Don’t follow the flock: Why marketers should try new things.

**Editor’s note: We’re happy to share another guest blog from one of our partners! This time, we bring you an original post from Kimberly de Silva from Mapp.**

Often, the longer you are in business, the more reluctant you are to change. We all know that person at the company who says, “But we’ve always done it this way.” Unfortunately, that mentality can be a major strain on innovation. It could even be standing in the way of your business’s competitive edge.

Are you using the same themes, with the same imagery, on the same channels over and over? If so, you might be getting a little too comfortable with your marketing. And comfort can lead to missed opportunities. The marketing landscape is changing all the time and you don’t want to lose out on something that could grab the attention of consumers.

Be open to new ideas
All the best marketers have something in common: they are not afraid to try new things! If you are simply following along what everyone else is doing, you will have the same results as everyonewhich are mediocre at best.

But where do you find these new ideas? Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear formula for coming up with the next big thing, but we do know that you have to be open to new ideas. If you are open to changing your ways, you will be able to make new connections and see the potential of new concepts.

Get started with a brainstorming session with your whole team where nothing is off limits. Share new ideas, crazy thoughts, shocking discoveries, and trending initiatives. Your brain needs to be willing to accept something that bucks the status quo. There are no dumb ideas; everything is marketing fodder.

…Even ones that don’t feel new
Email is definitely not new, but if you take a closer look at the most long-lasting and impactful marketing tool, you’ll see it’s anything but stale. Breathe new life into your marketing classics by using AMP for Email or the new Gmail Annotations feature, for example. These technologies make email more dynamic and engaging for consumers, and marketers can reap the benefits of these unique advancements. Don’t be intimidated by them either, 250ok has tools you can use to get started. But the lesson here is clear: don’t assume you can’t teach an old [email] dog new tricks!

Keep an eye on what’s trending
Besides brainstorming, keep a close eye on what’s happening online. What are people reading, sharing and searching for? Spot trends and do your best to determine the channels, topics, and technology that your customers are responding to today.

For example, a year ago no one had heard of the social media platform TikTok, which allows users to make short, looping videos with musical overlays and special effects. Now the app is all the rageespecially with Gen Z’erswith more than 500 million monthly active users. It has replaced similar video-based platforms like Vine and even Snapchat. A lot of companies are looking into TikTok’s potential as a marketing tool. Every year, there is at least one new up-and-comer worth trying out.

Be an early adopter
The early-bird marketer gets the worm, as they say. You’ve probably heard of first-mover advantage (FMA), which states the advantage is with the initial occupant of a market segment, concept, or resource. Similar to this concept is the one of early adopter advantage, often used in the context of technology. First-movers and early adopters have the opportunity to be rewarded with huge profit margins.

Early marketers often see the best results. Brands that jumped on TikTok early, including Chipotle and The Washington Post, have seen a fast-growing following and an increase in brand awareness with completely new audiences. If you wait until the concept has become mainstream, your message will be diluted along with all the others. Think about Instagram, where the first companies who started working with influencers saw an amazing return on investment. But now that the Instagram market is so saturated with influencers, it’s hard for companies partnering with them to stand out.

Measure success through experimentation
Treat your new idea as an experiment that is running alongside your regular marketing activities. You need to cultivate a testing mindset in order to find out when it isn’t working and when you need to back out. This is why being an experimental marketer goes hand in hand with being a data-driven marketer.

But fear not, you don’t need to have a background as a data scientist to test whether your new strategies are working – you can rely on the right marketing technology to help you do this. Look at your numbers with the help of intuitive and insightful data dashboards. Are the KPIs increasing or decreasing since you have implemented your new campaign? Pro tip: Don’t commit a big portion of your budget to the idea, until you know that your experiment was successful and its effective.

Now that you’ve got the mindset to try new things and break away from the pack, you want to make sure you can execute on it too. Always put aside some money for new strategy. You might not know exactly what you’ll be using that money for, but when you find that promising idea, you will be ready to experiment with it. Keep this in mind when creating your 2020 marketing budget.

How stoked are you to get back to work and find the next big thing?

Author: Kimberly de Silva

Kimberly is a Content Marketing Manager at Mapp, where she manages all types of content for the leading digital marketing platform. With her expertise in all things marketing and technology, she shares insights about how to stand out in a sea full of marketers.

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