An Imperial stormtrooper, in Lego form, from the Star Wars movie enterprise on a sandy surface.
Editorial

Use the Force ... for Customer Experience and Marketing

4 minute read
Ken Peterson avatar
What can we learn about marketing and customer experience from the Star Wars franchise? A lot.

It’s another month, and another new entry (Andor) in the Star Wars franchise.

And while I enjoy light saber battles and Yoda-isms as much as the next person, as a researcher I’m even more intrigued about what lessons we can learn from this storied franchise.

Lesson 1: Plan and Precisely Time Your Campaign

Every strong marketer knows the value of planning, and Star Wars has it down cold. From building anticipation (How could we forget Matthew McConaughey’s reaction to the Star Wars trailer?) to timing it perfectly (the premiere was planned to hit the theaters just around Christmas Holidays), when most people will be spending quality time with their loved ones, and then following up throughout the year with offshoots, prequels and other shows related to the enterprise.

Lesson 2: Know Your Customers!

In my past blogs, I have highlighted the importance of having a deep understanding of your target audience, and for letting them guide your efforts. The Star Wars marketing shows us exactly the value of knowing your customer base and following their needs to guide to create true customer engagement.

They have a true understanding of their fan base, they knew exactly how to speak to their fans, and how to keep them engaged before, during and after each movie or Star Wars experience.

Related Article: Do You Really Know Who Your Customers Are?

Lesson 3: Loyalty Wins! Nurture Your Relationship With Your Customers

Hans and Chewie’s friendship has shown us a valuable lesson on loyalty that we should apply to our customer engagement efforts. When you know you have a loyal customer base, and you know what is important to them, then you nurture that relationship.

Nurturing a customer relationship requires that you truly pay attention to what, and how, your customers respond to your efforts. You can do that by creating campaigns that will keep your loyal customers and community members interested in what you are saying, in what you are sharing with them, or what are you asking from them.

Let your loyal customers know how much you value their feedback on your products, or how much you appreciate their participation in your feedback requests and their comments on your community. Take their comments to heart, act on them and reply to them in a timely manner.

The same applies to keeping your market research online community members engaged. Foster and nurture your relationship with your community members in significant ways that will keep them engaged and will motivate them to keep joining your discussions and responding to your inquiries.

Your customers and community members have shown you their loyalty, now it is up to you to nurture it. The key is to make your loyal customers feel engaged, appreciated and properly rewarded.

Learning Opportunities

Related Article: 9 Ways to Build Customer Loyalty

Lesson 4: Convert Loyal Customers Into Brand Advocates

Do we have any doubt that the biggest marketers for Star Wars were their hardcore loyal fans? We do have to give Disney full credit for their strategy, as they smartly did what we all should do: they empowered their fans to do their marketing for them; actually, with them. They created a few videos and trailers that kept being released in a timely manner, creating a lot of anticipation and excitement about it, and consequently, making all of us talk about it, too.

As marketers, we have to create just enough hype that our loyal customers will want to share their excitement with their network. To motivate this engagement cycle, even more, you create brand ambassador programs prior to starting a new campaign. Ambassador programs have an incredible value for online communities engagement and customer engagement in general. So leverage your loyal customers and empower them to speak about your brand, your community, your product and your services.

Also, remember that social media and online communities are powerful tools for customer engagement. Identify your key active community members or social media followers, connect with them and motivate them to talk about you on these channels, and reward them for their participation.

Lesson 5: Learn, Don’t Follow!

Learning your lessons is one thing. Following someone’s footsteps is another. Not that I would expect that every company would start using the Star Wars logo guidance in their branding. And if someone does, it will only look foolish!

What I mean is we should stand by our beliefs and core business goals, and look at examples such as this to help us look into our own efforts to identify its strengths and weaknesses. Great and smart leaders are constantly learning and adapting, so use the knowledge wisely, apply it smartly and solidify your "Jedi" status.

Thank you for listening, and remember: “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

About the author

Ken Peterson

Ken Peterson, President of CX at QuestionPro, has over two decades of experience in the marketing research, retail, technology, hospitality and transportation industries with a recent focus on financially linked business insights, SaaS deployments and CX consultation. This ties in with his long history of P&L responsibility and detailed understanding of improving business operations.

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