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Empire or Rebellion? How Do You Market?

October 23, 2012. Posted by johnf

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I saw Star Wars in an old movie theater with my father.

I remember seeing the promotional poster with the stormtrooper riding a dewlap and saying, “I might not like this.”

I was way wrong.

Star Wars blew me away and I remember asking my father two very important questions as we climbed into the Oldsmobile Country Squire station wagon:

  1. Is the Force real?
  2. Do you think they’ll have toys from this movie?

He wasn’t so sure about the first question, but he nailed the second, saying, “They’ll be plenty of Star Wars toys.”

Flash forward almost 30 years later and my youngest son is playing with my old Star Wars toys. He  watches the movies religiously and has asked me about the Force, and if he could one day be an astronaut and meet some aliens like the ones in the cantina scene.

Watching the movies with him got me thinking about the two sides of the struggle: the Empire and the Rebellion, and that got me thinking about each side’s approach to the struggle.

The Empire is calculating and achieves goals by hard work, force, and sheer numbers. The Rebellion scrapes along, using whatever is handy, getting help from friends and applying guerrilla tactics to achieve success.

Parallels to marketing strategies and tactics immediately came to mind – because that’s how my brain works.

So how do you approach marketing? Like the Empire or the Rebellion? And what works best for you?

Marketing like the Empire
So you like the bad guys, huh? That’s cool, because the Empire has managed to conquer most of the galaxy, and here are a few tips when you’re going to market like Vader:

The Message
Decide on a strong message that pulls no punches. We’re talking high impact words matched by clean graphic design that gets to the point.

The Delivery
Flood the medium with your message and don’t ever let up on the pedal. Keep pressing and make sure everyone knows who you are. (Warning: This costs money.)

The Competition
Mercy is for the weak. Dominate the competition. Remember, stormtroopers don’t say “Please.”

The Campaign
Planning is everything and if you’re not 100% ready to pull the trigger, you’re going down like an AT-AT on Hoth. The Emperor doesn’t like when plans go off schedule.

The Methods
By land, sea, air, and space – that’s how the Empire conquered the galaxy. Achieve the same results by using online and offline methods. Consistency is key.

Marketing Like The Rebellion
Don’t look good in black? Have a hard time strangling someone without using your hands You want to go the way of the Rebellion. Fair enough, they have capable leaders and the will to win, but it’s a constant struggle. And sometimes you wind up in a trash compactor.

The Message
While you want to achieve your goal, marketing like the Rebellion requires technique and style – not crushing force. Creative words  have impact, but they don’t smack you in the face like Vader on a bad day. Design should be streamlined with an organic feeling.

The Delivery
The Rebellion made do with what it had, and if you’re on a limited budget, you need to choose wisely. Pick your moments and then be accurate, like shooting womp rats in Beggar’s Canyon back home.

The Competition
Fighting costs money and time. Leave your competition to their doings, unless they’re threatening your market. Deliver what you promise. Triumph.

The Campaign
Guerrillamarketing is the key – choose inexpensive methods that impact your audience. Dodge and weave.

The Methods
Financially challenged doesn’t mean giving up. Social media, blogs, word of mouth – these all cost nothing but can pack a wallop. Innovation is the key to success, like deciding to put the plans in an old R2 unit.

One blog entry doesn’t even scratch the surface, but you probably get my drift. Both sides have their pluses and minuses, you’ve got to choose the path that makes the most sense.

Remember, if the choice you made isn’t working, you can always switch sides.

It worked for Lando, didn’t it?

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