What Surfers Know About Marketing

A few years ago I spent a week breaking waves along Portugal’s World Surf Reserve.

My instructor, a grizzled veteran of gnarly waves, gave a lasting piece of advice.

He said a huge part of surfing is about picking the right wave.

You see, as the right wave can catapult you into the ride of your life, the wrong one can send you into a hospital bed.

Out in the rough seas of business perfect waves also exist, they are known as “trends”, which when you paddle your product in front of can bring untold opportunity.

Over time, I found this surfing secret to be one of marketing’s most remarkable and reliable ways to crack into untapped potential.

This is because a huge chunk of customer and client behaviour is driven by a collective fear of missing out. If one influential consumer starts raving about a new method, hobby or habit they are using it can set off a stampede of others in search of the golden goose.

Applying the method below at your company can help give you a near unlimited source of fuel to perpetually propel your marketing.

I call it trend hacking and the process looks like this:

  1. Make a comprehensive list with your team of all the benefits your product has.
  2. Identify a number of rising trends inside and outside your market.
  3. Find connections and overlaps between them.
  4. Create marketing assets, material and offers around those connections that can position your product as a must-have part of the trend.

This is a little-known but amazingly reliable formula for producing evergreen growth. So whether you’re planning your next product launch or trying to refresh a range, those 4 steps will help you tap into and channel new demand.

An example from Ogilvy & KFC

Earlier this year you couldn’t walk one street without hearing someone raving about Game of thrones. As the build up gripped the country, smart brands and marketers started paying attention.

KFC and Ogilvy worked together to link the hot & spicy chicken wings with the much anticipated return of the dragons.

This was the result…

Making this go viral was so easy once made because the Game of Thrones fans did all the work. Using such a “hot topic” they completely bypassed the usual ad aversion consumers have and developed something that had value with that particular target audience.

There are countless ways you can do something similar and it doesn’t always have to come about in the form of ad, it could be a guide, report, video series or experiential event.

The important thing is that the thing you are tapping into is a hot topic for your target audience which your product can link into.

This has worked amazingly over the past few years, but using it today is more vital than ever for marketers.

Because we are not just competing against other advertising on the internet anymore, we are competing against everything.

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