We all love movies, but what we love even more are those memorable one-liners that you hear repeated time and time again. Earlier this week as we were reciting some of the favorites (of course with our best celebrity impression), we thought why not turn this into a useful exercise. So for this week’s Free-for-all Friday, we’ve selected our favorite movie quotes and what that means for marketing. Here are some Movie Quotes to Market By…
“You keep using that word… I do not think it means what you think it means.” – The Princess Bride
There is nothing more annoying than seeing slogans, ads and propaganda that is chock-full of trendy buzzwords that A) don’t apply to the message and B) have to be defined before you can understand the message. Trust me there are enough words in the English language that are available to help craft your message and get your point across. Use plain speak everyone understands.
“Damn! We’re in a tight spot.” – O’ Brother Where Art Thou?
You know why you’re in a tight spot? It’s because you are approaching marketing as a last resort. There are too many companies out there that perform in a niche market or simply believe that their company is so well established that they “don’t have a need for marketing.” It’s these people that probably think that marketing is equivalent to advertising. They don’t think of it as a way to tell their story, reinforce their brand, and create advocates instead of an audience. If a company continues to think like this, it won’t be that long before a competitor comes along who doesn’t think like that, and that is when you’ll be in a tight spot.
“You Talkin’ to Me?” – Taxi Driver
I’m sure most people remember the famous scene in Taxi Driver where Robert De Niro is talking to himself in the mirror while practicing drawing his gun and saying “You Talkin’ to Me.” It’s a great question he asks in terms of business. When it comes to marketing the first step in developing any communication, whether it be a blog post, an email campaign, an advertisement, etc., is knowing who you’re talking to. Who is your audience? While that may seem like a basic principle, it’s one that if forgotten can directly impact the effectiveness of your message. If your message is too broad and not talking to anyone specific, you may end up just talking to yourself like in the case of Mr. De Niro. Targeting your message to a smaller audience with a more relevant message is likely to have more impact.
“I’ll Have What She’s Having” – When Harry Met Sally
Sometimes when you see the success of others marketing tactics it’s easy to fall victim to wanting to do the same thing. Certainly, if it’s successful for others, it will be for you, right? Not exactly. I can’t tell you how many times in my career I’ve heard clients say I want to be like Apple. While it may be aspirational, the reality is there’s only one Apple, and how they market themselves is strategic to who they are as a brand. If the easy approach is to jump on the “Me Too” Marketing bandwagon instead of investing the time to figure out what is appropriate for you, then you run the risk of low return on investment and a disengaged audience. People can spot a copycat from a mile away, and what’s going to resonate with them is something unique and relevant.
“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate…” – Cool Hand Luke
In the movie, this means you’re not reacting the way I want you to when you hear what I have to say. Too many times companies assume that communication has been achieved because they’ve said what they wanted to say, but that’s not communication; that’s a monologue.
True communication takes speaking, listening, understanding and reacting. It’s a multifaceted and very complicated process, but the first rule in all of this is understanding your audience. As marketing professionals, it’s our job to speak to an audience in their “tongue”, not ours. The obligation to make sure we are understood is ours, not the audiences, and that takes a lot of effort before the message is even crafted. The next time someone doesn’t react the way you want, ask yourself, “Is it my fault or theirs?”
“Man, this is baseball, you gotta stop thinking! Just have fun.” – The Sandlot
With all the data and immediate feedback available from digital media sometimes we get stuck in the trap of trying to be perfect; don’t. Test, learn, improve and repeat; that’s our approach and that’s what we always advise our clients to do. And, every once-in-a-while throw in a screwball idea to see what happens.
That’s the best way to learn and grow marketing and that’s where the tools come in. Learn to use the analytics available and if you can’t, or don’t want to, hire someone to do it for you. Use that data to consistently to inform and refine your marketing efforts. Yeah, it’s a marathon, so give it time.
Photo credit: ToastyKen
Modified by Shout Out Studio