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3 Non-traditional Growth Marketing Strategies You Should Try

nontraditional marketing

As performance marketing and the ability to accurately measure campaign success has become more nuanced in recent years, it may be a good time to start exploring non-traditional marketing strategies. While Instagram advertising and Apple Search Ads may still feel like a comfortable place to land, spending your entire marketing budget there may not be the best use of your dollars anymore. Alternatively, a well-planned and executed non-traditional marketing strategy could help you stand out against the competition, potentially leading to exponential, and even viral, growth. In this blog, we dive into three non-traditional growth marketing strategies that you should seriously consider in today’s evolving marketing landscape.

1. Influencer marketing

If you don’t already have an influencer marketing strategy in place, now’s a good time to get started on one. According to internal research at Google, around 40% of users between the ages of 18 and 24 are using TikTok or Instagram as their go-to search engine these days, rather than Google’s. That means that instead of Googling restaurants nearby or the best fitness apps to download, younger users are relying on popular recommendations and results discoverable in “visually rich formats”, according to Google’s Senior Vice President, Prabhakar Raghavan, while speaking at Fortune’s Brainstorm Conference earlier this summer.

Influencer marketing has been around for a while now, and it’s definitely not going anywhere soon. In fact, because it’s grown so much and has become such an important marketing channel, many platforms now exist that make it easier for marketers to source influencers, run campaigns, and track their performance. Also, in recent years, social media platforms have created insights tools internally that allow brands to partner with influencers and view their performance metrics right within the app, such as Instagram’s sponsored post feature.

What’s also great about influencer marketing is that it doesn’t need to break the budget. Marketers can sometimes find more success partnering with dozens of micro-influencers (those with fewer than 100,000 followers) at a lower cost per post, rather than one popular influencer for thousands of dollars in a single post. This allows marketers to test content, measure performance, and continuously make improvements without wasting valuable marketing dollars on one hot-shot influencer. Also, micro-influencers often share followers in the same niche, making it possible to establish deeper brand engagement and awareness within your core audience’s community.

If you’re concerned about tracking conversions with an influencer campaign, you can get creative by including affiliate codes or personalized deep links as part of your strategy. This would provide the influencer with a unique code or link that lets you track the downstream performance of their post and its ROI.

2. Affiliates, referrals & ambassadors

Affiliate marketing is another great way to turn your biggest fans into your best marketers. It works by turning a user of your product into an “ambassador” or affiliate by providing them some sort of benefit (eg. free access or a percentage of sales) in return for marketing your product to their peers, friends, or followers. For example, Typeform, the user-friendly survey platform, has an affiliate program where it pays a 20% commission for each new customer an affiliate brings to the platform.

Not surprisingly, this marketing strategy can work well when paired with a micro-influencer strategy, especially if the creators you source end up using your product, love it, and want to continue working with you. And if you already have a large existing community of users, you can send out invitations to “apply”, create a call-to-action inside your product for your most active users (eg. apply to be part of our affiliate program for free access), or even advertise your affiliate program on your website or social media pages. If you’re a new product and you’re looking to build a team of ambassadors as your go-to-market strategy, you can try cold-outreaching people who fit your ideal persona, and offering a free account or other gift in exchange for trying and promoting your product to their audience.

One of the major benefits of affiliate marketing is that, usually, an affiliate is a reliable advocate for your brand because they enjoy using your product and will stand behind your company. Having that level of word of mouth can be invaluable when you’re trying to build hype and attract loyal users or customers. However, it’s also important to be aware that an affiliate program requires time and nurturing to build out your ambassadors, as well as some manual effort to provide unique affiliate codes to each one, track their performance, and keep your ambassadors happy and engaged. But, overall, this marketing strategy could also have major returns with a very small budget.

3. Community-building

This is another non-traditional marketing strategy that lots of marketers underestimate or overlook. These days, building an online community that has come together because of your brand is a hugely beneficial opportunity, both for growth and for product research. Outside of the more traditional social media channels like Facebook and Twitter, plenty of brands are establishing communities in channels like Reddit and Discord, and even building their businesses there, where they can connect with a younger GenZ audience and provide them with a virtual space to interact with each other.

For example, the beauty brand Glossier’s subreddit has over 30,000 members, where Glossier’s team can post product updates, and members can ask questions to the brand directly, or respond to other members’ questions. Discord is another space where brands are seeing success, but not without some serious creativity. Lofi Girl was originally a YouTube channel that offered chill lofi music intended to have on in the background while you’re studying or working — but the brand exploded in popularity growing to over 11 million YouTube subscribers and 700,000 Discord server members. While its YouTube channel was a great place for users to find their music, the brand’s Discord provided a space where its fans could interact and engage with one another, and even join focus rooms together, using the features of Discord to build brand equity and a hugely loyal fan base along with it.

Creating a successful Discord community definitely comes with its challenges, like keeping members engaged and moderating inappropriate content. But those challenges alone shouldn’t turn brands away from this opportunity — using Discord’s features can be a great way to stand out against the competition, build brand equity with your audience, and stay on top of the evolving trends within your niche. This in-depth article from TNW provides some helpful tips for getting a Discord community off the ground.

Conclusion

Building out a non-traditional marketing strategy comes with its challenges, and it requires creative thinking, planning, and lots of patience. But given the opportunities each of these channels may provide, like standing out from the competition, engaging more closely with your audience, and building brand loyalty, it’s a growth strategy any marketer would benefit from exploring.


alanna harveyAlanna Harvey is the co-founder and CMO at Flipd, a social productivity app built for GenZ. In a strategic marketing role, Alanna has been responsible for managing Flipd’s brand and how it’s communicated across the user journey to drive user acquisition, conversions, and retention. Under Alanna’s marketing leadership, Flipd has reached an audience of over 2.5 million users, has been featured on the App Store over 100 times, and was App of the Day in 30 countries in 2021. Over the years, Alanna has led PR campaigns that resulted in coverage from the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Globe and Mail, TechCrunch, and hundreds of top tier publications internationally. She also built and executed a successful ambassador program and scalable influencer marketing campaigns with over 150 influencers from around the world. Outside of her work at Flipd, Alanna mentors startups on their marketing operations and is also a part-time yoga instructor.

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