Out-of-Box Marketing Ideas Draw People In

Turnstile Ads a Reminder to Keep Idea Wheel Turning

I remember watching the classic movie “On the Town” starring Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly as sailors in search of “Miss Turnstiles,” the subway queen of New York City. That last image pops into my head sometimes when I visit New York, as I did last weekend. But this time, another image filtered into my psyche—the advertising directly on those metal turnstiles in the subway.

Apparently, a company called Entry Media specializes in this. I’m not surprised that the Washington Redskins are one of the lead images on their homepage. The Redskins’ owner Daniel Snyder has an incredibly successful marketing background. Turnstile advertising seems to be much more frequent than I had imagined. (One of the Entry Media ads pictured on turnstiles is for Levitra; please fill in your own joke here.)

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But the turnstile ads lead to a larger question, “Are you advertising or marketing your products everywhere that you can?” At a recent SIPA Conference during a session on landing pages, I recall the speaker urging people to use the “Thank You” pages to try to lead customers back in—instead of leaving those pages relatively empty. That strategy was credited for several new orders.

Here are some other out-of-the-box ideas that I’ve read about:

The reverse side of your business card – one person suggested to print the names and phone numbers of three of your top customers who will give you great references.

Pizza boxes – Cingular/AT&T ran a regional New York campaign plastering the tops of local pizza shop boxes with its ads.

Trial offers – From Mark Phibbs, senior director of APAC (Asia-Pacific) marketing, and global channel marketing at Adobe Systems: “Every time someone takes a trial, we send an email asking them about it, contrasted with earlier products they have used, etc. This has helped us build closer relationships, and conversions have increased by 10 percent in the early phase (running for a few months).”

Outlet ads – Chase bank introduced stickers adhering to the wall area around electrical outlets in airports. The theory is that business travelers covet gate outlets to use their laptops, charge their phones, etc.

Text message marketing – From a site called ClubSolutions: “Thanks to ‘American Idol’ asking you to text your vote, and every other advertisement these days asking you to “Text now to receive fill-in-the-blank discount,” mobile marketing is currently the new big thing. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Nearly 100 percent of text messages are read, and consumers are addicted to their phone. If a prospect subscribes to receive your email newsletter, on average they’re going to open it less than 10 percent of the time. However, send them information or special incentives via text, and it is a nearly a flawless delivery and open rate. They of course still need to opt into your text subscription plan, but that is very easy to get them to do: ‘Text FREEFITNESS to 123456 to receive a one month free membership to XYZ Fitness!’ You can put this message…essentially anywhere you are already marketing.”

Contests – Hot dog eating works for Nathans every July 4. (It has propelled Nathan’s Famous to seven consecutive years of higher revenues and profits.) Anything you can run a contest for?

And two ideas that may lie a bit too far from the box:

A house? – Yes, take a look. Apparently you can paint your house for advertising and a company will pay the mortgage.

And a local fire department was looking for volunteers, so it created urinal mats to be placed in area bars and restaurants. The message on the mats said, “If you like hosing things down, give us a call.”

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