When you think of the phrase stealth marketing, what comes to mind? A ninja placing unsuspecting ads in ways that only your subconscious recognizes? A kind of subliminal messaging? Kind of. But not really. At least, not today. More luxury businesses have moved to stealth marketing for its grassroots approach and significant cost savings. Because, as you know, it is about the consumer – not the product – at least that’s the way it should be.
What is stealth marketing?
Traditional definitions of stealth marketing revolve around sneaky or subtle messaging. Today, stealth marketing is about marketing products indirectly. The premise is to create a buzz within an audience that builds interest and engagement – not direct sales. Wait. What? Think about it. If you share information about a brand that gets people talking – building brand awareness – the opportunity to create a following is significant and can turn out to be quite lucrative.
Remember the Starbucks cup that was left in one of the Game of Thrones scenes? Was it a mistake, or was it stealth marketing? It certainly helped the Starbucks brand by fueling conversations around its products.
Historically, stealth marketing was left to big businesses. But today, any brand can join the party. Stealth marketing is a preferred tactic to keep in your marketing arsenal because it doesn’t cost a lot to employ.
How are businesses using stealth marketing today?
Businesses have started stepping away from using influencers and are focusing their efforts on reaching everyday customers. They are sharing information about their products and services in a way that is not obtrusive and almost subliminal. Businesses are focusing on grassroots efforts within communities rather than large campaigns that are directed to the masses. These efforts focus on fulfilling a need that aligns with the products and services the company provides.
Stealth marketing today is about connecting with customers in a way that is authentic and memorable. It is about moving the focus from getting new customers to keeping existing ones. If customers feel a connection with the brands they use, they are more likely to remain loyal.
At MindStream Creative, we’ve been using stealth marketing tactics on behalf of our clients for years. Marketing through education is a perfect example of stealth marketing – albeit different from traditional definitions. By providing information about services or products in an informative and enlightening way rather than a blatant hard sell, you help consumers live their best life. And that should be the end goal for any marketing campaign. At least if you want to sleep at night.