2024 is an election year, so brands and marketers can expect the media landscape to become more crowded — and expensive. Because political candidates will be willing to spend a lot of money to get their message in front of voters’ eyes, brands will get the short end of the stick. The already limited airtime and print space will be sold at a premium since so many people are willing to pay inflated prices.
More Cost-effective Ways to Spend Your Marketing Budget
Many businesses have turned to alternative ways to spend their marketing dollars rather than falling back on the more traditional methods of marketing. Although this transition may be born out of necessity, many brands find these alternative methods particularly cost-effective, sometimes even delivering a better return on investment than they may be used to from other forms of marketing.
Some exciting examples of alternative (and cost-effective) ways for a brand to market itself include:
- Pop-up events: Pop-up events are a great way for brands to interact with potential customers hands-on and face-to-face. Some of the most successful, cost-effective pop-up events are built around a pre-existing local event, such as hosting a booth at a convention or even a local crafts fair or farmer’s market. These types of pop-ups have a built-in audience that often aligns with a brand’s customer profile.
- Strategic partnerships: Brands have had tremendous success forming strategic partnerships with others whose goals align. Take Starbucks and Target, for example; the coffee shop and the retailer are not direct competitors but share a common target customer. By placing Starbucks outposts in Target stores, Starbucks drummed up extra business while Target was able to offer increased value to their customers.
- Sponsorships: Although they can get somewhat expensive, depending on the scale, sponsorships can be an excellent way for brands to increase their visibility. By sponsoring events with an audience similar to their target audience, a brand can put its name in front of the eyes of plenty of potential customers.
- Corporate Social Responsibility: Many companies have found success in corporate social responsibility (CSR) campaigns, where they support a cause they are passionate about. Although authenticity is key in a CSR campaign, this approach can show customers that a brand aligns with their values.
Experiential Marketing Helps You Stand Out from the Crowd
Many of these methods fall under the umbrella of — or are often used in conjunction with — experiential marketing, which is the practice of marketing a brand or product by creating an experience for the customer. Compared to traditional forms of marketing, especially advertising, experiential marketing tends to form a deeper connection with the customer because it beckons them to interact with the brand and its message directly and more intimately.
Experiential marketing works because it allows the brand to meet the customer on their level. A strategically executed experiential marketing campaign is targeted to the unique interests and needs of the brand’s ideal customer.
For example, a brand looking for a hip, young audience might consider hosting an activation at a farmer’s market, as they will likely find this type of consumer there. This type of targeting is a great way to show the consumer that the brand shares their beliefs, interests, likes, and qualities and that they are becoming part of the community.
Targeting the Younger Consumer
Another massive trend in the marketing industry in 2024 is a shift toward targeting younger consumers, who now represent an increasing portion of the buying power in the United States and globally. Because this younger target audience is more technologically savvy than past generations, innovative tools like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are becoming increasingly powerful in the marketing sphere.
While virtual events became necessary during the pandemic, many brands gained valuable insight into what worked and didn’t work to form connections with the consumer, and have applied those learnings upon their return to in-person events. VR and AR are other approaches through which the customer can engage with the brand and its offerings.
Many younger customers also connect with short-form videos thanks to the popularity of bite-sized content on social media platforms like TikTok, IG Reels, and YouTube Shorts. These platforms are effective because they cater to the decreasing attention span of younger generations. If a brand successfully creates content that resonates enough with social media users to go viral, these platforms can be a marketing method that is not only powerful but also cost-effective.
Streamlining the Marketing Process
On the operational side of marketing, tools like artificial intelligence (AI) have the potential to streamline the marketing process significantly. Brands can use AI to analyze data, empowering them to make smarter decisions and improve campaign performance, driving increased customer satisfaction and new business. With the unprecedented levels of consumer insights offered by artificial intelligence, brands can improve their marketing campaigns in ways that make them more effective while enhancing their value for the customer.
Similarly, the marketing industry is shifting towards more performance-based strategies. The goal of these approaches is to keep everyone feeling accountable and motivated. Experiential marketing, in particular, must have specific, measurable outcomes to succeed.
For example, a brand may define success as reaching a certain quota of customers, getting a particular number of individuals to sign up for a mailing list, or meeting a set sales threshold. These goals set a clear definition of success for the campaign.
Navigating the media landscape is about to become much more difficult in 2024 for many brands. However, understanding these cost-effective ways to approach marketing can help a brand stand out in the eyes of consumers and form a genuine connection, allowing them to resonate in a more crowded than usual marketplace.