You wouldn't think that vampires would have much to teach small businesses, but as The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 opened in movie theatres across North America today, it got me thinking, as I often do, about marketing lessons that small businesses can take from an example that seemingly has nothing to do with them.
The lessons to take from the wildly popular vampire saga aren't so much about the story itself as the brilliance that went into building the brand and how marketers turned it into a money-making success.
In keeping with the fact that this is the fourth movie in the series, here are four marketing lessons that small businesses can take away from the Twilight saga.
Keep the focus on your core market
The team behind Twilight clearly understands its target market, and continues to develop films they will happily spend money on.
They don't try to expand their reach by shifting themes or by changing actors to add new elements that would appeal to new audiences.
Instead, they keep the focus on the main stars, the main themes and continuously give them more of what they know they want – drama, attractive vampires and stories of love, sex and the battle between good and evil.
The takeaway for a small business is to focus on immediate clients first and foremost, not prospects or the open marketplace. It is those who have already bought from you who are most likely to buy again.
Continuously sell and resell to your current client base as they are already raving fans who like your brand, products, services, people and values.
Extend your brand
The minds behind the Twilight brand didn't just stop at books or movies. They created many spinoff products, from dolls to posters to jewellery and purses.
Small businesses can do the same thing, adding on programs, seminars courses, books, subscriptions and endless other possibilities to their core products and services.
By developing new offerings, you augment what is coming from your primary revenue generator and open up new revenue streams.
Keep telling your story
When Twilight first hit theatres in 2008, there weren't very many competitors of the vampire variety. Today, the market is flooded with options for vampire fantasy, including The Vampire Diaries, Valemont, True Blood and many more.
Yet, with all the competition, Twilight still stays fresh with new storylines filled with drama that continues to move fans.
The key for small businesses working in a crowded marketplace is to continually differentiate their company by capitalizing on what they have that makes them stand out. Call it your story.
Make time to develop case studies and success stories, ask for client testimonials and develop a content marketing strategy that will push the tales of who you work with, what you do and how well you do it into the marketplace.
With the right amount of frequency, the marketplace will keep being reminded of who you are and why you're special, and will go to you when their needs are a match for what your story shares with them.
Promote your people
There is a significant focus on promoting the stars of Twilight because it's the trio of Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner who will continue to be identified with, and sell, the story.
This is critical and perhaps most relevant for professional service firms that don't have tangible products to sell. Their people are their products.
Give your people the ability to become the stars of your company and your marketplace. Support them by encouraging them to get involved in social media, build ad campaigns around them, and help get them on stage, in books and in webcasts.
The more you highlight your people and their expertise, the more likely the marketplace will respond by getting to know them as thought leaders and trust them enough to begin a conversation about how to use your peoples' skills to help clients with their businesses.
No matter what market you serve or whether you cheer for Team Edward or Team Jacob, there's a little something to learn from Twilight for everyone.
Special to The Globe and Mail
Ryan Caligiuri is a Winnipeg-based growth strategist who works with companies in hyper-competitive marketplaces that want to increase leads and demand to fill their pipeline, that need help breaking into or taking control of already established markets when there's a need to create more revenue streams, or to become more influential in the marketplace.
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