Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kubrick's Five Marketing Lessons.


Marketing is everybody's job and yet many people deny their role in it. They do so either by neglect or ignorance. Neglect occurs when people forget that every interaction is a marketing occasion or, more accurately, the opportunity not to create a bad impression/experience. Ignorance is often more benign and occurs when people are living by marketing principles without knowing it.

I witnessed a great example of the latter here in Austin while sitting in on a fabulous chat with Jan Harlan - brother in law of, and executive producer to Stanley Kubrick. He explicitly denied any real involvement in marketing campaigns, but so many of the things he said about his production philosophy were steeped in great marketing thinking.

1) Get the first three minutes right.

That's nothing other than engaging the customer. Ensuring that you rapidly pique their attention and curiosity while not confusing or boring them.

2) If there's something wrong with the ending, check the beginning.

In other words, focus on getting the product right by focussing not just on where you're aiming (because as I keep saying, your actual customers may not even be there), but on where you're starting from.

3) You've only got one chance.

His full statement was, "you've got just two hours and an audience that comes once". That might seem movie-specific, but it's really not. Think of your customers as a movie audience with their attendant expectations and word of mouth potential and you'll be reminded that "always in beta" is more about continuous improvement than an excuse to make mistakes.

4) Trust your audience.

A corollary of point 1 in my eyes. Not giving them what they want is bad enough, patronising them in any way is worse. Don't keep them in the dark for sure, but don't treat them as idiots either. Give them the tools and the opportunities to understand and appreciate the full potential of your product/service. Their discovery will enhance their enthusiasm.

5) Go and get.

In typical self-deprecating style, he remarked that "Executive Producer is a meaningless title. What I do is I negotiate. I go and get what's needed." This included making four trips to Venice to buy face masks for Eyes Wide Shut because the costume designer was better employed back at base. Marketing departments are all too often about the business of marketing and not about going and getting.

2 Comments:

Blogger Layla said...

Much of it is so true!! :)

Of course, if you have repeated exposure (& a 'captive audience'?) you can test the beta & adapt the techniques.. to 'get it right' (as someone who is still learning these things, it's helpful to know I can also 'do & tweak' as I go..)

It's also important to remember people must see a new thing 5 or 7 times, possibly through different modalities, before they even register..
(So in that case 'you've only got one chance' actually wouldn't apply.. or would apply in a limited way, only to some things..)

Interesting to read about it! Sounds like an interesting man..
- But 4 trips to Venice..?!! couldn't they get someone local to show them the masks on webcam & it would be more environmentally friendly & less time-consuming than making 4 trips?

9:38 AM, March 17, 2009  
Anonymous niko said...

the most striking thing about his/yours pointers is that fundametally he feels a sense of ownership of the project and work.

like you've said before, markting is something that everybody in the company should be thinking about/ doing, but feeling ownership of a project and thinking like "the owner" makes for taking 4 trips to venice and getting the right things done the right way.

he played with his own money so to speak. that creates commitment, beyond just the brief at hand.

nice post. spending st paddy's working not drinking? :)

11:19 AM, March 17, 2009  

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