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What “Guardians of the Galaxy” Taught Me About Building an Audience

Guardians-Of-The-Galaxy-Movie-Poster-Wallpaper-1920x1200We like our Marvel movies here at Kitterman. The success of their latest venture, Guardians of the Galaxy, gives us a prime example of moving from obscurity to household name. Though Marvel already has a reputation for quirky, enjoyable movies, Guardians is an obscure group of characters even to comic book lovers. So, how did a talking raccoon and a talking tree bust August box office records? It all comes down to a great product and exceptional marketing tactics that you can use with your own business. And don’t worry, no spoilers below.

Establish Why You’re Awesome

Working with unfamiliar characters and an unconventional premise of intergalactic space bandits, Marvel’s first act diffuses skepticism not just with an all-star cast with Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana, but by debuting with an offbeat and buzzworthy trailer. Having their first appearance of the characters poke fun at the absurdity of the premise and little recognition of the characters actually made them more relatable. It positioned the film as an outlier in the superhero genre, plus had some killer “ooga chakas.”

You don’t need a talking raccoon to show your business is awesome too. You just have to be willing to let your company personality shine through. Remember, businesses all over the world are vying for the same users as you. Set yourself apart. Step outside the generic and give people something to talk about. Maybe that means sharing pictures of your company’s latest, zany brainstorm session or maybe it’s writing an off-kilter, pop culture–referencing blog post (hey… wait!). Don’t aim for the middle of the road. Aim to show yourself as the outlier with which people want to associate. That will bring in potential customers.

Advertise to the Right Demographic

Going along with that trailer, it was hard to escape with the amount of play it had in commercials. As usual, Marvel had ads running on television and radio. But they also were targeting audiences through social ads and channels like Spotify and video game consoles. Marvel knows their audience; they know where to find them.

You have the same resources available to your business. Running targeted ads on Facebook and Twitter can help you nail down the users you want to engage. It might seem like a hard sell at first to be putting money into social media like this, but the results you can get are priceless. With Facebook’s ever-evolving algorithms for business pages, and the fast paced environment of Twitter, social media ads allow you to keep up and get noticed.

Word of Mouth

Recommendations from others carry a lot of weight. After my wife and I saw Guardians, the first thing we did was encourage our friends to go because we had so much fun. And they did. It might not have been solely off our advice—likely they were already on the edge because of the advertising and reviews—but we gave them the push to actual head out to the theater.

When you’re starting out your business, the first thing you’d do would be to tell people about it. That still stays true as you continue to establish your company. You are your company’s best evangelist. As you start to build up a small group of devoted followers, they can become advocates for you as well. This is all contingent on making sure you’re giving them an exciting experience (talking raccoons not required).

These simple ideas worked for Marvel and they can take your business “out of this world.” Be confident in your product and get others just as excited as you are. Don’t be afraid to be weird. Stand out. Or to paraphrase one of the characters: “marketing is Groot.”


2547ba2Dusty is the resident Inbound Marketing Specialist at Kitterman Marketing Group, a B2B marketing company that helps clients generate leads through the strategic mix of social, traditional and digital marketing.

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