In 1977, science fiction fans were anything but commonplace. This genre produced few books that made it to the realm of true literature, and even fewer movies that ranked up there with the cinematic excellence of Citizen Kane or Gone With the Wind. Not only did Star Wars turn the movie industry on its head, it managed to give birth to the entire cultural obsession of the sci-fi genre overnight. A legend, as they say, was born.
Nearly four decades and six feature-length films (not to mention a host of out-of-canon stories, as well) later, Star Wars Episode VII is slated to blast all previous box office records out of orbit amid a buzz of excitement rarely seen in an era when CGI cranks out blockbusters like the Coca-Cola plants spill out soft drinks.
What does it take to generate this kind of excitement? It isn't likely that your average B2B marketer will ever generate the enthusiasm and buzz of a Star Wars film, but there are plenty of great lessons to learn from those marketing the movies and related merchandise.
1. You Can't Overlook the Importance of Social Media
Many B2B marketers are convinced that social media is a B2C thing. The reality is that business buyers are just people, and people are on social media. B2B buyers use social networks for getting an idea what products and services are out there, gathering product information, and even determining which companies they'd enjoy doing business with. Not responding to questions, comments, and concerns on your social media sites? Then don't expect to do much in the way of lead generation. Buyers simply don't trust companies that ignore their followers on social media. The facts are:
• 84% of executive buyers use social media to back up their purchasing decisions.
• 56% of executive buyers leverage LinkedIn to find suppliers.
• 86% of all B2B buyers use social media to help make buying decisions.
• The larger the budget, the more likely the B2B buyer is likely to use social media during the decision-making process.
2. Don't Underestimate The Power of Emotions
Star Wars fans are nothing if not emotionally loyal. Think B2B buyers aren't emotional? Think again! B2B buyers have plenty to be emotional about. Their buying decisions can make or waste thousands of dollars. Good purchases can lead to promotions while bad ones cost the buyer the respect and admiration of their superiors and coworkers. Good buying affects their job, their income, and therefore what kind of home they can afford, what they can do for their families, and even what kind of car they drive. That's emotional!
Nobody nails emotions like the Star Wars marketers. From the sensational musical score written by the legendary John Williams to the adorable droid Sphero BB-8 to the thrilling Star Wars Battlefront video game, fans can always be assured that their senses will be sufficiently aroused by the marketing geniuses in charge of producing and promoting the Star Wars saga.
3. Great Things Take Time
Disney took over the Star Wars realm in 2012, yet their first feature film won't roll into theaters until late, late 2015. The first trailer was only released earlier this year. Though fans are rabidly excited about seeing the movie, they would gladly wait even longer if it assured them that the movie would deliver everything they hope it will. Your buyers are the same. Don't rush to market with a campaign or product that isn't everything it can be. If you're going to take the time and effort to build Star Wars level enthusiasm (or the closest you can hope for in this lifetime), make sure what you deliver is everything you promised it would be.
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