10 Uncommon Marketing Strategies That’ll Kickstart Your Startup

Startups begin with shoestring budget, but this should not deter them from marketing strategies that are uncommon


The road to beginning a new venture is full of ups and downs. For any new startup the biggest challenge is to quickly increase reach and attract new users. It is indeed difficult for startups to increase the user base with a shoestring budget. Unlike established brands that use expensive marketing strategies such as TV commercials on prime times, startups under budget constraints should look forward to uncommon marketing strategies to gain quick attention.

Top Uncommon Marketing Strategies

Holding a challenge around the product

‘We should sell the solutions for the problem, but not the product’ is an old trick in marketing. Too much marketing content on a product, might cause and fatigue to the viewers and will fail to garner attention. Instead, create challenges to let people realise that with your product the challenge might seem easy or there will be no challenge at all.

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Budget constraints should not deter startups from attempting marketing strategies that are uncommon.

Reach out to the specific audience

Emerging businesses before launching marketing content should first determine the ideal target audience- its tastes, preferences, character traits, etc. For example Bewakoof.com – an online fashion retail startup focuses on creating memes, comedy, puns, etc. to attract its millennial audience.

Collaboration with other brands

Collaborating with a known brand can bring attention to your startup. For instance, Uber, a ride hailing app, had collaborated with Spotify a music streaming app. Both the brands collaborated since they shared similar goals and cater to the same target audience. The collaboration transformed mundane long travelling journeys in cabs into a fun one with Spotify. The customers were given the option of connecting with Spotify and becoming a DJ by playing their choices of songs. Collaboration is a great technique that helps in widening the customer base and brand reach. 

Influencer Marketing

Leveraging the already existing fan base of an influencer, startups can increase the user base. Startups can send their products to the influencer to video content for reviews , product demonstration, etc. Influencer marketing improves brand awareness and effectively reaches the target audience. 

Involving in social causes

Using your product to involve in a social cause attracts attention to the brand. By using the product users should be able to contribute to society. For instance- Aditya Birla Health Insurance has launched an initiative ‘Jump for Health’ where for every 10,000 jumps made, it will donate a prosthetic leg to the needy. In this way, they are promoting the message to remain healthy by jumping 10,000 times as well as extending support to the society. 

Creating Viral Video

Recently, viral marketing has been grabbing eyeballs. The recent viral advertisement from Cred which shows Rahul Dravid losing his calm in a traffic jam, has garnered over 3 million views in less than a day on social media platforms. Cred has taken the advantage of viral marketing by creating a viral explainer video of the product, where it shows how timely payment of credit cards gives rewards and keeps good financial behaviour. To achieve viral status, there needs to be something humorous about your video at the same time that should help people know about your product. 

Becoming a Problem Solver

People should look up to your startup as a problem solver other than offering solutions that your product already offers. For instance NUA – a female wellness brand that offers a complete range of sanitary pads for all degrees of flow – organises open forums, discussions with gynaecologists to talk about important women health issues such as PCOD, changes in women after maternity, etc.

Holding a contest or Quiz

When we hold contests, it stimulates the competitive spirit to emerge as winners in humans. Therefore, this spirit drives engagement to participate and win something that will be valuable to the startup. For instance, Wakefit- digital first mattress brand organised a sleep internship programme where the participants need to sleep for 9 hours continuously for 100 days , where the winner gets a cash prize of Rs 10 lakhs. 

Free samples

Offering free samples with a product purchase lets customers know about the various product lines that your company offers. This strategy is extensively followed by Mamaearth. With every purchase of its products it sends a few other product samples for trials and collects people’s feedback. 

Referral Marketing

People like to use products based on recommendations and advice. It helps in developing a huge user base for the product or service and fosters credibility of the product or service as the current users promote the product to their friends and family. 

What is in it for startups? 

Startups should implement these uncommon marketing strategies to drive engagement and create a two-way communication with the target audience. Low marketing budget should not deter the startups from creating marketing campaigns that can the company to quickly attract users, customers, or subscribers.

The secret is to leave old school marketing strategies and go for uncommon but highly creative approaches.

Shalmoli Sarkar
Shalmoli Sarkar
An MBA in marketing and a BTech in chemical engineering, Shalmoli writes on marketing strategies and business technology for new and aspiring entrepreneurs.

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