NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- One of the first lessons for any business, no matter what industry or size, is the importance of cost-efficient and effective marketing.
Small businesses have an additional challenge: getting noticed while competing against larger, more established firms, and on what is likely a much smaller budget. Add in a tough economy and continued consumer purse-string tightening and small-business marketing can be a tough trick indeed.
But more than a few small businesses have decided to go big or go home, pulling out all the stops to get brand recognition through some creative and, uh, different strategies.
"A small business isn't going to be able to use traditional marketing tools and spend millions of dollars -- you almost have to go for the wacky, so to speak, in order to get some attention," says Lonny Strum of the Voorhees, N.J.-based Strum Consulting Group.For a small business that wants to grow, "it's usually not through sending out direct-mail pieces," Strum says. But big ideas are not easy to come by. "One out of every 100 is a great idea," he says, warning that businesses need to be sure the idea reaches the right audiences and reflects well on the business. Here are five businesses that executed some untraditional marketing tactics -- and succeeded.