Three Successful Marketing Strategies and What We Can Learn From Them

There is much to learn from the success of others. Today we’ll share three timeless marketing strategies from businesses of the late 1800s to the early 2000s that were right on target.


You may be surprised to learn that Daisy, the popular air rifle manufacturing company, didn’t always sell air guns. The story begins back in the mid-1880s with Clarence Hamilton, who owned both the Plymouth Iron Windmill Company and Plymouth Air Rifle Company.

Hamilton invented an all-metal air gun and showed it to the windmill company’s board members. Upon firing the gun, the general manager exclaimed, “Boy, that’s a daisy.” The name stuck, and the Plymouth Iron Windmill Company began offering the Daisy air gun as a premium item included with each purchase of a windmill.

By 1895, as luck would have it, sales of the gun were booming. The company decided to ditch the windmills, exclusively sell air rifles and change its name to the Daisy Manufacturing Company. It later acquired the Markham Air Rifle Company, which helped form Daisy into the leading air gun manufacturing company it is today.

Marketing Lesson: Don’t hesitate to pull the trigger on an innovative product offering.
It was more than luck that helped the Plymouth Iron Windmill Company see the potential in the Daisy air rifle; it was good analytical assessment of what was truly driving sales. Many successful business owners will tell you that it’s important to know the meat and potatoes of your business.

It’s also essential to have analytical tools on hand that allow you to hone in on innovative products and services that could potentially lead to a wealth of opportunity.

Online analytical tools like ClickPath can help you evaluate what products and services are bringing in business by tracking the specific ad campaigns that are driving your leads. With these insights in your holster, rather than taking a shot in the dark, you can zero in on potentially explosive innovations.

Arm & Hammer

In the 70s baking soda sales were in decline. Statistics showed that people weren’t baking as much as they used to, and Arm & Hammer needed to devise a strategy to stay relevant in the market. Arm & Hammer employed an impressive angle.

It began to give consumers ideas for using baking soda in ways they had never thought of. It ran advertisements introducing baking soda as a toothpaste, deodorizer and cleaning agent and later as an additive in laundry detergent, deodorant and cat litter. Today, Arm & Hammer offers an ever-expanding variety of household products that are used in 95 percent of American homes.

Marketing Lesson: Don’t just think outside of the box; determine what else the box could be used for.
Businesses often struggle to remain pertinent to consumers in a continually changing market. However, unlike in the 70s, a brand’s online image can play a key role in how consumers assess a company’s offerings.

By researching your specific consumer demographics and what is meaningful to them, you can identify features and functions of your company that are compelling, relevant and motivating to your consumer. Chances are that your brand has multiple appealing components that you can incorporate into your website.

With the use of SEO, you can identify not only how consumers search for your company online but also the most relevant keywords to drive consumers to your site over the competitors’ sites.

Lastly, develop a research-based online marketing strategy that aligns your products and services with your target consumer’s priorities.

Herbal Essences

Procter & Gamble’s Herbal Essences, a globally sold hair-care brand, was in a rut at the beginning of the 21st century. Its advertising campaigns were labeled as “overused and anticlimactic,” and while Herbal Essences’ featured product scents were appealing, sales were in decline.

Consumers had a difficult time finding the right Herbal Essences item to fit their hair-care needs. Procter & Gamble set a goal to rebrand Herbal Essences within 12 months by targeting Gen Y consumers, who tend to be more practical and objective when making purchasing decisions.

In 2006, Herbal Essences refreshed shelves with attention-grabbing color-coordinated package designs, product labels that clearly addressed consumers’ hair-care needs, and a simplified, sleek logo. Procter & Gamble’s rebranding of Herbal Essences not only helped it experience a 6 percent increase in overall volume share but also won it the 2007 ReBrand 100 Global Award.

Marketing Lesson: You can pump up the sales volume with a targeted marketing strategy.
There comes a time in the life of a business where it must appraise what its target demographic is and whether its marketing strategy is effectively reaching its intended audience. What we can learn from Herbal Essences’ successful transformation is that marketing your brand is all about knowing your consumer.

The first step in establishing your target demographic is to come to terms with the fact that you must have one. You may not want to exclude any potential customers, but you can’t target everyone. It’s important to focus your marketing dollars on consumers who are more likely to buy from you.

Next, research your current customer’s buying habits. Determine how your business meets their needs so you can target other consumers like them. You can leverage call tracking services like Who’s Calling to learn more about the customers and leads that call into your business. The use of toll-free numbers gives you the ability to not only gather customer information from incoming calls but also identify the advertisements, products and services driving leads.

Lastly, evaluate your product or service. What offerings does your company have, and what types of groups would benefit from doing business with you? Once you target the right demographic and form a marketing strategy, you can measure your advertising effectiveness to see if you are on the right track.

These timeless marketing tactics teach us the age-old lesson that knowing your industry, your company and your consumer usually leads to the creation of a research-based, targeted marketing strategy that keeps businesses in the green without leaving them in the dark.