Digital Marketing Lessons From Yoda, Luke, Princess Leia & Han Solo

Marketing inspiration can be gleaned from many sources, and in this case, we look to the famed characters of Star Wars to help us on our way. Let’s review a few pithy quotes from likes of Han Solo, Princess Leia and the great and wise Yoda, and see how they might apply to digital marketing.

LESSONS FROM HAN SOLO

“Punch it.” Take your content to the next level, make it relevant and continually review and refine. In other words, punch up your content!

“Look, I ain’t in this for your revolution, and I’m not in it for you, princess. I expect to be well paid. I’m in it for the money.” Though most organizations are in it for the profit, the goal of many digital marketing campaigns is to establish credibility and to build an online rapport. This is especially true for considered purchase items. So… focus on educating and helping first, and selling second.

“Great, kid. Don’t get cocky.” If your business is growing nicely, now is the time to invest in new ideas, technologies and resources to continue that growth. Don’t get cocky and think that you can continue to sell and market the same way you did a few years ago (or more).

“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.” Old school thinking may not appeal to your progressively younger buyers. Innovate and stay ahead of the curve. That said, we never want to use an email “blaster” mentality. Always follow email marketing opt-in best practices.

“Traveling through hyperspace ain’t like dusting crops, farm boy.” Email marketing to thousands of prospects list is a giant leap from a modest list of a few hundred. Keep this in mind when creating new, aggressive email marketing initiatives.

“Great shot kid, that was one in a million.” Any given campaign can prove to be a home run, but consistent, educational campaigns should be the goal for every business.

“Laugh it up, Fuzz ball.” It’s great to have fun with your marketing initiatives, but many B2B businesses should err on the side of professionalism with educational and relevant content. Explaining the origin of Foosball, or the best recipe for New England clam chowder in your business blog is unlikely the best way to engage your audience.

LESSONS FROM YODA

“Patience you must have, my young Padawan.” Marketing, including digital marketing, takes time and patience. Execute, Measure, Refine. Execute, Measure, Refine. There is no substitute for an experienced digital marketing professional. Don’t trust your digital marketing to a novice or treat it as a part time job to be completed by a salesperson, producer or account manager when and if they have time.

“Mmm. Lost a planet, Master Obi-Wan has. How embarrassing.” Though it must be very embarrassing to lose a planet, forgetting to include a working call to action link can be embarrassing too! Double check all your links before launching campaigns.

“You must unlearn what you have learned.” Just because something has worked in the past doesn’t mean you should continuing doing it in the future. Sometimes you need to step back and assess marketing initiatives, even if they’ve been successful in prior years and for many years.

LESSONS FROM LUKE SKYWALKER

“It’s not impossible. I used to shoot womprats with my T16 back home.” Laser like focus can be invaluable for marketing campaigns. Defining a target market, determining a buyer persona, creating a prospect scorecard and ensuring that your company has a robust prospect list are all crucial to effective and efficient marketing. Whether you’re targeting womprats or trucking executives, make sure you have the data and methodology in place when embarking on your next campaign.

I’m Luke Skywalker. I’m here to rescue you.” Are some of your marketing initiatives going so poorly they need to be rescued? How are you determining which plans need to be rescues versus those that need to be jettisoned? Marketing initiatives need to be reviewed on a regular basis, and culled when they are beyond rescue.

“I am a Jedi, like my father before me.” My father founded this company, so I’m going to run it the way he did. As companies transition from fathers to sons and daughters, there are important elements to keep, and many to throw away. When it comes to marketing, look at what has produced recent ROI, and look at innovative approaches for future ROI. A simple example might be the website your father (Jedi or otherwise) created ten years ago. It might have been great then, but the time has come and gone to create a new, mobile responsive website.

LESSONS FROM LUKE DARTH VADER

The force is strong with this one.” Once you earn a positive digital reputation, the force will be strong with your company, and can remain strong with high quality content and consistent communication.

“It is your destiny. Join me, and together we can rule the galaxy as father and son.” Though ruling the galaxy may be beyond the scope of your business, you can dramatically increase your book of business with innovative marketing initiatives, leading edge tools and the talent to execute them. Considering outsourcing certain marketing initiatives to compliment any missing in house staffing or skills. Outsourcing can be a more effective solution than internal staffing for many organizations, especially smaller businesses.

LESSONS FROM PRINCESS LEIA

“Help me Obi-wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.” Though marketing can often be daunting for many companies, particularly small businesses, it’s not as hopeless as it might initially seem. And there usually isn’t just one silver bullet that will solve a problem(s), but rather many options which can provide successful outcomes. When initiatives are going poorly, start with the basics such as market, profile, persona, delivery options, etc. Use A/B split testing (or multivariate split testing) to better optimize messaging and calls to action.

“Aren’t you a little short for a storm trooper?” Just because your budget is small doesn’t mean it can’t be effective. For example, leverage less expensive tools and platforms to expand reach. Use LinkedIn long form publishing as opposed to paid press releases. Cross pollinate your digital content by using free or inexpensive social media platforms. Small businesses and startups can use sweat equity when they have insufficient capital available.

“I have a bad feeling about this.” Well this one seemed quite obvious. If you don’t have a good feeling about your marketing campaign or initiative, think out of the box (or “poke the box”) and try something new. How about whiteboard videos, or a social media based referral program, infographics for digital content, on demand webinars, a new app, or pod casts. There are so many tools and technologies available today, there is something for companies both small and large.

LESSONS FROM OBI-WAN

Strike me down, and I will become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.” If at first you don’t succeed, measure, refine (or overhaul), and execute. Repeat!

Marketing inspiration can be gleaned from both traditional and innovative sources. Businesses need to embrace innovative marketing ideas and new technologies. And if your business is looking to “punch it” when it comes to marketing, you may wish to consider outsourcing some or all digital marketing to a professional and proficient marketing agency.

What Marketing Automation Means?

The very basic formula of any marketing is:

Defining Prospects + Contact Details + Campaign = Marketing

The act of automating these steps with the help of technology and software turns it into Marketing Automation.

Thus, when with the help of a business software some or many steps of marketing are handled automatically by a software or application, that’s called marketing automation.

Beginning of Marketing Automation

So, at the beginning, when computer and internet were new and weren’t matured as much as they are today, the marketing companies used to compile a long list of prospective clients and then send them the same mail one by one. Then someone invented a function by which people were able to enlist all email IDs in one email and send a bulk email.

We can call that the first Marketing Automation attempt as the system had automated one part of the marketing campaign. Now there was no need to send each individual one by one. It was now done with a single click. Though, you had to create a database of all the email IDs first, but the repetitive process of composing the same email for every individual was discarded.

From the that time on, people have just built upon the same idea, transformed more manual steps into the automatic ones and more and more repetitive efforts performed by executives has turned into automated ones.

Today, it is possible to send one mail to a thousand (or a million) people without writing a single word, without entering email IDs manually or hitting send at the moment you want send it.

How? A few types of mails have readymade formats available for free. You can take that format as the body of your mail. Then there are services which provide you list of email IDs in the domains you require. And then on an email client, you schedule your emails to automatically be sent without your presence. See? Nothing is written and yet you have sent thousands of emails with a few clicks.

Though, such email with readymade templates will have a very low conversion rate. Yet, it reflects the reach and advancements in the marketing automation segment. You are only required to tell the software what you want to do and then, everything is done automatically.

Marketing Automation: Intelligence Gathering

Marketing Automation software has gone advanced and thus they have also made the every steps of marketing advanced. The aforementioned simple formula of marketing has become complex, much more focused, centralized and aligned for the maximum ROI. Nowadays, only gathering lists of email IDs isn’t enough. For maximum efficiency you have more software and techniques to discard the people and steps which have less possibility to turn into conversion. You can target only those people who have higher likability of turning into a customer.

How you/software know that?

Today, in the times of matured internet with the social media sites, increased internet footprints, there is software available which follows and tracks a person’s internet footprint on social media, search engines, different websites and all the things they click and look out for on the internet. After that, the software segmentizes the data and turns it into actionable information. Basing on that information, the tool suggests you the people which are most likely to convert into customer as they are probably following the similar things which falls into the product category of your product or their interests and search results suggests that they are interested into the product you are selling i.e. a person running a big firm is more likely to buy your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system than a man who sells candies at a local shop. Thus, you can discard the people who aren’t going to buy your product and focus only on the people with higher likability. This way, your spending on mail clients shows higher ROI with maximum efficiency. The rate of replies, mail openings, leads and ultimately to the conversion also stays high.

Thus, the software and tools are helping to maximize your performance by intelligence gathering from online sites and people’s online footprints. Collected intelligence is helping you to do marketing efficiently, smartly and with higher return.

Marketing Automation: Workflow Automation inside the Company

There is this third part of the marketing automation which furthers the game to the next level which makes sure that you are always there to close the deal for any customer who is interested in your product. It’s called Workflow Automation.

Workflow Automation actually tracks the performance of the recent marketing campaign and sees if the prospect has reached to a level where he is considering buying your product. He is probably visiting your website regularly, spends longer time on it or is visiting the product pricing page. At that time, the marketing automation software understands the prospect’s higher possibility of turning into a conversion. At that critical time, the software sends to one of your marketing executive an alert for such a prospect who, from there on, can take predefined steps to ensure the prospect turns into a conversion. The Marketing Automation Software are looking at the people’s profiles, habits, nature and collective psychographic data to understand if he will be interested in your product or not.

That’s marketing automation at its maximum performance.

You can understand that all the marketing automation tricks, techniques and ways described here are just the extensions of the decades old basic marketing formula. Those three steps are now highly matured with their own sub-parts, polished to a level where the conversion ration stays high, with segmented information about the prospects to target only the best ones and achieve results with far higher leads and conversions than its basic counterpart.

Marketing Automation isn’t only for Email Marketing.

That’s true. Whenever a person thinks of online marketing, email marketing pops up the first. But, as its well-known, there are a lot of other ways to market your product online. Social media posts, online conferences/calls/webinars, website promotion, advertisements, etc. There are a lot of options and each one is a marketing effort.

Now, in each of these techniques, if there is a Marketing Automation Software available which is making a few steps automatic i.e. posting on multiple social media sites at once or posting articles/press releases automatically on multiple article directories or article/PR submission sites, then that software is helping in your marketing campaign and is making it automatic. That is also a marketing automation software.

Marketing Automation isn’t bound only to email marketing.

How to know if you require a marketing automation software?

The criteria is simple. If you rely on email marketing, social media marketing and other traceable online marketing techniques, then here are the situations to use a marketing automation software:

  1. If you are repetitively sending thousands and thousands of emails to your prospect on daily/weekly/monthly basis
  2. You require a detailed review of your marketing campaign
  3. Using a software reduces cost/time/efforts spent on the task greatly

Benefits

Benefits of marketing automation are:

  1. It accelerates the whole campaign tremendously
  2. Marketing Intelligence helps you to target only prospects with higher conversion possibility
  3. Your employees get great support to track down and assist the most interested prospect. Thus, it goes to the last mile to ensure one more deal is closed.
  4. The detailed analytics and statistics help you to get better and better with your every campaign

The 2 Most Deadly Sins of B2B Marketing

There are two major reasons why marketing is failing at your small- or medium-sized B2B firm:

You view marketing as business triage. Your company applies a collection of tactics (often labeled as a “marketing campaign”) only in response to a problem; typically involving the loss of a key client, or decline in revenue. When business is good, little or no time is invested in marketing. When business (inevitably) takes a dip, only then does marketing becomes a priority.

You expect marketing to deliver immediate results. Either because your company always views marketing on a “cause & effect” tactical basis, or because marketing triage must be applied quickly to revive an ailing company, the marketing function is given insufficient time to produce tangible results. It’s no surprise that marketing professionals have the shortest tenure of any corporate function in the asset management business.

The hard truth is that very few B2B business owners either understand the marketing function, or have the discipline to design, implement, measure and adhere to a consistent marketing approach that builds brand equity and market engagement over a sustained period.

To establish the infrastructure and internal culture necessary for the marketing discipline to succeed, we offer the following simple path:

  • Create a Written Marketing Plan. This need not be in a 3-inch binder; a two-page document is often sufficient. Include goals, strategies, responsibilities, timelines, budgets and ways to measure results. Without a Marketing Plan you’ll waste lots of time and money. And unless it’s a written document, you won’t have commitment or accountability.
  • Gain Senior Level Commitment. The honcho in corner office (which might be you) must understand, endorse and support the Marketing Plan. This involves more than lip service. If your Plan isn’t properly staffed and funded at the outset, there’s no real commitment to marketing.
  • Do a Few Things Very Well.Your marketing success will be based on the quality and effectiveness of a limited number of strategies / tactics. Firms sometimes go overboard, thinking there’s a correlation between the size of its marketing investment and business results. But less is usually more, in terms of marketing ROI.
  • Build and Nurture your Database.Direct and easy access to your company’s clients, prospects, referral sources and opinion leaders is essential. Without an email pipeline, the marketing value of the content you create is close to zero. If your firm’s thought leadership simply sits on its website or social media, you’re missing the opportunity to build relationships with people in your target audiences.
  • Create Meaningful Content. Self-serving, long-winded white papers and research reports have very limited appeal. Generate content that validates your company’s intellectual capital, that’s easy to read, and focuses on timely topics that people have a genuine interest in.
  • Drive Top-of-Mind Awareness. To be included on the short list of candidates for an assignment or sale, you need to build awareness with key decision-makers. To accomplish that goal, share your content directly with target audiences on a quarterly basis. (More frequently than that, and you may be viewed as a pest.)

Most importantly – with apologies to Glengarry Glen Ross – B2B firms must commit to:

A… Always

B… Be

M… Marketing

… for the discipline to be effective. Otherwise, the traditional short-term, hair-on-fire approach to business development will keep your company from ever reaching its full potential, regardless of its quality or reputation.