The Chaotic Neutral’s Guide to Digital Marketing

a photo of an alignment chart singling out the chaotic neutral in the group which is Tom from the HBO Show Succession

I’ll be honest with you; I almost titled this The Chaotic Neutral Marketer’s Guide to Digital Marketing. As I re-read this article, I’m aghast, appalled, befuddled, and quite happy to besmirch the good practice of digital marketing in 2022.

You’re welcome, and I’m sorry.

(Editor’s note: Alex is out of control, send halp! Also, tactics never replace an actual, well-planned, and executed strategy.) — Nanor

Getting traction and gaining momentum online is tough. And, admittedly, we’re not super great at it ourselves, aka the cobbler’s kid needs new shoes analogy.

However, I’ve cobbled together some unusual tactics that might help you in your efforts to gain better interaction and greater ROI on your digital marketing efforts.

Happy “Accidents” for Interaction Boost

As villains go, Darth Vader is well-known and most loved and revered in the world of film, television, and geek lore. But what villain is most reviled? Go on, take a guess! I’ll wait…

What villain did you come up with? Alonzo Harris from Training Day? Oooh, good choice, very easy to hate, but nope!

What about Mr. Potter from It’s a Wonderful Life? Nice try, but no cigar!

The greatest villain of all time is the…. THE TYPO! Yes, yes, tpyos have harangued many a well-meaning person since the invention of SMS. From breaking up marriages and creating unspeakable moments between children and their accidentally pervy parents, typos have been among the most hated villains of all time! It’s true! I saw it on the internet!!

What do typos have to do with marketing? A typo can be a happy accident as evidenced when I sent out this Subject Line accidentally…

A “Fresh Coat of Pain???!!!” Really, Alex? Yeah, I did that alright. While embarrassing, it netted us a huge bump in our open rates, nearly 40%.

I would use this tactic super sparingly. But a funny accidental typo can help draw attention to your campaign.

I’d like to say the above typo was on purpose. It wasn’t. When I derp I derp hard.

Or just don’t pay attention to your newsletter subjects at all, for never and never.

Does anyone pay any attention to an email subject line? Maybe a lil bit!

My enthusiasm runs a little high sometimes and I can’t way to hit the publish button. Take a deep breath, review twice (or thrice), drink water, and get some sleep.

Net Result: A boost to your Open Rates and possibly more interaction from your audience than you’d like.

Bring in Your Competition

I know this is probably a terrible idea, but negative outcomes can be our greatest teachers, right?

Consider offering a guest spot to one of your competitors to share something they do well, or that is in their wheelhouse of expertise. Maybe you bring them in for a guest blog post or a video spot. You could make a whole campaign on it Freaky Friday style and switch places for a day or a week.

What is something you do well to provide value to your competition’s audience? What can they do for yours? The idea is to create a scenario where everyone wins via collaboration and boosting one another. For this to work, it helps to have an abundance mindset, in my opinion.

In this case, it’s not about beating the completion; it’s about helping each other out. This tactic isn’t going to be for everyone, and, sure, there’s a risk. To that, I say: “Fear is not a strategy.” Go forth boldly!

Promote An Event and Have Fun With It

Back in the day, me and the SBDC Director at the University of La Verne and had a “competition” discussing the merits of using WordPress or Wix. Sidenote, WordPress won that day! On another note, I may have cheated! Don’t tell anyone!! (Sorry, Sean!)

This was a fun way for the SBDC to market to their audience of business owners and to get their attention. The event was well-attended, too!

Co-Partner / Co-Branding / Brand Partnerships

Along the same lines as above: Everyone loves a good crossover. We all lost our minds when the Avengers first assembled on the big screen! Peanut Butter and Jelly! Aerosmith and Run-D.M.C.. The Scooby-Doo gang and the Harlem Globe Trotters… (Not only am I aging myself here but I am proving a damn point). ALL of these crossovers are amazing!

From Business Suit Blanka in Fortnite to…

I Love Lucy and Superman!?

I had exactly zero percentage points of an idea that Superman tried to swoop in on Lucy and Lil’ Rick Rick

Brand partnerships are nothing new, though. However, when done right, brands have the ability to broaden their reach into more and more households.

As something of a wrestling aficionado, I point to AEW’s recent collaboration with New Japan Pro Wrestling. They just put on a joint show that sold out a large arena and produced millions in online PPV buys. Everybody won. Fans of pro-wrestling got way more content than they could shake a Burning Hammer at!

Everyone loves a good crossover! Right? No. Not everyone. Not every crossover event needs to happen. Sometimes certain crossovers are best left to the imagination of a person with too much time on their hands. Case in point…

May I present you with This Abomination of a Crossover?

Look, you didn’t ask for it, and neither did I, but you better believe that some poor sap somewhere did a Jager + Tab soda shot (and that poor sap was definitely ME).

OR (in case you had a lobotomy and forgot)… the UGG® / Teva collab that never needed to happen and yet here we have the finest in cushy medical sandal fashion!

TEVA X UGG® HYBRID sandals

Two terrible tastes that are unsurprisingly 100x WORSER (yes, I said “worser”) TOGETHER and result in a fine submission to the Chaotic Nightclub Twitter account. Do NOT go to that account but here’s a link anyway (you’re welcome and how dare I).

Net Result: You’ll get more eyeballs on your product (and your competition’s too). There are enough customers to go around, and a little friendly collaboration didn’t hurt anybody. Everybody wins when the competition comes together to collaborate, especially your customers.

“Kill Your Darlings”

RIP Choco Taco

Maybe it’s a marketing ploy, and maybe it’s just business calculus. When Klondike announced they were sunsetting the beloved Choco Taco, they lit the internet community ablaze.

Celebrities and normies decried the decision, with people coming out of the woodwork offering to save the sugary treat!

Although Klondike (Unilever is the parent company) says this decision isn’t a PR stunt, you can’t deny the outpouring of support across social media since the announcement.

Net Result: They created a buzzworthy, viral outcry to save the product. The demand for Choco Taco increased by a stupidly high amount.

What do you meme I can use memes for marketing

I meme, thousands of marketers can’t be wrong…

This isn’t an original idea. Memes are great for sharing ideas, poking fun, and trolling, and it can be funny and engaging.

You can use memes to poke fun at yourself (requires a high level of self-confidence, mind you), your brand, or your products. If there’s a particularly annoying or persistent issue, consider making light of it.

This tactic requires a lot of “awareness” because if the issue is costing your customers money, then making fun of that is a bad idea and a great example of “not reading the room.”

Keeping it light, keeping it playful, and doing no harm is the general way to go about these tactics.

Net Result: If you’re consistent, it’s a good way to make an impression with potential leads; you’ll potentially get more subscribes and shares as well. Certainly, you’ll end up creating a niche for your content.

Bomb Your Subscribers Till They Quit

Real OGs know that MC Hammer was the only one who was Too Legit to Quit!

Another in my series of happy accidents. I unintentionally bombed our subscribers with four emails. All the same email but FOUR TIMES.

How high were our Open Rates, you ask?

Our Open Rates…

Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Our site visits exploded that day, we got something like a 500% increase. Did people want to know was so important that they were emailed four times? No. The emails were sent at four different times during the day and different people opened them up, most of whom hadn’t opened a previous email, in other words, people were only opening ONE email.

The lesson learned?

Email your audience. A lot! Send emails until you see a noticeable uptick in unsubscribes and complaints. When you notice that you’re getting say like five or ten (or more) complaints and 1.5x the number of unsubscribed then you’ve hit your limit, ease off of those emails!

Re-Send to contacts who haven’t opened the original email

While I don’t recommend sending the same email four times, I DO recommend sending your emails a second time but only to an audience who has NOT opened the original email.

If you want to be cautious, slightly change your subject line, preview text, and content but in my real-world experience, it doesn’t seem to matter if you do that or not.

Net Result: More of your audience will read your content, click your links, and they’ll think about you. Awww. You’ll probably get a few more unsubscribed. I say GOOD RIDDANCE! Let people clean your lists for you!

Final Thoughts

Content marketing can be dry and dull—everyone’s thought of just about everything you can do to market and get someone’s attention. Have fun, and inject some spice to keep your audience guessing. You’re human after all and your customers and subscribers will appreciate the personal, if chaotic, touch.

Absolutely fake a mistake to get someone’s attention. Don’t fall in love with a specific tactic, though. Happy accidents are organic; you’ll find the more you do something, the less likely you are to get a response from your audience from a given tactic.

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