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Newsletter: #969: The “Un-Marketing” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

The best marketing usually doesn’t begin as a marketing idea. The truly remarkable stuff comes from somewhere deeper. When you focus on things that matter — not just the usual marketing stunts — it becomes much easier to get people to talk about your stuff.

Here are some examples of companies doing the opposite of traditional marketing:

1. Surprise, don’t advertise
2. Make a difference, not a promo
3. Count real fans, not just followers
4. Check it out: Live stream of “Let Me Google That For You”

1. Surprise, don’t advertise

Beyonce album release

Photo thanks to Instagram.

When a musician releases a new album, they usually build all kinds of hype first, like putting singles on the radio or doing interviews about the recording process. Beyoncé did something more remarkable for her latest album. She surprised her fans by announcing its release with a simple video on social media — that’s it. No advanced marketing, no warning, just a complete surprise. (And it became the fastest-selling album on iTunes.)

The lesson: People love talking about surprises (much more than they like talking about press releases and commercials).

Learn more: Forbes

2. Make a difference, not a promo

Tsunami relief in the Phillipines

Photo thanks to YouTube.

When filmmaker Casey Neistat was given the assignment to shoot an inspiring promotional video for 20th Century Fox’s new movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, he asked to use the entire budget for the promo on tsunami relief for the Philippines. They said yes. The short film on YouTube showing his journey to deliver the relief has tons of views and even some people saying they’ve changed their minds about actually going to see the movie.

The lesson: A meaningful cause stands out in a sea of movie trailers.

Learn more: YouTube

3. Count real fans, not just followers

Burger King loyal social media fans.

Photo thanks to Creativity.

When Burger King in Norway realized a lot of their Facebook fans were either trolls or just waiting for a freebie, they did something drastic. They offered those fans a Big Mac in exchange for being banned from their Facebook page for life. Giving away your competitor’s product to get rid of social media fans may seem like a bad idea, but here’s why it’s great: They weeded out the people who take the focus off of the fans who matter most — their loyal, engaged customers. Now the brand can build deeper relationships with the people who actually want them.

The lesson: In a world where so many companies rely on shallow fan counts and fake followers, it’s remarkable to see Burger King using social media to be more authentic.

Learn more: Creativity

4. Check it out: Live stream of “Let Me Google That For You”

Let Me Google That For You” has been a great way to make fun of your friends’ easily searchable questions for years. And now, you can watch other people making fun of their friends all over the world in real time.

Check it out: LMGTFY Live

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