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4 Marketing Lessons From Marvel Movies

4 Marketing Lessons From Marvel Movies
Image credit: Marvel Studios; Disney
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You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Marvel fandom is one of the biggest fandom to exist and is ever growing. Owned by Disney, Marvel Studios stands up above the rest when it comes to superhero movies. DC is catching up been but Marvel brand has already made a mark.

Their evolution from comics to big screen looks smooth, as is their evolution from being a movie studio to a brand in itself. With classics like Superman (1978) and Fantastic Four (1994) in hand, Marvel took a modern turn and re-launched with X-Men in 2000 following with Spiderman in 2002. And since, they have kept the audience enticed in this world of superheroes.

No doubt the studio spends a whole lot of money in marketing of movies under it, but a large part of it also has to do with some classic subtle moves they play every now and then. Take Deadpool (2016) for instance, which is not only the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time but a whole genre of superhero movies where the protagonist breaks the fourth wall and talks to the audience.

The scale at which Marvel operates is huge but that doesn’t mean their strategies wouldn’t apply on start-ups or SMEs. Some strategies we’ve extracted goes as follows:

Know your audience!

Marvel Comics have been quite popular before the movies came and had quite a fan base. They still do. So, when Marvel ventured into movies, they had to make sure that they give their comic audience a sense of nostalgia by keeping a similar base, but also attract young audience with the use of graphics. They have both now, and though the fandom gets a little crazy sometimes, Marvel never fails to deliver.

What entrepreneurs can learn from this is that if their product is good, the young audience who keeps up with technology can follow through, but you have to ensure that it reaches every age group to get the impact you want. You have the product but if the customer does not even understand how to use the product, what’s the point.

Keep them excited!

When people stay back at the end of a Marvel movie through the credits, that’s when you know he/she’s a true fan. It might seem a very simple thing to do but I see the number increasing every time and that’s a loyal customer right there.

What Marvel does here is that buy giving away a small piece of information at the end of each movie, a teaser, they build a suspense which compels the audience to come back and watch the next movie. And then you watch another and then another, each giving away a piece of puzzle leaving the room for the fandom to talk, discuss and make whatever they want to make of it.

To build that level of loyalty, one should remember that this can only come with time, no matter what you do. You have to trust to your customer too and ease them into using your product or service. Re-launch with a new angle to it by keeping up with technological innovations.

Build a relationship!

The similarity between the core of Batman Vs Superman and Captain America: Civil War, making two beloved superheroes fight against each other, escaped no one. Both were great movies and both outdid themselves when it comes to graphics and animation. Still, the impact Civil War has was much stronger when compared to that of Batman Vs Superman and it’s all because of the connection Marvel has built with their audience over the years.

 The little teasers we talked about earlier kept bringing in people and soon they built a web of movies connecting one with another. It started with a scene after the credits Iron man in 2012 with Nick Fury, them Tony Stark’s appearance at the end of The Incredible Hulk confirmed what was coming and it all culminated into The Avengers, Marvel’s highest grossing film ever. Batman Vs Superman weren't able to establish that connection. Though Batman and Superman are well known characters, each movie is a different representation of the same. DC expected people to take Batman Vs Superman with same intensity as they took The Avengers and this was their doom.

What entrepreneurs can learn from here is how Marvel has slowly build a relationship with their audience, and even though they might face criticism every now and then about loopholes, these fans do come back. Give something to your audience that will make them stay. You product will be tested and it’ll stay only if it’s worth their time.

Let them talk!

The marketing strategy that went behind Deadpool is just enigmatic. Releasing a superhero movie on Valentine’s Day was a risk Marvel took and boy, did they succeed or what! Marvel promoted the movie as a Romantic movie rather than the obvious, with Deadpool even making an appearance on Tinder to keep people talking.

Marvel lays the bread crumbs and the audience follows. Using social media as a tool, they invoke serious discussions, promoting movies through the word of mouth. Be it on 9gag or tumbler, one can find a Marvel related meme every now and then, proving how popular they are.

Brand awareness doesn’t take money to build. It requires communication, not advertising. Advertising is the paid form of communication and if you can’t spend there, look for alternate ways of talking about your business. Be it word of mouth, choosing a catchy name or even using online mediums.

 

Edition: December 2016

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