Facebook and integrate with Hootsuite to promote it.

Networking Events Step 2
Use Technology to Promote Engagement

Man with digital screens floating above his hands displaying technologies
Always try new and innovative tools to stay on the cutting edge of technology!

Engaging attendees with technology is an exciting growth area of event marketing. From gamification to social walls to people discovery and content sharing, the event marketing field is burgeoning with new technologies for engaging attendees and encouraging them to come to your next event.

Networking Events Step 3
Establish Relationships with Sponsors

Two confident business man shaking hands during a meeting in the office, success, dealing, greeting and partner concept
Don’t just advertise with anyone, and don’t allow just anyone to advertise with you. Make sure your sponsors are a good fit!

The right sponsors can help you to provide a better, fuller, generally more interesting experience for your attendees. Sponsors can provide you with money to finance advertising, and they can also potentially provide you with the kinds of connections that can help you draw more people.

If you are in the market for new sponsors, the key thing to keep in mind is that sponsors are going to be interested in your audience, and your credibility with regard to reaching that audience. After all, that’s their incentive for sponsoring you, should they choose to do so.

What you want is sponsorship from companies that offer a good brand fit: the people who are likely to listen to you are also likely to listen to them, and the brand association will be a reasonable one.

Networking Events Step 4
Offer Something Genuinely Interesting

Several red arrow with the word Same fall into an abyss but one successful green arrow with the word Different rises to win a competition, symbolizing the power of new unique ideas and innovation
Don’t give a cookie cutter pitch, to try and take a piece of the existing market. Take a new approach and cater to a different segment to create your own unique market!

This may go without saying, but if you’re going to do event marketing, make sure you’re offering people something they really want.

If you’re hosting a tradeshow, which companies and key figures will be there?

If you’re hosting a conference, what engaging speakers and educational workshops will you have?

If you’re hosting a seminar, what will you be teaching your attendees and having discussions about?

Articulate a clear value proposition, and users will know exactly what they can expect to get out of an event and why they should attend.   

Modern Marketing Strategy 10 Earned Media / PR

Stack of newspapers tied with a string
To get free press, either be controversial or charitable!

For our 10th and final strategy, we’ll close with something fun: earned media and PR, aka marketing done about you by other people.

Earned media is simply media attention you have earned by virtue of being somehow newsworthy. So long as the news about you is fairly optimal, earned media can be a fantastic way in which to enhance your credibility, precisely because it takes the form of someone else writing about you.

So, how do you get other people to write about you? Here are a few ways.

Earned Media / PR Step 1 Seek Out Influencers

Ah-ha, we’re back to Strategy 5! That’s the great news about earned media: if you cultivate influencers, it is entirely possible to generate earned media. With this in mind, how will you approach influencer marketing, now that you know that a key part of what you’ll want from an influencer is for media outlets to pick up the story?

For that matter, even the influencer writing about you is technically considered earned media – they’re a third party, so technically what they’re providing you is earned media.

Earned Media / PR Step 2 Events Also Generate Media

We’ve seen above that event marketing can be a great way to get audiences. It can also be a fantastic way to get earned media, particularly if you have sponsor money to spend.

The key to generating earned media through events like trade shows is to create and distribute content of your own. If you can do a presentation on a brand-relevant topic that is also helpful to the audience, so much the better.

Earned Media / PR Step 3 Be Friendly with Journalists

Cultivating warm relationships with journalists in magazines, whether in print or on the web, can go a long way toward generating more opportunities for interviews. Journalists tend to be selective about who they write about, so going beyond the bare basics to connect with them on a semi-regular basis can reap dividends in favorable earned media coverage.

Earned Media / PR Step 4 Engaging Content

As with so many other strategies, engaging content can be enormously valuable for earned media. From user-generated content to video tutorials, engaging content is the kind of thing that tends to be newsworthy. Produce something new and exciting, or highlight the unique contributions of your audience, and you may attract earned media buzz.

Modern Marketing Strategy 11 Telemarketing!

Telemarketer Having fun at work

You had to know this was coming! Telemarketing is one of the best marketing strategies you can use for lead generation, and it can lead to huge profits. Together with email, telemarketing is responsible for 78% of direct sales in which the prospect chose to take an appointment or attend an event and later chose to buy the product or service on offer.

Telemarketing is of course consumer direct marketing done by phone. While everyone thinks of telemarketing in terms of telesales, i.e. selling to prospects by phone, in actuality it includes the complete range of marketing activities.

The great thing about telemarketing is that it allows for conversation in real time, and you don’t have to be in the same room or even in the same country as the person you’re talking to. If done well, telemarketing can be very powerful.

With this in mind, here are a few important steps toward good telemarketing.

Telemarketing Step 1: Know Your Prospect

One of the most important things that separates good telemarketing from bad is the approach the telemarketer takes before contacting the prospect. Instead of making a series of calls from a farmed list, a good telemarketer will take the time to figure out who might be a good fit for the product or service they are selling.

Good telemarketing is highly targeted, meaning the telemarketer is not simply calling someone out of the blue and offering them something.

Instead, they are going to the trouble to find the right people to sell to, and then approaching them with an offer that is more likely to be of interest than if they simply contacted random people.

One particular benefit of this lead generation approach to you as the telemarketer is that it eliminates people who are less likely to be a good fit. If you’re going to engage in telemarketing, it’s in your interest to carefully select who you approach ahead of time.

Telemarketing Step 2: Customize Your Pitch

If every sales situation is unique, and you take the time and trouble to know your prospect before reaching out to them, then it only stands to reason that you would want to make your pitch a customized one.

Instead of a rote script, a good telemarketer will take the time and effort to customize the pitch based on what they have been able to discover about their prospect.

Customizing your pitch means you have taken the time to understand the company or organization you have reached out to. You know who you are talking to, the business they are in, and some of the situations and challenges they are likely to face.

This approach encourages the prospect to see the telemarketer as someone who is knowledgeable, who understands them, and who may well have a solution to an actual problem the prospect has.

It’s not hard to see why this approach can be so powerful: it is addressed directly to the prospect, and is therefore more likely to provoke a sense of connection and interest.

Telemarketing Step 3: Confident Approach

Telemarketing that proceeds from a foundation of good research and customization should be confident. You’ve already done a fair bit of work in the lead generation process by pre-screening your prospects, so you should be confident as you approach them.

The problem with bad telemarketing is that those agents call so many people in such a short time, without proper research and pre-screening, that they end up speaking in a very rote and formulaic manner. It sounds inauthentic, and all too often they attempt to substitute gimmicky pushiness for confidence.

A good telemarketer, on the other hand, is engaged in a highly effective consumer direct marketing campaign. Because they have taken the time and trouble to choose their prospects carefully, they have every reason to be calm, collected, and confident when they’re on the phone.

Tone is almost everything in communication, and as a rule people respond much better to a person who sounds confident and capable. This is why it’s so important to have a good self-presentation on the phone.

Telemarketing Step 4: Solid Telemarketing Script

After everything we’ve said about customization, talking about a solid telemarketing script may sound counter-intuitive. Isn’t the whole point of telemarketing a unique approach for every prospect?

Yes, of course it is – but you also want some guidelines. That’s what a good script is: a set of guidelines providing a general structure for the conversation.  

As a case in point, your script should start by presenting the benefits you are offering. This is a good general rule of thumb for any sales situation. You can improvise at need, of course, but benefits-first is a good approach for any customer.

Telemarketing Step 5: Be Ready for Questions and Objections

When you make your pitch to a prospect, you will almost certainly get questions and objections.

Fortunately, part of the beauty of telemarketing is precisely that it can answer questions and rebut objections in real time.

This is why it’s so important to anticipate the kinds of questions that people will be likely to have when you give them your pitch, and have answers ready. This demonstrates confidence and preparation, as well as a deep level of knowledge about what you are selling and the business your prospect is in.

In short, it’s a really good idea.

Of course, prospects will also have objections. Some of these will simply be concerns, and you’ll be able to answer them easily enough. And more than likely, some prospects will want you to talk them into it so they can feel better about spending the money – after all, they weren’t the only ones who thought it was a good idea.

Other objections may be part of your prospects’ attempts to talk you down to a lower price. Here it’s important to recognize that some people will try to get the best deal possible, and be prepared to respond accordingly.

You can highlight the benefits of what you are selling, but a really good way in which to counter objections of this sort is to offer to take something away. More than likely, your prospect will be very focused on what you are talking about taking away.

The beauty of telemarketing here is that it can make for a much more natural conversation than you are likely to get with email or other media for advertising. It’s relatively easy to answer most prospect questions and counter their objections. No wonder telemarketing is such a successful, profitable marketing strategy.


Modern marketing is “modern” in the sense that it is contemporary, but otherwise it refers to a variety of diverse techniques which all happen to be successful for a variety of different reasons.

In this article we’ve looked at putting new spins on such stand-by strategies as email, social media, and blogging. We’ve also looked at novel forms, such as user-generated content, and we’ve even seen direct mail go from dodo to phoenix.

What all of these strategies have in common is that they work, if done right. If you take into account who you are trying to reach, what they want, and how to connect with them, some mixture of these strategies should serve you in good stead.

Of course, we shouldn’t miss the common thread that runs through them all: from email to direct mail to user-generated content and hashtag campaigns, all good marketing works because it gets people’s attention.

Be creative. Think outside the box. Dare to be different, novel, and a risk-taker.

At the same time, dare to get feedback. Dare to ask people to review your product, improve it, and ask them to review it again. Be committed to relentless improvement to increase your fit with your target market.

In this article, we have seen that modern marketing is a constellation of strategies which, if done well, can be very effective. Creativity, daring, and improvement are necessary to use them well, but they are all part of the landscape for very good reasons. Over time, the marketing landscape will shift as new campaigns, ideas, and innovations push the borders of what is possible, conceivable, and desirable. This is arguably the final great lesson of modern marketing: always be thinking about the next move.