It's kind of like dating--that's the bad news. There's a lot of effort involved, and sometimes, there's some humiliation. But when you're an entrepreneur competing for the affections of the world, there's always a new heart and mind to try to win over because attracting customers never ends. So it's no wonder you want to try to bring in a ton of them at once by pulling off a marketing stunt.
The good news is, marketing stunts often work. Throughout history, entrepreneurs have tried to be creative about how they inform the public of their product. In 1903, for instance, newspaper publisher Henri Desgrange started a new bicycle road race as a temporary publicity stunt to promote his newspaper, never imagining that the Tour de France would be going strong more than 100 years later. The Miss America Pageant was created in 1921 as a clever way to attract business and tourists to Atlantic City. The Pillsbury Bake-Off, which was launched in 1949, was intended to be a one-time event, but it's become an annual event for the baking company.
But history is also littered with tales of marketing stunts that ran amok. According to a 1926 Associated Press article, for instance, there was a candy company in Berlin that tried dropping foil-wrapped chocolates on its citizens to advertise their services. But police had to step in after they received complaints of bruises and of children's Sunday school suits being ruined; they had numerous gripes from bald-headed men who were getting splattered with the sweet treats. In 1976, several airlines launched an ill-conceived marketing stunt and began giving away free drinks to coach passengers in order to convince people to fly. It was apparently popular with the public, but passengers weren't the only ones getting hammered: So were the companies' bottom lines as passengers drank up their profits.
In the spirit of helping you learn from other business's successes and failures, we offer our list of 10 marketing stunts that exceeded expectations--and five that badly flopped.
When it comes to marketing over the past few years, things are rapidly evolving. If you have not yet began utilizing the power of mainstream tools like video, social media , and email marketing, you are severely behind your competitors. Many of these tools are affordable and often times free. That means that no business should be left behind.
It is one of my new year resolutions to give back to the businesses who I love and support the most in 2015. I know how this stuff can be intimidating. I've been in your shoes. Here's my first gift to you.
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Marketing Wife-ager at Asset Media Group, Inc.