Considering it’s one of the most epic movie franchises in history, there’s no doubt that there have been some equally epic marketing strategies behind its success. Unfortunately, the tricks used by Star Wars’ promotions tend to fit a bit better with B2C marketing strategies, as opposed to B2B.
And so, for B2B marketers who are looking to draw wisdom and inspiration from one of the greatest stories ever told, let us look toward the events that took place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
“Stay on target.” - Gold Five
Think about how differently the story would have played out if the Rebel army just gave up as soon as Garven Dreis’ first strike missed the core of the Death Star during the Battle of Yavin. Instead, they regrouped. Luke Skywalker was able to succeed - destroying the Death Star.
In reality, abandoning a marketing initiative or losing focus on a target will probably be a lot more disastrous than continuing to move forward - especially during an initial run. If a campaign is not performing the way that you hoped, it’s much more important to complete the run, review the issues, make changes to the campaign, and then run it again. With the state of the current managed IT industry, an MSP can’t afford to abandon marketing strategies or initiatives and waste their budget and resources.
Who knows? Perhaps after a bit of trouble at the start, a campaign could turn out to be more successful than you ever imagined - landing your company the MSP contract you’d always dreamed of. In the words of Han to Luke, "Great shot, kid! That was one in a million!"
“You may dispense with the pleasantries, Commander. I am here to put you back on schedule." - Darth Vader
While in the business world, pleasantries tend to be a bit more acceptable than they are on an Imperial battle station, they aren’t enough to keep a marketing strategy moving in the right direction. When it comes to a marketing plan, each initiative builds on the those that came before, developing momentum and generating authority. Campaigns should be run, reviewed, revised and run again. If the campaign was improperly executed - the next run of the campaign will be affected.
Straying from your marketing strategy will significantly decrease its effectiveness. There are times when you’ll need your own Lord Vader to force-choke your strategy back on schedule. A strong marketing management team will go a long way toward improving the likelihood of marketing success.
Before long, your Death Star will be fully operational.
“You don’t need to see his identification ... These aren’t the droids you’re looking for ... He can go about his business ... Move along.” - Obi-Wan Kenobi
When you think about it, marketing is basically appealing to a target audience in an attempt to persuade them to behave a certain way. Of course, if we could perform Jedi mind-tricks, we could abandon all marketing efforts and force leads to convert to clients using only our minds.
In reality, you probably don’t have the persuasion skills of a Master Jedi like Obi-Wan. Luckily, us mortals have found ways to influence other people decisions. You can still make your target audience behave in the manner you’d like... it just takes a bit more effort. Here’s two of the top methods used by B2B marketers to encourage action from their target market.
- Social Proof: This very popular marketing initiative uses psychology to ease someone’s concerns about making a decision. By presenting a potential buyer with evidence that other people are happily using your service, you are in effect using peer pressure to get the desired outcome. Having client testimonials and case studies available on your website and shared via social media have higher conversion rates.
- Calls-to-Action: CTAs are a piece of text, a button, a picture, or another graphic on your website, social media or other platform that is strategically placed to draw a potential customer to click, call, or take another type of action. This is usually in exchange for the visitor’s contact information. ‘Click here!’ and ‘Call Now!’ are two very widely used examples of calls-to-action.
"Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1." - C-3PO
C-3PO’s metrics regarding the odds of whether or not the crew of the Millennium Falcon would survive the asteroids was less than appreciated at the time. In reality, the golden deity of the Ewok definitely had the right idea - at least for marketing your business.
For B2B marketers, the more statistics, odds, averages, and other measurements used, the higher the likelihood for a successful initiative. Since the majority of marketers are not being fired on by an enemy battle cruiser as they are considering whether or not to fly into a proverbial asteroid field, they would probably consider revising the marketing initiative that has an average success rate of 3,720 to 1.
"If once you start down the dark side, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan's apprentice." - Yoda
Much like the way uncontrolled anger and fear seduces Jedi Knights to the dark side, some businesses look for less-than-ethical ways of boosting sales and driving revenue. The use of grey or black hat marketing tactics is pretty tempting. After all, who wouldn’t like to generate more revenue for less effort. Cutting corners, exaggerating company information and other unsavory marketing methods may give your sales that push they needed... at least at first.
In the event that your deception is noticed by someone outside of your organization, the fallout could be extremely detrimental. Because of the widespread popularity of social networks, a minor incident may snowball into an intergalactic battle to save your company’s future. Not only will you risk both civil and criminal litigation, but the damage to your reputation may be irreparable. Remember, the Internet never forgets.
The best way to improve search engine rankings, build authority, and generate more leads is to learn what which best practices for your company. In the words of Yoda, "In a dark place we find ourselves, and a little more knowledge lights our way.”
There are times when we’ve all felt like a Rebel base trying to compete for market space against an Imperial assault. Luckily for us, with a bit of strategy and planning, the Empire doesn’t stand a chance. It turns out that marketing - is a lot like Star Wars... only without lightsabers.