Saturday, 8 November 2014

Marketing lessons from scary Halloween movie monsters


It’s Halloween—and what’s scarier than some iconic Halloween horror monsters? Answer: the terrifying experience of running an ecommerce store. Fortunately, Freddy Krueger, Frankenstein, Chucky, and Michael Myers all have some advice to offer when it comes to your ecommerce marketing. Whether you want to know if your personalized marketing is shockingly creepy, or you need a site designed boo-tifully for conversions, this post is a treat with some strategic marketing tricks.

1. Freddy Krueger

Freddy Krueger is flat out creepy, and consistently ranks among the top 3 in lists of horror monsters. This 4 knived, burnt faced, man dressed in tattered clothing harasses his innocent victims through reality or dreams, endlessly tormenting them with their own personal fears. Don’t let your personalized marketing do the same type of thing. We live in the age of big data. We can track customers’ online behaviors, and effectively target them, but some customers simply find it creepy and intrusive.

Marketing personalization is effective, no doubt about it. But at a certain point, a customer can get spooked by an email that’s too personalized, too early. It’s best to ask yourself what your audience expects, what stage of the funnel they’re in, and figure out just how personalized you can get. They filled out a survey and provided their info, so they probably don’t mind you being personable. But when you start emailing your new knife products to innocent, but dumb teen Jessica after she survived an attack by Freddy Krueger, she might get a little freaked out. It’s best to be careful with your personalization.

For more information on how to better time and judge your personalization, check out this article on the dangers of premature marketing personalization by Hubspot.


2. The Frankenstein monster

The Frankenstein monster is a tragic Halloween icon. Misunderstood and distrusted due to his ugly appearance, and slow, creepy movements, the poor thing just wants friendship and love. Avoid having a site like Frankenstein. As potential customers interact with your business, it’s best not to look terrifying and aggressive. After all, your goal is to lock in a transaction and build a happy relationship that keeps the customer coming back. But, without an attractive design and proof that you’re trustworthy, your ecommerce site will transform into Frankenstein.

Since anyone and everyone can start an online store, your marketing and appearance is huge. Amazon, Target, even small business competitors can likely provide a similar (if not the same) product as you, so you had better look like the real deal. And a design as ugly, slow, and old as Frankenstein can crush your chances of a conversion in a heartbeat. No matter how persuasive your pricing and promotions are, a customer’s first impression is your site design, so its best not to repulse them. Make sure your pages are full optimized to increase conversion.


3. Chucky

Chucky is a product gone wrong. What looked like a cute, innocent doll became a fiendish killer, possessed by the spirit of a serial killer. I can guarantee you that Karen, the mother who originally bought Chucky in 1988’s “Child’s Play,” was not a repeat customer. If she was smart, she would’ve tried to return the doll. Don’t let your customer regret their purchase decision. Don’t turn your customer into another Karen. They won’t get shot or cut up by your product, but you’ll lose out on some long term money if you end up disappointing them.

If you want customers to make that first transaction, and feel good afterwards, solid product marketing is a must. Online purchases make the customer experience a little scarier than normal since they don’t directly interact with the product. But two of the best ways to convince a customer to follow through and buy is by writing great titles and  product descriptions, taking great product photos, and shooting informative product videos.


4. Michael Myers

Michael Myers wants to kill stuff. He shows next to no emotion with his expressionless, white mask, and is relentlessly out to spill blood. He doesn’t even bother gradually traumatizing his victims like Freddy or Chucky. Likewise, many businesses just want one thing: money. You can have all the bare ecommerce bones, like the site, the product, the infrastructure, but it means nothing unless you can build a brand that relates to customers. Like Mr. Myers, you can go straight for the money, but you won’t be nearly as effective without a fantastic brand.

Why is Michael Myers always trying to kill Jamie Lee Curtis? Why does he wear that mask? Wouldn’t it be easier to use a gun? One of the best ways to build an effective brand is by telling a brand story. After all, these Halloween monsters wouldn’t be so famous or interesting if there wasn’t a mysterious or sinister story around them. Do the same thing for your brand (hopefully without the mysterious and sinister parts), and you may be shocked to find customers engaging with your business far more.


5. Zombies

Zombies are humans that are somewhere between dead and alive. They typically stumble around aimlessly without any sort of strategy. They just want one things: brains. Actually, they’re just like a small businesses that undercuts its prices as a competitive strategy, mindlessly chasing sales. If you price your products so low to compete that you can’t cover your costs, you’re the walking dead. Your business might be alive and making sales, but it’s already zombified, since it can’t cover its expenses.

It’s OK to undercut every once and while on a product or two, but, as a strategy, it means doom if you can’t cover your costs from your (hopefully) increased sales. Sure, to some knowing that revenue needs to exceed expenses is business 101, but for other store owners, it may take an antidote or experience before this lesson sinks in. If a customer visits your site, pricing is likely important to them. But it’s your entire marketing strategy, your promotions, site design, products, and brand that lock in a sale—not terrifyingly low margins. The antidote is building a killer pricing strategy.

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