No matter how solid your business model or how good your product is, crafting an effective marketing strategy is the key to long-term success. Marketing today is about customer engagement…finding your target audience and delivering what they want, when they want it.
If you’re struggling to find the right marketing strategy, take a cue from Hollywood. Here’s how…
Minority Report: Create Targeted Advertisements
Remember that scene from Minority Report, where Tom Cruise is striding purposefully through the mall, past dozens of projected ads that scan his eyes and address him by name to pitch targeted products? “John Anderton! You could use a Guinness right about now!”
While we may not be quite ready for retina scans, leveraging customer data to target ads is already refined to the point where Amazon thinks it can anticipate what you want to buy…and so it ships items to a nearby distribution point before you make the order.
Mobile apps and social media make it possible for marketers to reach customers at the point of sale, while customers are looking for a place to have dinner or purchase a new pair of jeans.You can take advantage of the trend immediately by placing ads on Foursquare—it’s a cheap, easy solution and with 45 million users; your customer base is already signed up. You may even want to consider building a custom app for your business.
Toy Story: Collaborate
What message could a kid’s movie about animated toys possibly have for a marketing campaign? To answer that question, you have to look at the companies behind the movie. In 1994, Steve Jobs owned Pixar, and the company was going under fast. The saving grace that pulled the company off the chopping block was collaboration. Pixar signed a contract with Disney to create Toy Story…and the rest is history.
Collaboration put the incredible talents of the Pixar team in the spotlight thanks to Disney’s marketing machine, and in return, Pixar delivered a roaringly successful movie and a fortune in revenues. Win/win!
This year, Toyota leveraged Disney’s mojo by teaming up with the Muppets for a great marketing collaboration designed to hit parents (who buy minivans) right where they live.
You may not have the juice to harness the mouse house, but you can team up with other local businesses and collaborate with your customers to add oomph to your marketing efforts.
Moneyball: Analyze Your Data
Bet you thought Moneyball was about baseball. Ok, it was, but marketers see it differently. It was about data mining—and about getting the most bang for the buck. The strategy was to dig deep into the stats to find the overlooked players, so as to bypass the pricey superstars and find undervalued players who delivered (i.e. the players that got on base).
The A’s went on to an unprecedented 20-game winning streak, finished first in their division, and won a record-breaking 103 games. It was a result that changed baseball. Big data now takes center stage in player selection.
In a very similar way, big data can streamline your marketing efforts…and deliver the most bang for your buck. Using CRM to track customer data can help you determine which marketing efforts work, so you can stop wasting time and money on those that don’t.
Jurassic Park: Don’t Blindly Trust Technology
Technology was the core of Jurassic Park; technology, the addictive lure of exploration, and a new experience we couldn’t resist. But just imagine the scenario in real life—pouring a massive amount of your business money into technology that fails while in beta…before it’s even launched. It happens more often than you might think. (Remember that time the government tried to rollout a healthcare website and it failed miserably for months?)
The lesson here is pretty simple: a fancy new product won’t do you any good if it doesn’t WORK. Before you invest in an expensive enterprise system that proves too difficult, complicated, or buggy to be efficient, do your homework. Find solutions that fit your business needs, your budget, and your staff.
The Matrix: Get Real
Set in a dystopian world where nothing is at it seems, The Matrix relies on the computer-generated illusion of life to control the population while it drains their energy. With the help of a group of rebel freedom fighters, lead character Neo is introduced to the gritty reality of the real world, where humans are enslaved by sentient machines.
Corporate illusions are no longer good enough. The Internet has made false fronts almost impossible to sustain. Negative stories have legs, and every customer interaction, good or bad, may be seen by millions.
In its code of conduct, Google puts it succinctly. “Don’t be evil.” Simple, right? Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want your mother to hear about, because she will. Customers are savvy and skeptical. They know seeing isn’t always believing, and you can’t fool them. Your only option is to show your customers what you really are…and deliver the level of customer service and engagement they expect and deserve.
Don’t worry, there’s a reward. You deliver the real thing: transparency, sincere customer engagement, a true and consistent corporate culture that puts customer needs at the forefront of your business—and you get an army of loyal brand advocates in return.
Movies may be fun escapes from life, but they are grounded in reality. If they don’t resonate basic human truth, they crash and burn at the box office. We want to see believable characters who react in a way we can relate to. It is the core of truth that speaks to each of us, coupled with drama, humor, excitement, or adventure, that makes for a box-office smash. And you can count on the same wisdom from popular movies to improve your marketing strategy.
photo credit: edenpictures