Note: This article was filed by a paid contributor to Xerox Corporation.

Viral marketing and word-of-mouth are not enough these days to make your product and brand visible in the relentless onslaught of new promotional media out there today. Innovation in marketing is perhaps more important than product innovation.  Yet in the business plans I see, the marketing content and budgets are smaller than ever.

More than just spending, you need to create an “experience” in this digital age which sets you apart from the banner ads, email blasts, and old-school websites out there today. According to a classic book by Rick Mathieson, these have morphed into a digital universe of augmented reality, ‘advergames’, and virtual worlds – that are highly personalized and uniquely shareable.

His title “The On-Demand Brand: 10 Rules for Digital Marketing Success in an Anytime, Everywhere World” characterizes the challenge of demanding attention from a new generation of consumers who want what they want, when they want it, and where they want it. Here are the new marketing rules I support:

1. Insight comes before inspiration.

Innovative marketing starts with customer insights culled from painstaking research into who your customers are, and how they use digital media. Then it’s time to innovate through the channels or platforms that are relevant.

2. Don’t repurpose, re-imagine.

Digital quite simply is not for repurposing content that exists in other channels. It’s about re-imagining content to create blockbuster experiences that cannot be attained through any other medium.

3.Don’t just join the conversation, spark it.

Create new online communities and customer forums, rather than joining existing ones. Ask why it should be, and why customers should care. Then give them a reason to keep coming back. Keep it real, social, and events-based.

4. There’s no business without show business.

Remember Hollywood secrets. Your brand is a story; tell it. Accentuate personalized, own-able, and sharable. Viral is an outcome, not a strategy. Make people passionate and emotional and they will buy.

5. Want control? Give something away.

Several companies, including Mastercard, Coca-Cola, and Doritos have let customers build commercials and design contests, with big rewards for the customer and for the company. That’s giving up control, with some risk, to get control.

Another approach you may remember was American Family Publishers setting revenue records with their sweepstakes and Ed McMahon showing up at the doorstep of multi-million dollar winners with an oversized check and a bottle of champagne. This strategy made AFP a household name and engaged countless people to participate.

6. It’s good to play games with your customers.

Games are immersive, but shouldn’t be just a diversion. They need to drive home the value proposition. Don’t forget to include a call to action leading people to the next step of the buying process.

7. Products are the new services.

Startups need to realize that products are the jumping-off point for building relationships with customers. Digital channels enable you to turn products into on-demand services that help customers reach their goals, and add value.


For example, if you sell printers, you can start with cost-saving device optimization. Then offer document analytics capabilities, innovation and automation for better document security, productivity and sustainability.

8. Mobile is where it’s at.

In addition to thinking of mobile as a new advertising distribution platform, remember it’s far more powerful as a response, or “activation mechanism,” to commercial messages we experience in other media – print, broadcast, and more.

9. Always keep surprises in-store.

Social retailing is the new approach, where real-world shopping allows customers to connect with friends outside the store, and try on virtual versions of fashions friends might recommend. Be sure your in-store services add value.

10. Use smart ads wisely.

The new generation of “smart advertising” enables the creation of an Internet banner ad to fit each viewer’s age, gender, location, personal interests, past purchase behavior, and much more. The trick is to do this without being invasive.

Remember everything you do, or don’t do, in the digital world is visible to your customers, and everything they say about you is visible on demand, all over the world. That means marketing can no longer be an afterthought, or something you can postpone until later, when you have more resources. Without effective and innovative marketing, you won’t have a successful business.

Xerox Digital Mastery Program Resources

If you are a Xerox channel partner, check out the Digital Mastery section of the Xerox SMARTCentre website for more tips and links to useful resources to help you master digital marketing.

If you aren’t already working with us, ask your current vendor how they can help you master digital marketing – and feel free to check out the Xerox Global Partner Program and compare the difference.

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