9 Examples Showing that Marketing and Promotion Aren’t The Keys to a Successful Business

While marketing and promotion can certainly be useful tools for many businesses, they aren’t the only way to get ahead. There are so many great examples of businesses who have succeeded without having to spend a fortune on marketing campaigns or elaborate adverts. Let’s take a look at nine great examples that show you it’s possible to have a successful business without only focusing on marketing and promotion.

good to great by jim collins

Good to great

by Jim Collins

⏱ 16 minutes reading time

🎧 Audio version available

Buy on Amazon

Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s is one of the most popular grocery stores with younger buyers, but surprisingly enough, they didn’t start off by attracting attention on social media. While they have an Instagram account now, they started with just a basic website and Google+ page. The products that they have to offer their customers do the speaking for them, offering good value for money matched with excellent quality. Thanks to word of mouth and online recommendations, fans of the retailer quickly learn about new products they can’t miss in the store.


As one of the top retail brands in the world, you would be surprised to learn that Costco made its way to where it is today with minimal marketing and promotion. Their membership scheme is a great way to draw customers in and keep them returning over and over again. On top of that, they offer excellent working conditions for their staff members. They pay them a much higher than average salary, which helps them to retain staff who are proud to work for the company for many years.


In the beauty and cosmetic industry, marketing is one of the key ways most brands become successful. However, Kiehl’s is focused on offering high-quality products and developing a positive relationship with its customers. This leads to great experiences with their products and stores, which customers will happily recommend to their friends and family members. Word of mouth recommendations are one of the best types of marketing you can receive, and it doesn’t cost you a dollar out of your marketing budget.


While Lululemon has started advertising a little more in recent years, they have never relied heavily on this to attract business. It’s believed that 90% of their sales are at full price, and it’s rare to see heavy discounts on products in their stores. This shows that the brand values the quality of the leggings and clothing they produce and aren’t willing to cheapen their image with regular promotions. If you have a product you believe in and you know it is worth the price you are charging, follow their guidance and stick to what you believe it’s worth.


Thanks to their cameras producing videos and images that can be shared online, GoPro’s customers do most of the hard work for them. Each time an image is shared on social media, you are effectively advertising their product and the high-quality images it produces. While they do take part in some traditional marketing activities, these usually just involve GoPro footage that doesn’t cost a fortune for them to capture. Their product sells itself on its quality, and buyers automatically gravitate towards purchasing their official accessories, due to their build and quality.


It’s reported that ZARA only spends 0.3% of its sales on advertising each year, which is a tiny figure for the industry it’s operating within. They’ve taken the time to do their research on the consumer market, and they regularly monitor feedback from their audience to stay ahead of their competition. Each of the products that the brand produces comes in a limited run, so individuals are forced to purchase the product then, or they’ll miss out. This technique adds urgency to each purchase and means that they don’t have to spend money promoting each new release.


Primark is taking the world by storm as one of the best budget-friendly stores. It’s incredibly popular in the UK and is known for its low-cost products that are still of great quality. Primark rarely advertises its products on television or in magazines, as the prices simply sell the products for them. Primark has continued to expand around the world in the past decade, and everywhere that it launches, it attracts a new audience who are excited by its ever-changing products. The store has something new in stock almost every time you visit, forcing visitors to return regularly.


Luxury car brands don’t need to advertise in order to attract the right clientele to their business. Rolls-Royce continues to beat its sales records without implementing any traditional advertising campaigns. As they are focusing on attracting wealthy clients, they don’t need to engage in mass advertising campaigns. High-end brands can often follow this tactic, as the premium quality they offer speaks for itself, and their clients aren’t worried about benefitting from promotions or discounts.

Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme is one of the world’s most popular bakery brands, and they’ve never had to worry about advertising too much. While they do a few traditional marketing campaigns, the delicious taste of their products does all of the hard work for them. Their stores attract customers with their pretty displays, and customers are excited to enter and sample what they have on offer. This is a great example of using your storefront as your advertising space, and it doesn’t cost your marketing team anything.

All of these brands show you that marketing and promotion don’t have to cost your brand a fortune in order for you to succeed. The sales within these brands continue to increase year after year without wasting money on promoting their products or creating mass marketing campaigns. By offering a high-quality product that customers will purchase over and over again, you’ll have no issues expanding your audience. Word of mouth recommendations are one of the most powerful tools for companies today, so we encourage you to focus on what you have to offer to take advantage of these recommendations.

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