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3 Marketing Lessons I Learned From Chasing Fugitives

The CBS show 'Hunted' is, at its core, all about getting into the minds (and computers and phones) of strangers -- sound familiar?

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A few weeks ago, my son introduced me to a reality game show called Hunted. The premise of the game is that nine teams of ordinary people go “on the run” as if they were fugitives hiding from the law. They have to make it 28 days without being caught in order to win the prize money.

Michael Yarish | CBS | Getty Images

It seems simple enough until you meet the people they're hiding from, which consists of former CIA, FBI, British Intelligence, White House Chief of Information officers, U.S. Army Cyber Intelligence, SWAT Commanders, Navy SEALs. U.S. Marshals, Naval Intelligence and professional profilers.

It’s not simple to make it even one day when these professionals have, combined, over 100 years of experience of chasing down high-profile fugitives and terrorists.

The leader of this expert team is Robert W. Clark, a former senior FBI official. He has 21 years of FBI experience under his belt. When referring to the Hunted show he stated, "They [the competitors] think this is a game, but my team is going to take this very seriously because this is what we do for a living." As I watched these episodes, Clark made quote after quote that related to something I didn't expect, and which made me really happy -- marketing. 

1. “We know them better than they know themselves.”

In order to find these fugitive teams, the command unit researched everything they could find on the fugitives. They scoured through their social media pages with their photos and their posts. They knew the places they liked to hang out, what movies they watched, the age of their kids, if they had a lot of friends or if they were more introverted. Everything. They understood their day-to-day lives and, therefore, were able to know their weaknesses and their strengths.

Do you know your customers and clients better than they know themselves?

Have you researched and profiled? Do you know if your type of client is an extravert, introvert, has kids, loves to dance, works 60 hours a week? Do you know what magazines they read and music they listen to? Do you know your potential customers better than they know themselves?

The most effective marketing strategies require you to understand the needs of your customers in order for your company to provide the solution. 

Related: 5 Low-Cost Ways to Make a Marketing Splash in Your Local Community (Infographic)

2. “I want to know what they’re thinking before they think it.”

The command team had enough research on each fugitive that they knew which family members they might turn to if they needed help. They knew what type of environment, social setting or geographic location each fugitive would be inclined to go to if they were stressed or needed assistance. They knew what decisions the fugitives would make before they made them.

Innovation is a word we like to throw around in the business world. We want to be cutting-edge. Businesses are worried about staying ahead of their competitors, but really, they want to stay one step ahead of the customers. Marketers need to completely understand their customer to the point that they know what their customers are going to do or need and be proactive in finding a solution.

Too many business owners make the mistake of thinking they understand their customers, but fail to do the extensive research and analysis needed to really get inside their heads.

Related: To Be Blunt, a Lot of Your Social-Media Marketing is Getting You Nowhere

3. “I want access to their computers, cell phones, social media, vehicles and bank accounts.”

Just to be clear: Don't try to gain access to your customers’ computers, cell phones, social media, vehicles and bank accounts.

But, you should use all of the tools you have available to build a social media strategy that will get in front of them.

In 2017, we have a wide variety of tools to use in our marketing arsenal, and you need to know the marketing tools available to make sure you use the right ones for your business.

Related: How to Create a Marketing Plan

It’s time to start thinking like an analyst. Know your customers better than they know themselves. Predict their next steps before they know what they are going to do. Use every tool in your toolbox.

Marketing is more than just increasing your Facebook likes. It requires the ability to get inside the minds of the people who will need your product or service and show up before they arrive, so you can capture them when they get there.

Katherine Keller

Written By

Katherine Keller is the president of Katherine Keller International, an online marketing, branding, copywriting and graphic design agency. She also works with small business entrepreneurs, building their success mindset and overcoming fears.