A few days ago I watched a movie that inspired me to make connections between social media (work) and movies (play). This is the time of year studios start pushing the movies they think will garner the most Oscar buzz. Using some quotes from some of my favorite movies, there are some marketing lessons to be learned and applied to your 2013 plans. How is your marketing stacking up?

  1. “Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” This phrase, uttered by Judy Garland in 1939’s The Wizard of Oz exemplifies social media perfectly. Social Marketing tools have different nuances in each tool. What works for a LinkedIn company profile, may not be the best way to talk about your organization on Facebook. Learn the tool and celebrate the unique qualities in the social media realm.
  2. “Here’s looking at you, kid.” Humphrey Bogart’s Rick Blaine from Casablanca was really on to something, especially with the increasing importance of digital imagery within social tools. Beyond brochures and flyers, marketers need to think about the importance of photos with Flickr and Instagram to convey that snapshot of their organization.
  3. “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.” Marlon Brando had it right in The Godfather. Marketers should think of this line when they are starting to setup their social promotions. While 10% off a purchase sounds like a great deal, take some time to think out of the box and come up with something truly unique. This is also a great idea when you want to survey your customers. Make it worth their while.
  4. “If you build it, he will come.” Ray Liotta explains this core message in Field of Dreams. This is NOT the way to treat your social media plan. What you need to do is tell others in multiple ways about the great things your organization offers. A website alone will not get it done. Incorporating the basics of SEO by adding a blog, making sure you pay attention to tags will help your website get noticed by the casual online browser.
  5. “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” Yep, the Captain from 1967’s Cool Hand Luke strikes this nail on the head. Are you responding to the comments you are getting on your website, on your Facebook page and Twitter or YouTube accounts? If you are not responding to your customers and engaging in conversations with them, you are failing at communication and giving your competition an opening to start a dialogue with your customers.
  6. “Show me the money!” Rod Tidwell from Jerry Maguire wants his agent and future employers to reward him for his reputation. That isn’t a good enough reason. Tidwell learns he has to put heart into his work. This is a valuable lesson to learn with your online look as well. If your site looks good, but you can’t back it up with good customer service or an inferior product, you may get that initial sale, but you won’t keep them coming back.
  7. “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Jennifer Cavilleri Barrett tells her husband this during a pivotal moment during the movie, Love Story. Well, you aren’t in love with your clients and they aren’t in love with you. You do have an obligation to be honest with your customers. So you do have to say you’re sorry, especially if you mess up completing an order or something bad happens. “You can’t handle the truth!” Col. Nathan R. Jessep tells a prosecuting attorney in A Few Good Men. Yes, your clients, vendors and partners can handle the truth. That is ethics in practice.
  8. “I’ll have what she’s having.” This customer from When Harry Met Sally spouts a great one-liner, but it is a poor social media strategy. Don’t jump on a social tool just because everyone else is there. Think it through and find out if your customers are there before you invest the time and resources.
  9. “We rob banks.” Clyde Barrow succinctly sums up his mission in Bonnie and Clyde. How does your About Us page on your website read? If it is isn’t clear what you do and why you are doing things, take a look at your text and simplify it into one sentence. It gives you a great jumping off point.
  10. “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” Martin Brody tells his fellow fisherman in Jaws that they need more to catch their shark. Similarly you think you might need more information on your website. A bigger website. Actually what you need to do is analyze what is on your site and determine if it is effective and how it works. Your website might just need a good hook to get those customers, not extra stuff. The extra stuff is what the sales department delivers.
  11. “Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Forrest Gump was talking about life, but he may as well have been discussing social media reach. If engagement is the number one advantage of participating in social media, then the number two is reaching people who may not know your organization by showing up in the social media stream. Creating additional exposure to people you don’t know can boost your credibility among prospects.
  12. “Nobody puts Baby in a Corner.” Johnny Castle had it right in Dirty Dancing. Don’t put a part of your marketing program in a corner. If it isn’t current (within reason) or has an old logo or a different look. Recycle it and make it relevant or get rid of it. And please stop using old collateral. You don’t want to confuse people with 2 looks. They won’t know which one is right.
  13. “Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac…It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole!” Carl Spackler in 1980’s Caddyshack does a great job of building up a story. Some of the most profound marketing tells a story…how you got a client, how something is built, how you started your business etc. Use story in your marketing to make it memorable.
  14. “After all, tomorrow is another day!” Scarlett O’Hara used this phrase all of the time in Gone With The Wind. It was her way of pushing a do-over or reset button on her life. You are empowered to do that. But I would rather see you incorporate this line from John Keating in Dead Poets Society and stop waiting on tomorrow. “Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”

Now, you’ve learned some valuable marketing from this list, what about you? Has a movie or pop culture effected how you conduct business? If it has, comment here. As Han Solo says in Star Wars, “May the Force be with You.” You can write something interesting that tells a story. This is appropriate marketing advice so you can exclaim like Jack Dawson in Titanic, “I’m king of the world!”

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jennfinley/793827083/ via Creative Commons