3 Lessons Marketers Can Learn from Star Wars

 

There's another Star Wars film coming out in December. It's no surprise; Episode 7 was extremely successful in December of last year. The trailer for "Rogue One" got us thinking. You know, Star Wars is so full of allegory and analogies and metaphors and such. Why not have fun with them and remind ourselves of a few marketing basics in the process? If you're in the process of ramping up your marketing efforts, this is worth a read. So, here it goes. These are three lessons marketers can learn from watching Star Wars films.

 

There's Always Another Death Star

 

More than once in the Star Wars saga, the Empire has constructed a giant moon-sized weapon that is capable of destroying planets. The goal is always to intimidate; to control the galaxy with fear. It always works until the rebels find a way to get inside the weapon/moon and blow it up somehow. In the case of "A New Hope," Luke uses the force to guide a missile into a tiny exhaust port on the otherwise impenetrable exterior of "the death star." 

 

The best business leaders are always looking for that exhaust port. For us, it looks like a niche product, a competitive advantage, a first-mover advantage, a weak point in a competitor's value proposition, etc. The exhaust port might even appear as an opportunity to jump to another region or sector, where your resources would be more effective. Let's say a competitor has gained the upper hand in the beer market of your home region, Naboo, by outspending you in the advertising arena. However, your competitor isn't based in Naboo. You have the opportunity to network, host events and generate word-of-mouth marketing there. That's your exhaust port. Put a missile into it and start searching for the next death star to destroy.

 

The Dark Side Is Real

 

The most memorable Star Wars villains - Darth Vader, as example - are masters of manipulation who can influence you with the dark side of "the force." Evil marketers may not be as cunning but they are sometimes as deceptive. Reading the small print of any product or service often reveals, and sometimes does not reveal (if someone's hiding it completely), a "catch." 

 

For example, when you get an email that says you've won a free cruise to the bahamas, it's wise to do research. You might be required to pay for travel to the port of Miami or for a night's stay in the Bahamas. Sometimes consumers can easily find out what the catch is and sometimes the deception is Darth-like. Today, it's a little easier to assess a company's reliability thanks to reviews on Google and other websites. Think of reviews as a consumer's Yoda, who warns them if they're falling into a trap that has been set by dark-side plotters. Don't be a dark-side plotter. Trustworthiness goes much farther than deception in the marketing world. 

 

Nobody Knows Anything at First

 

Time and time again, Star Wars characters have begun their stories knowing absolutely nothing about their powers. First it was Luke. Who discovered that he was "strong with the force" when he met Obiwan Kenobi. Then Anakin found out through Quigon Jinn; and then Rey found out through that funny little goggled character in the latest flick. All of the most famous Star Wars heroes were born into ignorance and found their way later. Luke and Rey were adults before they had an idea of how powerful they were.

 

There are two lessons we can learn from this. First, as a marketer, there's always learning to do. You're kind of on a level playing field at all times because the industry is changing so fast and there is so much help available from everywhere in the world, via the internet. Everyone from a fresh college marketing grad to the VP of marketing at PepsiCo is learning about new trends and new technology in the industry. Be a good padawan (trainee) if you're just starting out but if you're already a Jedi master, keep learning nonetheless.

 

Now for the second lesson we can learn. It is that our target market initially knows nothing about us, our products, our culture or anything else related to us. There's not a lot in the Star Wars films that we can use to explain this point but in the real world, marketers are working every day to transfer relevant messages from their companies to consumers. More than $66 million was spent advertising Star Wars Episode 7. You may not need to spend that much but you need to keep in touch with your existing customers and keep finding new ones.

 

Speaking of keeping in touch, keep in touch with us if you need help getting in touch with your marketing "force." To learn more about what we do, click here.

Jennifer Stainforth