Outfox the Herd by Using Peripheral Marketing

Major retailers like Kohl’s, JC Penney’s, Bath and Body Works and Macy’s are all currently having Presidents’ Day Sales. As tempting as it can be to use Honest Abe and George Washington’s endorsements to hock t-shirts, body spray, or electronics, it can prove quite difficult to avoid getting lost in the messages that tell us there is no better way to celebrate our finest Presidents’ birthdays than to spend lots of money.

How do you make sure that your efforts to capitalize on events and holidays actually stand out? Rohit Bhargava, the Senior Vice President of Digital Strategy and Marketing at Ogilvy Public Relations and writer for the Influential Marketing Blog, recommends using “peripheral marketing”. Peripheral marketing does not capitalize specifically on an event. Rather, it focuses on being “peripheral” to the event that all other marketers aim to dominate. For example, rather than being just another beer among many beers advertising during the Super Bowl, Miller High Life focused on the time after the Super Bowl. This particular ad, which pokes fun at the ad spots that aired during the game, did not cost $10.4 million (the cost of a two minute spot during the big game). It became quite an effective viral video though:


Plenty of marketers pushed snacks and party goods before the Super Bowl. Others paid millions to be seen as the cleverest during the Super Bowl. Miller appeals to our need to rate all of these ads after the Super Bowl. Everybody does it so we can all appreciate the ad. Miller just paid pennies on the dollar and came out with a much better ad than most of the others (the lizards with Naomi Campbell comes to mind) by using a clever idea at the right time.

Did you rate the Super Bowl ads? Will your customers be rating celebrity Oscar dresses? Are they ramping up for Spring Break soon? Using peripheral marketing will save money and ensure your business is set apart from the herd.

Happy Selling!


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