It’s almost Halloween! We thought we’d get into the spirit by sharing our take on how marketing and paranormal investigations are alike.
1. Research, research, research. If you watch any paranormal investigation shows on TV, you know they learn about the place before they begin their investigation. Often, they get a tour of the grounds from someone “in the know” to get some background and history. This provides context for the investigators and some clues as to why the property might be haunted.
How it’s the same for marketing. Smart marketers research their clients’ businesses. They take time to understand its history, its goals, and, most importantly, its customers and the context in which those customers live and make decisions. Smart marketers will take the time to craft buyer personas, which are essentially inside “stories” on the core customers: what their pain points are, what they’re looking for in a particular product or service, and how they like to be communicated with. You can read more about how to create strong business personas in this article we wrote.
2. Know your gadgets. It’s fun to watch the paranormal investigators in action with all of their neat gizmos and gadgets that measure drops in temperature and record faint sounds that can be amplified and examined later. These tools help the investigators do their job well. Of course, the tools are nothing without the investigators themselves and the additional people who examine the results.
How it’s the same for marketing. Marketers today have a wide array of tools at their disposal—tools that do things like examine keywords, measure engagement, and streamline processes. But these tools are just that—tools—unless the marketers are skilled in understanding the results these tools produce and the stories they tell about customers and customer behavior.
3. Never give up the ghost. Not all paranormal investigations result in bone-chilling results like phantoms caught on camera or blood curdling cries captured on recordings. Jason Hawes, one of the stars of Ghost Hunters, notes that 80 percent of the cases they cover never make it to air. But do they give up the ghost? (See what we did there?) Absolutely not. They keep trying—trying different locations, different tools, and different approaches.
How it’s the same for marketing. Not all marketing strategies are going to result in tons of sales, and some strategies will even fail. The key with marketing—much like ghost hunting—is to keep at it, try different things, and measure results.
4. Be brave (and perhaps a little crazy at times). Being a paranormal investigator takes guts and intestinal fortitude. You have to be willing to walk into some dark places, and you have to do a lot of waiting.
How it’s the same for marketing. Marketing guru Seth Godin often talks about the drudgery of marketing and the repetition—the drip, drip, drip—that you need to do to get your message across day in and day out. Yet he also points out that sticking with the “drip” is the whole point, even if it makes you feel a little crazy. “Drip, drip, drip, it adds up.” In other words, it’s not all fun and games.
Sometimes you have to buckle down, get in the trenches, do some grunt work, and be patient. Smart marketers are also ones who know when it’s time to take some risks. You can’t be scared of experimenting and failing. The greatest marketing campaigns often carry the greatest risks, but also the greatest rewards. Going into some of those metaphorically dark, risky places can be scary. But if you can manage your fears, the rewards can be great.
5. Be passionate about what you do. The greatest paranormal investigators are tireless, passionate people who venture out at all times of the night, no matter the season. They research, they study, they learn. And then they get up the next day and do it all over again.
How it’s the same for marketing. Marketers, in order to do their job well, need to be passionate, too. They need to keep up with the latest trends in all aspects of marketing (online, social, and so forth). They need to love reading and learning.
6. Be flexible. Paranormal investigators never know exactly what to expect when they go out on a job. Sure, they can anticipate, but when they’re in the field, they must always be nimble, willing to think on their feet, and make adjustments accordingly.
How it’s the same for marketing. Marketers need to do the same thing. Yes, it’s important to forecast and plan, but recognizing some things—OK, many things—are often out of your control is important. You need to be able to respond quickly to challenges, breaking news, and potential issues by tweaking and adjusting your marketing strategy moving forward.
7. Remember, it’s more than just the hunt…results matter. Sure, it can be exciting to go out on a paranormal investigation. But if all you ever do is go out, set up your gadgets, and wait for something to happen—and nothing ever does—that will be a source of major disappointment after a while.
How it’s the same for marketing. Marketing involves more than setting up cool campaigns or brainstorming fun contests for a client’s Facebook page. If those things don’t produce results (increased sales, for example), what’s the point? After a while, you’ll feel unfulfilled, which can lead to frustration and disillusionment with the whole business, not to mention the unhappy clients who won’t be pleased with the lack of solid results.
Can you think of other ways marketing and paranormal investigations are alike? Oh, and what candy are you giving out for Halloween this year? Does your office do anything fun? Tell us all about it in the comments below!
At Amsterdam, we ALWAYS have fun on Halloween. Check out this video from one of our Halloween costume contests a few years ago.