5 Marketing Lessons to Learn From Star Wars

By Jennifer Browne

As Stars Wars Episode 7 prepares to launch at the end of this week, I can’t help but think that Disney has done as amazing job promoting this movie. I mean, Disney is Disney—they kind of rock their marketing campaigns. But the kind of hype and buzz that is occurring right now WORLDWIDE because of their efforts, is to be talked about and learned from.

Now, if you’re thinking that you have a very small business and no budget for promo and most definitely no team of publicists on retainer 24/7 (whaaat…you don’t have that?!), we’re here to tell you that it doesn’t matter. In this day and age, marketing, if done well, can be free. You don’t need a professional publicist, and your own marketing campaigns can take off and go viral, just like others’ did.

(And will.)

So starting with a few lessons from Star Wars, here are our suggestions on how to rock a marketing campaign for your business, whatever type of business it may be:

Plan

Begin Early

If you have something to promote, start now. Okay…start a few months before your event date/product launch/coupon promotion, or whatever. Starting early creates a buzz, and lets people know that whatever you’re promoting must be cool enough to talk about in advance.

Also, develop a marketing plan.

The Star Wars campaign began as soon as it was announced that The Walt Disney Company bought Lucasfilm—and that was in 2012. Disney began their campaign THREE YEARS before the movie was scheduled to release. The campaign actually had its own name, and it’s own website (Star Wars Celebration).

Saturate the Market

If you have something to promote, promote it everywhere. Talk about it several times a day on social media. Get chatty with your customers or clients. Send out weekly emails. Place free online ads in your local papers, and start a countdown.

Don’t just do one of these things—do them all.

The Star Wars franchise exploded last holiday season, when anything and everything that could possibly do with the movies appeared. There were Halloween costumes, toys, games, posters, and school supplies. Fast-food chains offered swag, and ads were seen on public transit. Theme parks got on board, and huge food companies made little Star Wars-shaped fruit bites.

This got so exciting for people that last week, I walked past a man in a restaurant with a massive fresh Harrison Ford tattoo on his equally giant bicep.

True story.

Advertising Campaign

Don’t Stick to One Strategy

I mean, maybe don’t publicly encourage people to tattoo your logo on their bodies, but to be all cliché, don’t place all your eggs in one basket, either. Spread ‘em out. Send a newsletter. Host a giveaway contest. Promote your product or event on social media, and provide an incentive for anyone who re-tweets your posts.

Take a quick survey on how other people in your line of business are promoting themselves, and then do ALL OF THOSE THINGS.

Go all kamikaze on this, and you will reap better rewards.

Remind People of Your Previous Successes

When Disney announced that they would be releasing an Episode 7 (actually, four more movies), they went ahead and re-released the previous six.

I know this, because my husband bought them all.

Also, right after the movie announcement, Lego began producing and selling Star Wars-themed building sets, with all of the most popular scenes and characters. This was particularly brilliant, because children who are my kids’ ages (under 10), probably didn’t know anything about the franchise.

But now they do—and kids are all about the swag.

So when conducting your marketing campaign, try and incorporate your previous successes. For example, if you own a juicing company, promote your first (presumably successful) juice as a lead-up to the release of your newest one.

Make Your Product or Event Buzz-Worthy

Now we’re talking about your event or product; not so much your campaign. If you’re going to go through the trouble to create and manage an amazing marketing campaign, you should make sure your event or product is worthy of the hassle.

Why?

Because if it is, you can use this campaign to piggy-back your next. Think ahead! Disney has one hell of a vested interest in making sure that 1) their promotions all pay off, and 2) the movie itself doesn’t disappoint. And so should you, when conducting an amazing marketing campaign.

Hey, and you know what? When all else fails, use The Force. (No, we’re not drinking.) We mean to imply that if you can envision it, and you want it bad enough, it will happen. It’s on you, and you alone.

So go get ‘em.


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