When I think of people who have influenced my childhood, teens, and now adult life, George Lucas is at the top of my list and here's why:
His stories enchanted me as a child so I went to see them again in my teens, and then was happy to see new stories in my twenties, and will regularly watch his films when on cable.
This is the result of great marketing and many shows as well as businesses could benefit from taking a few pages from his book. Here are the top five things that Lucas did that you can apply to your marketing on any show or business.
1. Tell a story with multiple points of view- One of the coolest things about Star Wars was the fact that we got to be a fly on the wall as a villian was plotting, we got to be inside a starfighter, we got to see what the other characters saw from all angles. Often marketing is focused in one direction and we never provide alternate points of view. Have you ever shown someone what is behind the curtain of your show? Your business? How about done an email blast about what the director of development actually does in your organization? By taking alternate points of view and giving more people access, you can increase your level of outreach.
2. Leave things out- In all of the films in the trilogy, the scenes usually ended with some sort of cliff hanger moment. Whether it was Han in Carbonite or Luke about to face Vader, Lucas would leave the scene to tell another part of the story which made you want to keep watching to find out what happens. Good marketing leaves something out so that your clients have a cliff hanger. They are waiting for some new piece of information or the conclusion to a point. You see this the most in email marketing when you have to click through to get the answer to a question. Think about your own marketing efforts. Is there a reason for people to stay on your mailing list? Is there a story you're telling that people are hungry for?
3. If something's a hit, take it away- One of the smartest things Lucas ever did was wait to bring the original movies back to the big screen. He could have done a weekend with all three films as a massive welcome back, but instead he made his audience wait for each film to be re-released on the big screen and when he gave us one, he took it away as the next one came in. If people are clamoring for something, and it's not readily available, they will wait if they want it bad enough. All too often in marketing, we find something we're doing is working like gang-busters, so we milk it as fast as we can. Imagine if just when people started going crazy for something, we made them wait a bit. It may make the demand that much bigger. It did for Lucas.
4. Galvanize your fan base- There is a reason that people go to Sci-fi conventions and Comic Con. It's because they are passionate fans of the material. Passionate fans want more than anybody else, so what did Lucas do? He took the trilogy, and added bonus features, collectible sets, merchandise and guess who bought them? The super passionate fans. Are there people who are really excited about your show or your business? What are the special bonuses that they get? How do you get your fan base to go to a convention and spread the word about you?
5. Cultivate a new generation- Whether you loved or hated the new movies, there is one thing that is certain. If you went to any of those films with a kid, they had a good time. While many of us will comment on the power of the original trilogy and our issues with the acting, story line, etc. in the newest films, there is still a whole new young generation running around swinging light sabers. Once your fan base gets older, you have one of two choices, start cultivating a new young crowd, or keep pushing the older crowd to choose you over the others. By exciting a new group of youngsters, there will be teens and adults in the future still spreading the word about Mr. Lucas' stories.
So the next time you are feeling stuck in your marketing efforts, stop for a second and ask are you George Lucas-ing it?
If not, the force may NOT be with you.
Thanks to all who came out for the Webspinner's event last night!
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