Small Business Marketing Magic: What You Can Learn from Fall Television Premieres

Who says watching television isn’t useful? We think there’s a lot small business owners can learn from television shows, especially this time of year when the shows are making their debuts or season premieres.

Let’s talk about what we’ve observed and learned.

1. It’s all about building buzz. The week before a television premiere takes place is NOT when you start seeing the advertising for the show. No, the buzz often begins in the summer (often when the fall lineup is announced) and slowly builds from there into a crescendo of media blitzes into the weeks and days before the big night. But does it end there? Of course not. On the tail-end of the television show, you’ll see the coming attractions for the following week, and you’ll continue to see ads (although not at the same level as the weeks before). The same concept applies to your marketing, especially when it comes to launching a new product or service.

Marketing takeaway: You don’t just announce a new service or product and move on. Instead, you need to create a plan around the launch, including the steps leading up to the launch, the actual launch itself, and what happens after the launch. Again, it’s about building buzz and sustaining the buzz over the long term.

2. Repetition matters. You’ve probably seen tons of promos for new fall shows or the premieres of returning shows. The reason is simple: in the pre-Internet days, it was said a consumer needed to see an ad seven times (at least) before it registered and the person took action. This, of course, was pre smart phones, Google, and Facebook. Now with so many other things vying for our attention, people need to experience even more impressions before whatever is being advertised registers in their minds.

Marketing takeaway: Repeating your core message is important. Don’t worry about redundancy; worry about registering on people’s radars. The key is finding interesting ways to convey your message.

3. Get thee to social media. One of the best uses of social media that we’ve seen is how TNT used Facebook to rebrand and re-establish Dallas, the popular television show from the 70s and 80s. Okay, so Dallas isn’t premiering this fall, but it premiered in June, and if you’d like to see how they built buzz…and how they’re sustaining buzz for the next season…consider liking the Dallas page on Facebook.

Why is this page so effective? Because it assigns a personality to the page. The “person” posting status updates is the infamous JR Ewing himself. Before the show aired in June, JR populated his Milestones on Facebook with stills from the old show, specifically those a-ha moments like when JR’s shooter was revealed and when Patrick Duffy’s character emerged undead from the shower in the famous “it was all a dream episode.” During the show’s kick-off in the summer, JR posted stills from the most recent show and included very funny, witty JR-like comments. And after the show wrapped, the buzz didn’t stop. The page continues to whet fans’ appetites for next season. Dallas is not an anomaly, either. Plenty of television shows make great use of Facebook and Twitter alike.

Marketing takeaway: Social media can be your friend, if you use it correctly. The key is finding the medium you like best, be it Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or something else. Be consistent. Find your voice. And have fun. It’s a perfect FREE way to build buzz and sustain it for your company (or new product or service).

4. Get creative on how you get the word out. The way to up-end your marketing is to follow the adage of thinking outside the proverbial box. In this day and age, anything goes. You just need to have a vision and a means for executing that vision. We’ll leave you with a fun flash mob promoting TNT in Belgium.

Marketing takeaway: If you have a crazy idea that keeps you up at night, you might just be onto something. Investigate turning the dream into reality (it can’t hurt to look into it).

How about you? Have you learned some interesting marketing ideas in unconventional places? Share in the comments.

Allison Rice

About Allison Rice

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