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Inbound Marketing Blog

    Secret Facebook Groups, QR Codes and Other Mystery Marketing Ideas

    Posted by Jasmine Henry

    Be a Little Enigmatic

    You know a marketing campaign was really good if we’re still talking about it years after the fact. Prior to the release of director Christopher Nolan’s film, The Dark Knight Rises, hype surrounding the film reached near cult-status thanks to some really great mystery marketing. May 19, 2012, the film website went live, but the only content was a black screen and chanting sounds. The geekiest fans figured out within hours that the chanting, when fed through sound-wave visualization software, was advising social media users to Tweet the hashtag #TheFireRises. The more fans used the hashtag, the more of an image was exposed, finally revealing Tom Hardy as Bane.

    Everyone loves a little mystery, and feeling like a hero. Mystery marketing efforts don’t always go viral, but being able to conceptualize and launch a campaign that turns prospects into detectives can significantly increase your brand’s charisma.

    1. QR Codes

    Quick Response, or QR Codes, have been around since 2010, but they only recently reached cult status due to the explosion of personal mobile use. Recent data indicates that consumer scanning has risen 1400% since 2010. As mobile web usage is expected to overtake PC web usage by 2014, both consumers and marketers are developing a deep love for QR codes.

    First, they’re really pretty cheap to produce. Even better, it’s fully traceable where and when they were scanned, allowing marketers to sleuth out information on the demographics of their prospects. Finally, you can stick them almost anywhere. In print, on the web, in email marketing, on social media. A final word to the wise: make sure you reward your QR code scanning-fans with an extra-special offer and landing page that’s not widely available to the public.

    2. Secret Facebook Groups

    Grey Poupon’s closed Facebook group, The Society of Good Taste, showed the incredible power of elusive groups for marketing. Fans fell over themselves trying to make their Facebook profiles “classy” enough to be granted membership. It was an extra-sharp branding move on the part of Grey Poupon, who maintained their slightly snobbish branding while creating a cult-following among millennials.

    Closed Facebook groups can incite excitement, but secret Facebook groups are even more mysterious. Even if someone is sent the URL to join, they’re unable to access unless they’ve been formally invited by an admin.


    3. Offline Clues

    Sometimes, simply dropping a stack of flyers or posters somewhere in public can be a really effective way to entice people to your website. Guerriglia Marketing, an Italian marketing agency who specializes in unconventional tactics which often stretch limits of morality and even legality, launched an international series of “Have You Seen This Man” flyers throughout Europe, which directed people to an equally enigmatic website. Luke Telford reports their efforts were so striking, a growing number of people worldwide reported seeing, or even receiving advice from “This Man” in their dreams.

    4. Vague Booking

    Sometimes, creating mystery around an upcoming product or service can increase hype. Release intriguing and mysterious hints about what your company has planned, through vague booking details on your social media accounts.

    5. Scavenger Hunts

    A well-done scavenger hunt is every marketer’s dream. You’re able to inspire true action among brand advocates, and incite a level of excitement that is sure to reach their personal networks. Perhaps the most-famous example of a scavenger hunt that went almost entirely right is Dr. Pepper’s 2007 Treasure Hunt. By buying product, consumers unlocked access to clues which revealed information on the locations of high-value prizes sprinkled throughout the US. There were a few hitches along the way, including when hunting was banned in Boston due to a high risk of brand fans digging in a historic graveyard. Regardless, the buzz hasn’t entirely died down 6 years after the fact.

    Have you encountered any exceptional mystery marketing campaigns? 

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    Topics: Inbound Marketing