Star Wars: The Last Jedi is finally here, and fans are more than excited to see the next installment of the series. Granted, there’s quite a bit of self-advertising that comes when it is announced that there is a Star Wars movie, but Disney still had to work hard to get fans interested in not only the movie but the gear associated with it. Here are 5 lessons to learn from Star Wars marketing, especially when building up to a new product launch.
- Use a lot of technology
Disney has focused on the use of technology very heavily during the launch of Star Wars. Between sending emails, texts, social media ads, and YouTube videos, there has been a lot of exposure. To launch a successful marketing campaign, a business must focus on the use of technology and multiple ways of communicating with customers.
The biggest help with this is a machine learning company that can set up your systems to analyze data and determine the best ways to stay in communication. A computer will look at your audience and what they best respond to in order to give recommendations to your marketing team on how to interact with customers. This could be as simple as saying a customer is most likely to respond well to an ad on Instagram or as complicated as giving specific wording recommendations for a social media post.
- Slowly build up to release
When Episode 7 was released from Star Wars, Disney did over a year of marketing work. However, that was a big announcement and the first of films in a long time. Disney has since dropped that time down to about 8 months. One teaser film will be released, then another. Usually Disney partners with a network to release the first real trailer of the film during a special airing of a show to drum up excitement for both the show and the new movie. And then another trailer is released.
On top of that, Disney releases toys the couple of months leading up to the release of the film to get customers excited about the new characters and to get people talking about what might possibly happen in the movie. All of these things combined have resulted in a built up excitement for the release of the movie by moviegoers.
As a business, especially one about to release a new product or service, you can build up the excitement too, though likely not on as large of a scale as Star Wars. Start with an announcement that something new is coming, then refer to that a few times on social media and in emails or texts to customers, so they get excited. You may even consider running a giveaway on the announcement to drum up more excitement. A business could potentially even release clues to try and get customers to guess what the new product is before it is released. There are many ways to slowly build up customer excitement when it comes to marketing a new product.
- Avoid overexposure
One problem Disney has faced this time around is the concern about whether or not customers are starting to get tired of seeing so much Star Wars stuff. For die hard fans, they want to see everything, but the average customer could feel bombarded with all the ads, emails, and toys everywhere. Disney has handled this by trying to take a step back in advertising efforts this time. Rather than being pushy about it, it seems the company has been focusing more on providing the Star Wars ads and letting people find them on their own. They’ve also shortened the time frame of when they start advertising to about 8 months instead of going on for more than a year.
This can be a problem for your business as well. To avoid it, make sure not to build up too slowly and to eventually get to the point. You don’t want customers getting bored waiting for a release.
- Give loyal customers extras
Star Wars has released special augmented reality specials to customers who have purchased new merchandise. This allows those customers to interact with the characters before the movie is released. This type of thinking can work really well for a business because customers like feeling rewarded for their loyal purchases. Give your customers who make purchases exclusive sneak peaks or advanced access to the new product.
- Marketing mistake: avoid political mistakes
One big mistake Disney made with marketing of it’s latest Star Wars film was releasing almost no Rey products while focusing heavily on Luke Skywalker’s products. Consumers have mostly assumed this was related to there being a bigger market for boy action figures, but it has upset many fans still. In fact, the #WheresRey has been trending as customers try to figure out why exactly Disney isn’t interested in promoting Rey as much as the male characters. Disney has made a statement that it was related to not wanting to spoil the film, but it still has some fans upset.
Try, whenever possible, to avoid political mistakes that might make it seem like your company favors any one person over another. Sometimes, however, these mistakes are unavoidable. If there is a political snafu that causes customers to be upset, the best solution is to apologize and explain it, as Disney did.