Marketing veteran Rob Schuham spends a lot of time encouraging big brands to act like small companies. Be nimble, he advises, be creative, be agile. Take a risk, he tells them, and act like a startup.

And when major clients on his roster at Boulder-based Match Action Marketing have listened to his counsel, they’ve backed some groundbreaking campaigns that are instructive not only for their Fortune 100 brethren, but to the little guys, as well.

“If you get a marketing program right, you can set a category on its head,” said Schuham, CEO of Match Action. “The big guys have scale, so they can be kind of a beta test for innovative marketing. Small companies can find useful data points and adapt some of those tactics for their own purposes.”

The Match Action team created the Ford Fiesta Movement, a step out of the behemoth car maker’s comfort zone, blending digital and social media with live events. The experiential marketing program, launched four years ago, has become an annual event and a calling card for the agency and the brand.

1. Go for the experience to bring the brand to life
Major brands, in the past, have considered sponsorships and live events to be an important part of their marketing mix. The pendulum swung the other way in recent times, however, when some companies didn’t see enough perceived return for their high-dollar investments.

2. Use real-time marketing
Blue-chip brands have provided innovative road maps here, Legorburu said, running some of their ad campaigns like deadline-driven newsrooms. With an eye on pop culture and current events, brands like Coca-Cola, Google and Oreo have linked their own messages with the Super Bowl, the Olympics, national holidays and news of the day.

3. Tell your own story with original, compelling content
John Jantsch, an author and consultant who’s worked with small businesses for 25 years, said he’s seeing a real commitment on their part to create their own content, just as the major brands have done for several years.

4. Get techy with it
Using technology to run a business and collect and analyze data costs far less now than it did even a few years ago, Jantsch said. Thanks to Google Analytics, Kissmetrics and other tools, small companies have become “much more sophisticated in their marketing automation.”

5. Build communities
Match Action worked on the Pepsi Throwback campaign, handling social media for the limited-time-only versions of the flagship soda and Mountain Dew that contained real sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup. The goal was to draw in consumers who were passionate about the ‘80s, the last time the soda giant used real sugar in its drinks.

6. Build strategies
Hacking away at the idea of the week, scrapping and clawing for business, is becoming an outdated notion for mom-and-pops and startups, said Jantsch, founder of Duct Tape Marketing.

What’s replaced it? Brand building and strategic brainstorming.

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