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 Is Digital Marketing and What Does It Mean to My Business?

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital Marketing is the use of digital technology to deliver your marketing messages and to allow your customers to interact with your business.

Traditionally marketing has been about pushing your messages to your customer. With technology, now you can enter into a dialogue with your customers and deliver what they actually want and not want you think they want. Often there is quite a gap and digital marketing is what allows you to communicate one to one with your customers and on a mass scale.

So what areas does digital marketing cover?

For me Digital Marketing includes:

  • Web Sites which includes:
    • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – Getting found on Google etc
    • Pay Per Click (PPC) – Paying for somebody to find you on Google etc
    • Banner Adverts – Paying for banners to get visitors to your site
    • Ecommerce – The ability to buy and sell products, services and information over the Internet.
  • Consumer Reviews – Consumer reviews are a powerful way to get consumers on to your eCommerce site as they make the purchasing decision easier as the reviews are by consumers who have purchased the product. Whole businesses are built around this concept such as TripAdvisor.
  • Blogs. Personal web sites with stories, expert opinion etc that you believe will help your readers, customers and stakeholders.
  • Social Media. Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube, Google+, Ushi, Xing etc. These are web based systems that allow you to connect and share information such as ideas, links, photos, videos with like minded people. They can also generate income for your business and so can be routes to market for your business. They can be great ways to connect with people who you may not be able to get to by any other means. Twitter can be a great source of publicly available real time information and has reported major global events ahead of the world’s press.
  • Social Media News. Mashable is by far the biggest social media news site.
  • Online PR. There are specific web sites for making press releases available to the press. Prlog.org and helpareporter.com are examples.
  • Webinars/Events – Webinars are one to many seminars distributed across the Internet. This allows you to present to a large number of people independent of location. Events are traditional meetings or workshops but are marketed through Social networks such as Linkedin.
  • Email Marketing – The sending out of bulk emails which you believe are relevant to the people you are sending the message to.
  • Lead Nuturing – This is where a prospect gives you their email address in exchange for something free. This is usually an eBook (in pdf format), video, course of emails on how to do something.
  • Viral Marketing – The sending out of a message which is so compelling that people forward it on to other people unknown to you. A great way to send out a message if you get it right.
  • Video – Increasingly popular method of sharing ideas, passing on information and selling on the web. Great for selling more complex products or services. YouTube is the most popular at the present but video is becoming embedded into more digital media.
  • Music/Podcasts. Spotify is becoming the most popular legal file sharing system as it gives you access to a large range of music. Podcasts are voice recordings about a particular subject. They can be download for listening to on computer or MP3 players at a later date. Great for relaxation or for learning about a new subject whilst travelling.
  • Chat/Instant Messaging/Skype. Chat and Instant Messaging are systems for conversations using a keyboard which are done in real time. I.e. one person types something and the other responds. Both need to be present and online for this to work. Users of Facebook, Bebo etc use this, especially the younger generation. Skype is an internet based video and phone system that allows Skype users to call each other for free or at lot low cost and is becoming increasingly popular for business use and will grow now that the video version is available on Facebook.
  • Smartphone or Mobile Apps. Smartphone or mobile apps (or software applications which is where the term is derived from) are small pieces of computer software that run on your phone that allow you to do things that you would normally do on a computer. The need to work anywhere, anytime means that these will become increasing popular with business systems starting to appear on them. Great for anybody who works away from the office including executives, technical and sales people. Also watch for a growing number of consumers using their mobiles for online purchases as they fill their time waiting for something.
  • Cloud based storage/File Sharing. The Cloud is for most purposes another name for the Internet. So Cloud based storage is the ability to store information on the internet including backups and sending large files to customers and suppliers. DropBox and Yousendit are examples of systems for sharing large files between unrelated users. There are a wide range of suppliers of remote backup systems now with most corporates including them in their backup strategies. Personal File sharing is also available for two or more computers to be linked together to share information including music and videos. Personal File Sharing is generally not a business tool for larger corporates.
  • Cloud based systems. These are systems that allow you to work anywhere. Google has Google Docs, Microsoft has Office 365. A lot of third party software providers are moving their systems onto the Cloud so that customers can access them from anywhere and don’t have to worry about their own IT infrastructure. Companies are moving their IT infrastructure on to the Cloud in order to reduce costs as all the infrastructure is managed by a third party.
  • Extranets/Web based Systems. Companies are now looking to give customers and suppliers access to their information (through Extranets) and their systems (through Web based systems). This allows customers and suppliers to access to information relevant to them and enables them to do any processing on a DIY basis saving you both time and money such as the entering and progressing of orders and checking stock levels.
  • Remote Access. The ability to work anywhere means that you sometimes need access to your computer at home or work. Remote access through web sites such as Teamview and Logmein are a great way to get at critical documents away from the computer. Some of these systems allow you to do on line demonstrations of your product and service. This saves you and your customer time and money.
  • Online Games/Gaming. More gaming companies are moving their operations on to the web so that their services can be accessed anywhere anytime. Also notice that more consumer applications have games technology or ideas built in to them in order to make it more fun to buy. The term is called gamification. This could be a challenge for parents as the line becomes blurred between buying something and playing a game.

In an age where systems are everywhere businesses need to understand how to exploit Digital Marketing as it is a means to improving the service to your customers, driving down costs and making your organization more agile.

All organizations large and small need to understand Digital Marketing and have a strategy of how they are going to exploit the opportunities that Digital Marketing has to offer.

Why Inexperience Will Cause Newbie Internet Marketers to Fail

Failure. The one thing all Internet marketers never want to hear. And that is understandable Nobody wants to fail, right?

I have researched some of the reasons why most newbie internet marketers fail. In this article, you may identify yourself – or others you know. This article is not meant to be one of condemnation. It is being delivered so you can identify what areas you can improve and avoid the dreaded “F” word!

First, let me state up front that I mean nothing derogatory with the term “newbie.” Everyone was a newbie at some point in time. It is kind of like being a called a “rookie” in major league sports. Once you have that first year under your belt, you are no longer a rookie. The same for internet marketing. However, a “newbie” could mean a 5 year marketer if that person continues to make “rookie mistakes.” I am using the term “newbie” simply because most new comers to internet marketing are looking for the “quick buck” and most tend to make the same mistakes – “rookie mistakes.”

It is my intention to provide you with the information I have discovered and identified my own shortcoming with as well. I may not have made all of the mistakes I will get into, but I have made more than one of them (I can attest to that)! But I am including a few of the others I have not made (phew!) because I have found there are many people who have made them.

The Number 1 Reason Why Newbie Internet Marketers Fail:

They Do Not Have the Experience

That is pretty clear, right?

Most newbies lack the experience of marketing a product in which they never have a face to face interaction with their clients. Most people understand about face-to-face marketing and the art of “smiling, agreeing with the statements made by the customer, etc.” Internet marketing is a completely different environment.

Experience in this area is the only way to gain the skill set necessary to be successful. Does that mean the newbie marketer is already destined to fail? No. It means the newbie marketer must make the extra effort to ensure success.

By learning the methods needed to capture the attention of the buyer; learning what the potential preferences are of the buyer; learning the reasons why the buyer desires their product; learning how to communicate the advantages of their product to satisfy the buyer’s needs – all without any verbal interaction. Only using the written word (and in audio or video marketing as well – but the newbie will never “see” the client).

This means the new internet marketer must make a concentrated effort to study the market; study the products; study the tactics used by the experts. This takes time and dedication. It means admitting you do not know everything. It means admitting you cannot do it on your own (as least not right away). It means accepting the fact that immediate riches will probably not be flooding into your back account right way.

Now, there are exceptions to every rule. But those exceptions are few and far between. But most newbie marketers (myself included when I first started out) think “they” will be the exception and will reach financial independence ahead of their peers. This mindset will almost always result in discouragement and failure.

What are the ways to overcome this “Inexperience Factor?”

Probably the best way to gain experience is by “doing.” That sounds simple enough, right? But let me explain…

The worst thing a newbie can do is to enter the highly competitive field of internet marketing and think he or she is going to become rich overnight while competing against some marketers who have been doing this for years. The best solution to this situation is to team up with an experienced marketer who can guide them through the first stages of internet marketing and help the newbie avoid some of the pitfalls that plague newbies and drive them from success straight into failure.

There are numerous places to gain that type of experience and information. It would take volumes to write about each one. My intent here is simply to make the newbie marketer aware that “you are not destined to failure.” As a matter of fact, failure in and of itself is also a learning tool. Thomas Edison was quoted as saying, when questioned by a reporter as to why he was not discouraged after failing 10,000 times in making the light bulb, his answer was, “Why should I be discouraged? I found 10,000 ways it would not work!”

So it is with gaining experience in internet marketing. You can go the way of 10,000 failures on your own, just so you know not to try it that way again, or you can read about the one or two ways a person who has had success did it and then follow the same path. I’m not talking about “copying” the person (though some advocate that). I’m talking about seeing what your comfort zone is; I’m talking about what “clicks” with your personality, experiences, desires and goals.

Not every method works for every person. If you examine successful marketers, almost all of them utilize the fundamentals but then they tend to specialize in certain areas. Take, for example, a football team. You see the players all decked out in their uniforms and you can rationally say about any one individual, “He is a football player.” And that statement would be true.

But if you look at the individual players and analyze their strengths and weaknesses, you soon realize that some of them weigh 300+ pounds. That person probably is not a wide receiver or a running back. Most likely, he is a lineman. Another is short and lanky and you see him out kicking field goals all practice long. You see a player throwing balls through tires hung at different levels and different yardages – he is probably a quarterback. Each person has a unique set of skills they bring to the “football team.”

So it is with internet marketing. You may not be cut out to be a marketer in the self-help niche. You may be more of a hands on type of person who enjoys working on cars or building houses, making you uniquely qualified to assist others in that niche. People looking for information on “How to fix their car” or “How to remodel their kitchen.” Others may be more uniquely qualified to give “relationship advice.” Others on “How to build a website.”

You see, there are 1,001 different ways (actually more than that) to make a living as an online marketer. YOU have a special skill set that somebody needs to know. And you have the opportunity to share the experience you already possess in that area – and be paid for it! You need to sit down and ask yourself (and give an honest answer), “What do I know that other people always ask me about?”

It could be anything from repairing a clogged drain to fixing a car engine; from hanging dry wall to installing landscaping. Whatever you enjoy doing; whatever you are always helping someone with; whatever people are always seeking your advice on – these are the areas you need to focus. This is probably going to be your niche market. This is the area you will probably be the most successful.

The successful marketers are able to identify what they did wrong and begin to take corrective action to put them on the path to success. Failure to identify weak areas will just mean the marketer is more likely to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.