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29th October 2019

Marketing Lessons From Scary Movies

minute read

It’s undeniable - we all make mistakes. It’s always helpful to learn from them though, whether it’s hitting the snooze button too many times, cooking fish in the office microwave, or wearing high heels when you expect to encounter a psychopath with a chainsaw.

Scary movies are filled to the brim with characters suffering from questionable logic, making very poor choices again and again. While they might not learn from their mistakes, we (as marketers) can.

We know that you wouldn’t pick up the menacing hitchhiker, so don’t let copy errors, poor research or bad customer service derail your marketing strategy. We’ve compiled some marketing lessons that will not only cement you as the final girl (or boy), but the strongest left standing:

Be nice to your customers

There is always a jerk in a horror film - sometimes even more than one. This is the guy who treats everyone badly. Whether they’re cheating on the heroine with her best friend, betraying the group to the bad guy, or just looking out for themselves, we all know they won’t make it to the film’s end.

If you are rude to your customers, you might not be murdered in the shower, but you will cause upset and lose a significant portion of your sales. So, don’t let your customers kill you off first, but flash them a smile; keep communication friendly, and assure them that you will be sticking around for the second half.

Make a plan and stick to it

If you wind up in situations where there’s a psycho killer running around, it’s imperative you have a plan for survival. Countless horror movies show their characters splitting up or trying to escape without a firm action plan, typically leading to gruesome slaughters at the hands of the knife-wielding bad guy.

Marketing without a plan probably won’t bring you into the path of a gloved madman, but it will have some rather grisly repercussions. Make sure all staff members, strategies, systems and tools are on the same page to avoid losing information, duplicating efforts, and making more work for all involved.

Download our in-depth guide on planning your marketing and let’s get you started.

Never assume a lead is dead

One of the greatest cardinal sins of horror movies is presuming the psycho killer is dead, rather than actually knowing it. It doesn’t matter whether you are a frantic airhead or kickass femme fetale, that fatal mistake will seal your fate. We're then forced to waste a lot more time sitting through interminable sequels.

While you may not have vanquished a killer, when a lead goes dead it can be disheartening, and there’s a temptation just to let the credits roll. However, assuming a cold customer cannot be revived not only hurts your revenue but diminishes your customer base. Instead, double your efforts to re-engage with them and your relationship will be all the better for it.

Know your environment inside and out

What finally dooms a lot of horror movie characters is not the monster running around, but their unfamiliarity with the surroundings. Whether they’re in the Australian outback or marooned on a farm far from home, not knowing where to run and hide gives them a significant disadvantage.

When it comes to your marketing, it’s important that you understand the landscape and culture you’re working in. You will struggle to win over customers if you can’t differentiate between the crowds on Twitter and Linkedin or you’re not up-to-date with current trends. Without taking the time to thoroughly explore your environment you and your business are not much more than monster bait.

Learn from your competitors

Every movie villain has a weakness, whether it’s water, loud noises or their own mother. If the characters had done some simple research into the villain’s backstory, the bodycount could have been far less.

Okay, maybe it’s a stretch to compare your competitors to Jason Voorhees, but a lot can still be gained by learning about your enemies. Never assume you know best, but find inspiration from your competitors while also finding ways to do better.

How do your competitors treat customers? Do they have social media? How big is their marketing budget? Once you answer these questions, you can decide how best to vanquish your nemesis, as well as steal what they most hold dear - customers.

We've compiled these marketing tactics to help your business get ahead of even the most sinister adversary.

Service so good it’s scary

A great customer experience should be your business's main ambition. Now, we understand that killer service will not save you from a flesh-eating zombie. But it could save you from a number of untold marketing horrors as well as further complications down the road.

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