Marketing 101 With ‘V For Vendetta’
In this age of digital media, marketing has never been more competitive than it is now. There are a plethora of marketing firms, tools and platforms out there. But in all this marketing hustle and rush, many often tend to overlook or forget the basics involved in any good marketing strategy. This is a must read for entrepreneurs and business owners of all kinds if they wish to market their product/service successfully (as I’m sure you all do). V For Vendetta falls in my list of top five movies of all time. And, with this movie I will refresh the basics of what should be considered in your product/service’s marketing approach. Now, many may be wondering – “How in the world could marketing be taught (or even be remotely related to) a movie like V For Vendetta (which is a work of complete fiction by the way)?
Here are 5 ways in which V For Vendetta will be your Marketing 101:
- Find out what your target audience really wants.
When V set out on his mission of revolting against the dictatorship established in England, his first task was to recognize the oppression and burden the faced by the common British citizens. He recognized that these citizens desired freedom from the totalitarian government restraining them and commanding their lives. And, he knew that if his mission of revolting were to succeed, he would need to offer something that the people of Britain really wanted.
Similarly, when you are developing your service/product, you have a certain goal in mind about what you want to develop. However, only working with this goal in mind and not considering your intended client/costumer base would be fatuous. The number one rule for any product or service should be – “The customer always comes first”. If your customers aren’t happy, your product or service is guaranteed to fail. For your product/service to succeed, you need to dynamically determine what your intended clients desire (the word dynamically is important here because, as time passes, the customer requirements are guaranteed to change). Find out what your customers really want and make a few changes in your product/service or its goal and vision accordingly. And, I can’t stress this enough, keep your customers happy.
- Give your product/service a catchy name or face that people will remember.
The legendary Guy Fawkes mask used by V became famous during his rebellions against the dictators and their regime. People of all ages and backgrounds, including children and elderly, were wearing these masks as a symbol of the movement. The masks helped to propagate the movement like wildfire. V was a smart man and he knew that if he gave his mission a face or a symbol i.e. an image which people could relate to, and if this image was accessible to all, then the movement was bound to be a success.
Likewise, make sure that your product/service has a catchy name, a logo or a tagline which people will love and use all the time. The same symbol should become a part of daily vocabulary or synonymous with the brand in everyday life. Several examples are McDonald’s tagline “I’m lovin it” along with the face of Ronald McDonald which are both world famous, Nike’s tagline “Impossible is nothing”, Google’s doodle and several more. The following is a common practice by several song composers and artists in their domain – often during the composition of a song and its lyrics, several of the composers sit around a table after the major parts of the song have been created and they try to come up with catchy words (called a hook) which will glue the song to the listeners head (they often use this practice to think of the name of the band/artist as well). An example is the hit song Barbra Streisand by Duck Sauce. If you want your product/service to go viral, giving it a catchy face/name/logo is a must. Make it one that people will remember. Even better – make it one that people will never forget.
- Make sure you reach out to your audience
In order ensure the success of the revolt, V had to reach out to each and every individual in the suffering British population. He did so by forcibly taking command of Britain’s T.V. news channel (B.T.N.) and blackmailed them to play his recorded video (which instigated the population to act out against the government) or he would blow their headquarters with the bomb attached to his body. This video encouraged the revolt on the emergency channel which was by default accessible from every British television set. In doing so, he ensured that each and every citizen who could empathize with his oppression heard his message loud and clear.
Now, I am not suggesting that you hijack the BBC headquarters in any way. But, the important lesson to learn here is that reaching out to your target audience is a crucial step in ensuring your product/service’s success. There are a number of social media marketing tools and platforms available to reach out to an even larger number of interested individuals and consumers. Using all these available resources is a must. If you aren’t using them then you better start soon. Because your competitors will surely be using them to get ahead in the race. And remember, focus not only on getting your message out there, but also on the quality of the message you deliver (the quality will be discussed in future blog posts, so stay tuned folks).
- Do something radical/loud/creative to get your audience’s attention.
V managed to grab the attention of every citizen in Britain and even the dictatorial government, by blowing up the statue of the Old Bailey (which was the symbol of Britain and everything it stood for). This move was pivotal in ensuring that his mission succeeded. In a single master stroke, he ensured that the Britain which was happy to be oppressed had woken up, ready to fight for their rights and their freedom. In a single action, he accomplished his goal of getting every citizen of Britain on to his team.
Again folks, in no way am I suggesting something absurd (and illegal) like hanging an extra-large banner of your product/service on the Lady Liberty or the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The audience you reach out to will be addressed by several other rival businesses which offer the same product/service that you do. So, you need to grab their attention. Be a little bold and decisive, or even be a little loud. The one who plays the louder music tends to attract more attention. A simple and mild example could be like offering half price for multiple purchases or to repeat customers, a strategy which is known to increase sales by up to 15% quite often. Ideate and come up with more radical and attention-grabbing strategies and techniques. However, be sure not to make your music too loud, otherwise your potential consumers will consider it to be irritating noise. Focus on making your marketing strategy have the effect of quality music, not quantity noise.
- Keep your promises or don’t make them.
Lastly, when V had hijacked the B.T.N. headquarters, he promised the people that in exactly one year, as a symbol of freeing them and demolishing the dictatorship, he would blow up the entire parliament building and that they should all gather to view the incident from afar in support of the act and the revolt. Nonetheless, on the 5th of November of the following year, he lived up to his promise and the building was fabulously blown up in front of the gathered population.
This is one of the most important points to note. Always live up to the promises you make to your customers in your marketing campaign. Remember, that your customers and potential customers are always, always, always watching and judging. So, make sure that you do not break any promises that you have made to them. Providing more than what you have promised them is always a plus. But, the minimum should be living up to promises you have already made. This is an important way to guarantee a quintessential point mentioned earlier – “The customer’s happiness should be guaranteed”. Failing to live up to your promises is bad business. And, losing one customer’s goodwill can deter many potential customers due to an intrinsic but important marketing method – the domino effect of negative word-of-mouth review from one customer to another. Also, importantly – do not blow up the parliament building as a marketing strategy under any circumstances.
For entrepreneurs and business owners, novice and seasoned, following these points should provide the basis for developing a highly successful marketing strategy which will lead your product/service to success. Use these steps as building blocks to further refine, hone and season your marketing technique. I leave you with words from Peter F. Drucker, an influential writer, professor and management consultant – “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself”.
// Images from Google