In this digital age of short attention spans—8.25 seconds on average—people can just easily tap the exit button if they are not interested in an ad that suddenly appears on Facebook or YouTube. If your online business is struggling with getting your audience’s attention, use a different approach from traditional marketing that merely tells people to buy a product or service, usually through TV, print, and radio ads.

How do you connect and engage with your target market then? Consumers do not like being told what to buy. They like to be in control of what they want to see, hear, and share. Thus, your marketing strategy must communicate your brand message without being intrusive and be seamlessly integrated into the consumer’s life experience. That is the essence of nonlinear marketing, which is an effective way to get your brand discovered through a combination of online and offline marketing strategies.

Unlike traditional marketing, where the audience passively receives the brand’s message, the nonlinear approach to marketing enables the audience to actively interact with the brand.

To understand how it works and how you can leverage it for your business, take a look at how major brands like Coca-Cola and Starbucks are using this marketing strategy to connect with their existing and potential customers. Here are five businesses with successful nonlinear marketing campaigns.

The North Face Philippines

5 Major Brands that Use Nonlinear Digital Marketing to Engage Consumers 1

Photo courtesy of The North Face PH Facebook page

The North Face Philippines is an outdoor apparel brand that holds the largest and toughest annual trail run in Asia, The North Face 100. The digital marketing company in the Philippines that developed and executed the nonlinear marketing strategy for this event created a seamless buyer experience for the participants through the following:

  • Building a microsite that gathered all in-store and online registrations
  • Digital couponing via an integrated social media campaign
  • Engaging with participants through various online and offline channels such as TV, website, social media, billboard, and in-store ads
  • Geo-targeted event ads and interactions on all relevant social media channels to support offline events
  • Live and post-event coverage with real-time runner trackers
  • Using customer feedback and Google’s advanced measurement protocol

The nonlinear marketing campaign generated a Php 2.2 million registration revenue, a 12% conversion rate, over 1 million social interactions, 210% social fan base growth, and a 4,000% engagement rate growth.


5 Major Brands that Use Nonlinear Digital Marketing to Engage Consumers 2

Screengrab from YouTube

Coca-Cola’s drinkable marketing campaign is a nonlinear approach to get more people to drink Coke Zero by letting people literally drink its ads. This clever nonlinear digital marketing strategy had the audience use the Shazam app to see Coke Zero pouring into the screen of their smartphones while watching the Coke ad at home, in a concert or in an NCAA finals game. Every interaction converts into a mobile coupon that can be redeemed at participating retail stores across the United States.

The nonlinear marketing campaign used a variety of “drinkable” channels:

  • Drinkable billboard that served real coke
  • Drinkable stadium HD video boards
  • Drinkable TV commercials
  • Magazine print ads that could be converted into cups
  • Flyers that became straws
  • Tweets that poured Coke Zero in 140 characters
  • Electronic ad displays that turned a smartphone into a digital straw
  • Behind-the-scenes videos for the drinkable ads and billboard 


5 Major Brands that Use Nonlinear Digital Marketing to Engage Consumers 3

Screengrab from Meet Me at Starbucks

How does Starbucks draw massive crowds into its locations without churning a lot of expensive TV commercials? The coffee giant’s nonlinear digital marketing strategy focuses on the experiences of its customers with the brand rather than the brand itself.

Its global brand campaign, dubbed “Meet me at Starbucks,” features real-life stories of people who met at a Starbucks location through a 30-second documentary that has garnered over 1 million YouTube views as of July 2017.

Encouraging customer engagement, Starbucks has an online platform that allows people to upload and share their photos showing their special moments at Starbucks. This is an effective storytelling technique that banks on authenticity and emotional appeal to make the audience relate better to the brand through other people’s stories.


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Photo courtesy of Globovisión via Flickr

Apple keeps things low key by avoiding a multi-channel marketing approach that bombards the audience with so many brand messages. Instead, it focuses its marketing efforts on making every Apple product launch a highly-anticipated event.

Apple’s marketing strategy is simple—having CEO Tim Cook or any key executive on stage discussing the new product and broadcasting it all over the world via streaming. In doing so, people feel that they are a part of the event. This is a great way to build up excitement for your new product or service.

Red Bull 

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Screengrab from Red Bull Cliff Diving

Red Bull is another popular brand that uses nonlinear marketing strategy to connect with its customers. Like the other brands here, it does not rely on traditional marketing to sell the brand. Rather, it integrates the brand into the lives of people through nonlinear marketing campaigns that include the following:

  • Sports team ownerships
  • Sports endorsements
  • Extreme sports events such as Red Bull Air Race and Red Bull Cliff Diving
  • Music (Red Bull Records)
  • Art festivals

Beyond sponsoring sports events and sports teams, Red Bull builds positive experiences around its target customers.

Key takeaways

Nonlinear marketing is one of the trends that will change content marketing in the Philippines. These five examples of businesses that use nonlinear digital marketing strategy to promote their brand can inspire you when you want to do things differently for your online business and get ahead of the competition.

It does not mean, though, that you have to imitate everything and shell out millions of pesos to pull off a marketing campaign as successful as theirs. As a small or medium-sized business owner, you do not have to spend much for your nonlinear digital marketing strategy. It can be as simple as including your Facebook and Twitter URLs plus your hashtags, if any, to your marketing collaterals and giveaways or freebies such as company-branded shirts and caps. You can take small steps in the beginning; it does not take much to weave your brand seamlessly into your customer’s lives.


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