October 26, 2016 · Tips & Insights

Marketing Tips from 4 Companies at the Top of Their Game



As a doer and a visionary, you put a lot of passion into your product and now it’s time to market it. Marketing is an essential part of any entrepreneurial pursuit – from building an initial audience to raising funds and scaling your business.

Uncover the joy in promoting your idea—take inspiration from these four companies with marketing swagger:

1. Apple

Chances are that you know about Apple, unless you’ve just arrived in 2016 from a time machine. The reason for that is stellar marketing. Here’s what they do well:

  • Keep packaging clean.. When you buy anything at Apple, you know what to expect from the product based on the box alone. The packaging is clean, simple, and easy to open—unlike the tough, sharp plastic on most electronics. The box already tells you what kind of company Apple is before you even turn on your gadget: simple and streamlined.
  • Use simple imagery that conveys an emotion. . Those billboards and online ads show the simple beauty of Apple products. Some Apple ads simply show the product on a white background, letting the design speak for itself. Others make an emotional connection by showing what you can do with the product – like photos shot on an iPhone.
  • Engage fans with gripping events and videos. Apple drums up a lot of excitement for each new iPhone with its keynotes. They create an exclusive event and drive up a frenzy to learn what the latest Apple product will look like. Because it happens on one day, people want to know the latest news so they can talk about it with their friends. The keynotes also include videos that have beautiful, innovative visuals that show Apple’s two key values: elegant design and cutting-edge engineering.

2. Smartwool

Why are customers so excited about a pair of wool socks? First off, these socks are made of shearling that is smooth to the touch. They have fun designs and air bubbles that make them more breathable for activities like hiking.

But for marketing, the socks posed a challenge. Most sporting brands can broadcast their logos on sweaters and jackets, but socks are hidden. To overcome this hurdle, Smartwool tapped into the organic enthusiasm of its customers.

  • Activate your fanbase. For its “Strip to Your Smartwool” campaign, the brand asked its loyal wearers to share pictures of themselves in their socks—sometimes dropping their ski pants to do so. The authentic passion of its customers told a stronger story than the company could on its own.
  • Be yourself and have fun with it. The idea of stripping down to your socks vibes with Smartwool’s personality: The brand is all about outdoor fun. The quirkiness of the idea even matches the spirit of the socks’ colorful designs.

3. Taco Bell

Sometimes, the best marketing campaigns are all about understanding your customers—who they are as people, why they love your brand, and their sense of humor. Taco Bell knows that its customers go nuts for the casual, late-night atmosphere of their food.

  • Know your audience. Taco Bell understands that its customers don’t take themselves too seriously. They eat tacos made out of Doritos, after all. So they’ll tweet fun-loving things like:

taco bell 1

  • Start a conversation. Taco Bell does a great job of responding to people and brands in a way that adds humor and fun to any conversation—just like they hope their tacos add fun to any night.

taco bell 2

4. Red Bull

The energy drink Red Bull caters to people who want to do epic things. To go along with their mission, they’ve created a unique brand voice that dares to be brave.

  • Offer something similar to your product. The benefit of Red Bull as an energy drink is that it inspires you do brave, wild things. The benefit of Red Bull’s advertising? The very same thing. On its homepage, you’ll watch videos of tricks by daredevil BMX bikers, learn about base jumping, and see zany video game designs. All of these activities take courage to do, and Red Bull—as the energy drink and the brand—hopes to fuel your bravery.
  • Plan an event to build your community. Red Bull’s yearly Flugtag event asks everyday people to build a homemade machine to go off a small cliff over a body of water. The contestants are judged on the creativity of their aircraft and their actual “flight.” The machines are weird and wonderful, making the event worth seeing all on their own. Flugtag attracts audiences to watch online and in person as contestants flop over the water. It builds on Red Bull’s brand promise: To give its drinkers the energy and focus to do wild, larger-than-life accomplishments.

As you can see, marketing can be fun if you give your business the space and resources to simply brainstorm. That might mean hiring a specialist in marketing, but it doesn’t have to. Just give yourself the time to get creative.

When in doubt, just ask yourself: Who are our customers? What do they want? Remember, these were the questions that helped you find your product in the first place.

So, what are you waiting for? Check out the Campaign Marketing Workbook and learn how to get started today.