Christmas is Coming: What Marketers Can Learn from Game of Thrones

Christmas is Coming: What Marketers Can Learn from Game of Thrones
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Christmas is coming. If marketers want to succeed this holiday season, they need to take a leaf out of the Lannister’s book, says Acxiom’s Matthew Robinson.

The signs are appearing. The wait is on. As suspense builds and everyone prays that they’ll get what they want, the countdown ticks on.

But we’re not just talking about the upcoming season of Game of Thrones.

Christmas shoppers around the globe know that winter (or summer down under) is coming – and marketers know they must prepare to face them. To be in with a chance to rule at Christmas, marketers must get ahead of competitors and offer perfectly personalised messages in the right channels. Strong, highly-targeted battle strategies are needed; we could learn a lot from the tactics used in Game of Thrones.

1. Show No Fear

Confidence and unique strategies can get you far. Showing no fear in Westeros will earn respect; while in marketing, innovation will help you stand above the competition and slice through the clutter to bring consumers engaging content in the right way, and at the exact right moment.

Playing it safe and ‘doing as we’ve always done’ are traps that threaten any campaign. That said, bold decisions are reckless if they’re not well informed. Without data informed insight, the line between bravery and stupidity is thin. Take Varys, Master of Whisperers. It’s his knowledge and understanding that secure his safety, provide his power and cause others to look to him for help in Kings Landing. His insight and information let him adapt and support his strategies to survive another day – exactly what brands must do win.

2. Forge Strong Allies

Having the right allies is pivotal to winning (or losing) the game. Your allies will determine the strategy and tools you need to succeed; whether you’re working to seize the Iron Throne, master your digital marketing, or enhance data insight and analytics.

For marketers, cooperating with the right tech partners and agencies is key to success. While the consequences of a bad match aren’t quite as deadly as unexpected betrayals in Game of Thrones, a poor alliance is a plot twist that marketers don’t need. Perfectly paired partners and tools should be there to support marketing’s every move, solve problems, and march on regardless. Research and insight are your friends when selecting your allies. Trust your instincts and choose your team wisely.

3. Respect the competition

Underestimating competitors in the Seven Kingdoms is risky. Good competitor research about other Iron Throne claimants can be the difference between life and death. Ruthless strength, respect for the competition and informed strategies are the lessons needed for marketers to progress – or like Oberyn against The Mountain, the battle to succeed will be lost despite confidence, desire to win or poisoned blade tactics.

In the world of marketing, learning from competitor successes and losses allows you to understand how insight can be used to better your position. Daenerys Targaryen knows this well, but often her enemies (such as The Good Masters – owners of The Unsullied) make the fatal mistake of underestimating and disrespecting her abilities. How can marketers in Khaleesi’s position win? Through today’s data driven marketing. Used to inform all activity, better research and intelligence are a marketer’s dragons, allowing us to storm past the competition and win the hearts of audiences.

4. Plan every last move

To achieve your goals this Christmas, a clear, data informed strategy of what you want, where you need to be and who you need on your side is crucial. Without that knowledge you’re unlikely to succeed. Like the characters in Game of Thrones, everyone’s strategies are different; each with their own advantages, disadvantages and twists. Successes change over time, but each major game player from Cersei Lannister to Stannis Baratheon knows what they want to achieve.

For marketers, clear KPIs and goals are your battle plan and indicators of progress and success; whether you’re pushing a high-profile campaign to win like the Starks; using your current power and high profile like the Lannisters; gradually building a strong following like Daenerys; using your informed insight to succeed via a long-term plan like Lord Baelish; or just praying for help from the Lord of Light.

Christmas is Coming

Regardless of goals, your marketing strategies must deliver exactly what consumers want: and it’s exactly this approach that makes Game of Thrones a global success. So if you can adapt your offers to maintain intrigue and gather interest, you’ll secure a loyal audience, progress towards your goals and have a reliable chance to rule.

Image via HBO.

Matthew Robinson is the marketing communications manager at tech firm Acxiom UK.

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