My kids rarely watch television. Now hold it on the “parent of the year” awards; they instead watch age-appropriate purchased digital movie downloads and Netflix’s kids channel. The safety net of these pre-approved, child-friendly programs in scheduled time allowances based on behavior removes my kids’ exposure to typical television commercials. Last year, this was my go-to method to avoid a multipage holiday wish list — one that would surely be updated every 21 minutes or so if they watched standard cable programs.
So, imagine my shock when, in the middle of August, smack dab in the heat of summer, nowhere near the faint ringing of sleigh bells or holiday light displays inside the grocery store, my 4-year-old asks, very specifically, for a “Barbie Dreamhouse.”
“How did you hear about a Barbie Dreamhouse?” I questioned. The small tablet was held up, and the animated Barbie program I had faintly been paying attention to during screen time was, in fact, titled Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse. A quick Google search produced the replica of the house in the cartoon series, down to the furniture, and displayed the same Barbie characters (all sold separately, of course).
Right under my nose, my daughter was consuming content all along. My shock of the holiday gift request was replaced by nothing but sheer appreciation for a transformation of marketing methods to attract the modern 4-year-old in 2019. Because clearly, I’m not the only one whose kids aren’t watching television.
Both the mom and marketing geek sides of me weren’t one bit upset. This was a fantastic example of how brands are adapting to the changes in how customers consume media and embracing content marketing. Why create a 30-second television ad with a catchy jingle when, instead, you can create a multi-episode series based on the main product you’re trying to sell? It was sheer brilliance. And it worked.
Out-of-the-box content marketing comes in many forms.
Here’s another example, literally right under my nose.
I’ve accepted that growing older means caring about things I would easily laugh at 15 years ago. Wondering if I’m brushing my teeth long enough is one of these examples. This led me to purchase an electric toothbrush, which came with an app to time my brushing cycles.
As I’m trying to reach all my teeth gently enough not to prompt the red warning light on the head of the device, I’m browsing through the brand’s app. While timing my brushing sessions, I can casually read today’s news, set up automatic shipments of replacement bristles to coincide with the recommended three-month schedule, review my past daily brushing performance with enough data that could challenge professional sports stats, claim my daily “digital awards” to celebrate a brush well done and even take my picture (with animated filters) while brushing my teeth.
My toothbrush is delivering me content. A chore that was once considered boring but necessary has been transformed into a fully interactive marketing experience, resulting in sales, education (did you brush your tongue today? You missed it yesterday) and engaging content to keep users’ attention for the coveted time needed for a successful cleaning.
We must challenge ourselves to start thinking differently about how and where we reach our audiences.
These two examples of impressive and transformative content should be discussed in all marketing departments, spearheaded by creative leaders.
• How can your company reach its target market outside of the traditional arenas?
• How can your brand create an experience?
• How can your company drive sales without a standard television spot the brand may have relied on a decade ago?
The answer can be as simple as taking a daily task and turning it into prime real estate for content delivery.
Think outside the box. Embrace new ideas. Promote brainstorming. Accept your target audience’s changes, and meet them where they are. Embrace technology. Who would have thought, even just 10 years ago, that a toothbrush would pair itself with a valuable app for a better experience?
I live in marketing day in, day out. And yet, I was surprised and impressed by the latest techniques to grow market share in an ever-changing market. Challenge yourself to explore new opportunities and to share creative techniques discovered, even if they’re literally right under your nose.