Need to Stand Out in a Crowd? Some Outstanding Advice.

Step with us into the Wayback Machine. It’s the ’70s. Most cities have a couple of newspapers, a handful of radio stations, and four or five television stations—boosted by magazines, billboards, and stuff in people’s mailboxes. These are the basic channels a company can leverage to launch a new product or service and make a splash.

Now, reenter the 21st-century world with the opposite problem. It’s past saturation with ways to introduce, invite, influence, and inform. TikTok isn’t even ten years old and has redefined how we interact with online content, consumer products, and each other. Temu is about a year old and is doing its best to disrupt e-commerce. (The jury is out on the quality of its products and the trustworthiness of its delivery, but its incessant self-promotion is impossible to ignore.) And the examples go on and on.

Bringing anything new into this swarming marketplace feels intimidating, if not impossible—unless you have a billion-dollar promotion budget or are prepared to implement some fearless guerilla marketing that generates as much controversy as it does attention. So, if you’re not overfunded or overly adventurous, how do you stand a fighting chance in an arena full of contenders and win your product some well-deserved recognition?

Here’s what we’ve learned: the opposite of thinking big isn’t thinking small. It’s thinking on your feet with creativity and precision.

Here’s a recent example. Cheese Merchants, a well-known purveyor of fine cheeses, was making its first foray into plant-based alternatives with its newest brand, Selfish Cow. A bit of an upstart without a huge budget, Selfish Cow needed to get noticed by buyers in three key and crowded market verticals—foodservice, institutional, and food manufacturing. The Street Level Studio (SLS) team strategized that a LinkedIn ad campaign would be a quick and cost-effective way to jump-start awareness and generate qualified leads, but it would have to be well-crafted, customized, and agile to gain traction.

Based on research into buyer behaviors, plant-based preferences, preparation methods, and pricing, we knew precise segmentation was essential if we hoped to resonate. Within the identified verticals, we narrowed the audiences to three priority groups: restaurants, colleges/universities, and private label food companies. In addition to parlaying—but not overplaying—Selfish Cow’s new place in the Cheese Merchants family, the creative design and messaging targeted decision-makers in each group, including tempting, tailored special offers. In addition, LinkedIn forms and custom landing pages made it easy to respond.

The ads ran for 60 days to ensure visibility and build familiarity. Our team continued to test and refine creative elements throughout the campaign, adjusting ad copy, testing carousel vs. single-image ad iterations, and varying CTAs for each of the three audiences. During the two-month run, the campaign generated tens of thousands of impressions, performed at nearly double the average LinkedIn click-through rate, and resulted in a lead-generation increase of close to 500 percent over previous months.

As we learned from this experience, it really is possible for a new product or service to stand out in a loud, crowded marketplace and do it in a way that leads directly to opportunity. You don’t even need a Wayback Machine to get there. You just need to be creative, be precise, and keep thinking on your feet.

If you’re ready to have a conversation about how to build some clever and effective momentum for your brand, we’re ready to talk! Schedule an appointment here.