Bigger, braver and bolder marketing – what does that mean for smaller organizations?

With increased content and accessibility to new technologies the market has become saturated and it’s difficult for brands to stand out. As explained by several speakers at the Art of Marketing Conference this past April, consumers are voting with their time and not just with their wallets. At the event they encouraged audience members – who were predominately marketers – to develop bigger, braver and bolder marketing campaigns. They shared case studies of brilliant top notch campaigns from mostly large corporations.

But that’s no surprise. I expect slick, flashy and bold campaigns from the Cokes, Nikes and Apples of the world. They have access to big marketing budgets and to the brightest and best creative agencies. So where does that leave small to medium sized businesses (SME’s)? Can SME’s develop bigger, braver and bolder marketing campaigns?

As Malcolm Gladwell explained in his book, David and Goliath, we have to beat the giant at his own game by playing a different game altogether. So yes, it is possible. But we have to get a little more creative and resourceful.

I wanted to find examples of marketing ideas done right here in my city, Toronto where I’ve experienced and interacted with these brands and have seen the results first hand.

I’ll be sharing more case studies moving forward. Here is the first example of a local organization who has taken a common business challenge and have used creative ways to find a solution to drive sales.

Royal Ontario Museum #FNLROM

The business problem: How do you get millennials to visit the museum to increase your sales?

The solution: Host an after-hours party, of course! The ROM started Friday Night Live (#FNLROM) which is an afterhours party hosted on the last Friday of every month. They came up with a great line-up of food vendors who are stationed throughout the museum exhibits, hired a few DJ’s and bands to play live music, dimmed the lights and hosted the party around fun themes. And the rest is history! Get it? It’s a museum which is filled with historical artifacts…

Anyway, according to a news article, the events attract approximately 2,000 people per event during hours the museum is typically closed and unused.

The museum also generates additional revenue through sponsorship. Recently, Ford signed up as the official #FNLROM event sponsor due to the massive success and attendance.

This idea works because: Some people just assumed that millennials didn’t like going to the museum. That wasn’t the case. They just didn’t like the current product offering. “We absolutely know that the traditional, sedate, quiet walk-and-look kind of art experience that museums have traditionally offered is simply not going to cut it for a younger audience who is used to interaction, multi-discipline, multi-sensory — and in the Internet age, content when they want it and how they want it,” said Kelly McKinley, the Art Gallery of Ontario’s executive director of education and public programming who now hosts similar events to Friday Night Live ROM.

Lesson of the story: It’s worth reassessing and evaluating your target audience. Figure out if you are alienating them due to unfulfilling their needs.

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