Traditional Marketing Budget

Some brands are so popular that they don’t need an advertisement. When you hear their names, you’ve rolled your eyes, and possibly clicked through.

But most of these iconic brands have hired an ad agency at some point on their upward journey.

According to eMarketer, “In 2014, businesses spent nearly $545 billion on advertising, and the number is expected to increase by another $100 billion by 2018.”

What matters most is that how these brands allocate their marketing budget.

There are major brands, with huge market share with a zero-figure traditional advertising budget.

In this case study, you’ll know a few brands that have built a loyal fan following, and relationship-focused marketing strategies despite any traditional marketing budget.

4 Brands not doing Traditional Marketing:

#1 GoPro

“Meaningful storytelling & User Generated Content (UGC)” 

go pro-dsim

About GoPro

GoPro, the maker of high-quality, easy-to-use handheld video cameras, is one of the best brands using user-generated content (UGC) strategies.

It’s not just a camera; it inspires you to live your life as a thrilling adventure junkie.

Marketing Strategies beyond Traditional
#Tell a Story

GoPro is master at telling stories through their brand, and it shows. It has understood just how powerful and essential storytelling is, and the brand has harnessed that power to capture their audience’s interest.

#User Generated Content (UGC)

When it comes to UGC, GoPro seems to have it all figured out. By engaging with their fans and inspiring them to upload media content, they’ve managed to create a special platform for them where they can share GoPro experiences with the entire world.

Their Instagram account is mainly user-generated content and claims more than 13.1 million followers.

#Video Content

GoPro needs a different approach regarding content and reached out to their fans or influencers to contribute.

So, its YouTube channel with 5 million subscribers is a sensibly curated collection of videos from users that displays how they use the camera in different situations or sponsored athletes or influencers that use it to track their performance.

Key Takeaways
  • Think about your company’s value proposition around the perspective of your customers.
  • Find creative ways to expose the value your products bring to new markets.
  • Video can be a powerful way to build your audience and bring interest to your marketing efforts.
  • Try to differentiate yourself from your competitors by making storytelling, part of your strategy.
  • Work with your fans; they not only boost your visibility, but you’ll also have more engaged audience.
  • Reward your customers by encouraging them to create content about how they use your products in their lives.

#2 Zara



About Zara

Zara is a fashion follower which focuses its attention on understanding the fashion items customers want and then deliver it to them.

Zara sells its products at 2,200 stores in 93 countries and a growing presence online have managed to thrive without going any traditional route.


Marketing Strategies of Zara

Zara has a unique marketing policy of “Zero investment in marketing”. Their key marketing strategy is based on uniqueness, experience, differentiation and affordability.

Some strategies are-
  • Rather than be first-to-market, Zara copycats tried-and-true fashion
  • They target men, women, and children in highly populated cities.
  • They produce cheap, fashionable clothing, with a high attention to detail.
  • They only produce a limited number of each piece to create a sense of urgency among their consumers.
  • They get a lot of attention from word-of-mouth advertising.
  • They’ve also mastered the art of influencer marketing.
  • The brand takes customer feedback seriously
  • Rather than invest in advertising, Zara focuses on brand experience
  • Location is key for Zara’s physical stores


Key Takeaways
  • Target your product or service well
  • Don’t be afraid to rely on word of mouth
  • Foster an influencer channel that is loyal to your brand
  • Take your customers feedback seriously & respond quickly

#3 OnePlus

“Word-of-mouth & be niche specialist”

one plus-dsim

About OnePlus

Shenzhen-based OnePlus has managed to carve a name for it although having a marketing budget of only $300 at its debut.

It creates beautifully designed products with premium build quality & brings the best technology to users around the world.

Marketing Strategies of OnePlus

OnePlus is the most successful brand that has become big without spending a penny on traditional marketing.

The key believed behind launching OnePlus Brand in India was to offer consumers a top end phone with great specs, design, quality and experience at an affordable price, which other brands were offering at an unreasonable price.


Their marketing strategies are-
  • Pick a fight with an established competitor, so, people sit up and take notice
  • Build individuality around your product with invite-only sales and pop-up stores that don’t actually sell anything
  • Be the first to do something people can’t help but talk about it
  • Be transparent about criticisms. This helps build relationships with your fan base, so they’ll be more vocal advocates for your product
  • Own up to your niche and marketing expertise, so that people spread word about how good you are at what you do
Key Takeaways
  • Leverage influencers
  • Crush the competition
  • Don’t compromise with the quality
  • Make lasting impression
  • Welcome criticisms and directly respond to your fans
  • Carve your own niche and dominate it

#4 Krispy Kreme Doughnuts


Krispy Kreme is a doughnut shop. They have been selling doughnuts and coffee since 1937. It is a globally recognized brand which is known for its tasty and quality products.

Marketing strategies of Krispy Kreme

Their marketing strategy attains the crucial triangle of “Message, Market, Moment.”

The Huffington Post reports that, in place of costly TV spots and print ads, Krispy Kreme trusts on its network of more than 6 million Facebook followers.

  • They uses a bare-bones marketing strategy that depend on word-of-mouth marketing by its satisfied customers.
  • They invest in their employees. They are taught doughnut making, customer service, and … marketing!
  • They clearly announce the optimal time to purchase from them.
  • It also uses social media.
  • They also invest in unique, highly visible locations, and always have a large window from the outside into the doughnut making.

“Eliminate the barriers between the brand and its customers and an invitation to step in and sample,”- Dwayne Chambers, Chief Marketing Officer at Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme doughnuts
Key Takeaways
  • Build customer relationships through emotional and personal connections
  • Eliminate barriers between your brand and its customers
  • Start educating your team on your brand values
  • Be simpler, the better


To take lessons from the success of these non-advertiser brands; focus on making high quality products, trust people and see the power of word-of-mouth doing the rest.

DSIM Blog is created to help you to know all aspects of Digital Marketing ranging from basics of Digital Marketing to Advance Level Topics, Read our posts and feel free to reach our team for any queries.

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