Building alliances, thwarting danger and fighting for the right to rule are common themes in Game of Thrones. Sounds a lot like marketing, doesn't it? While the battle rages on in HBO's hit series, marketers are fighting battles of their own. In the game of marketing, seven strategies emerge as the requisite components of a winning battle plan. Have a Winning Team In Game of Thrones, Daenerys Targaryen is hell-bent on reclaiming the Iron Throne, a family seat previously stolen out from under her. Before she can wage an attack, however, Daenerys must travel the land of Westeros to ensure her team is strategically in place. By doing so, Daenerys is increasing her chances of victory. In the marketing world, the strategy is not much different. In order to reach your goals, a dynamic team of qualified individuals is a necessity. When forming the ultimate battle-ready team, you must look for the following qualities in each member. Teachability – A resistance to learning is resistance to growth. Intelligence – Problem solvers and critical thinkers help teams transform innovation to action. Motivation – A lack of motivation leads to lack of productivity. On the battlefield, there's no time to rest. Strong Work Ethic – Hard workers are the driving force behind a team's success. History of Triumph – Times can be tough. You need experienced warriors on your side. If you're unable to recruit the best members for your team, it's wise to hire an agency instead of compromising the success of your marketing campaigns. Team members unable to pitch in and complete their fair share of the work are a drain on your ability to meet marketing goals in a timely manner. If in doubt, outsource (then you can go back to watching Game of Thrones). Valar Dohaeris "All Men Must Serve" In High Valyrian, a language spoken in Game of Thrones, "valar dohaeris" is a common response to the greeting "valar morghulis." While valar morgulis translates to "all men must die," the response means "all men must serve." There's a lesson for marketers in this: you need to speak your audience's language. Marketing is about creating content the audience actually wants, serving their unique needs and providing inspiration to share your message with others. Unless you're committed to upholding the motto, "All men must serve," understanding your target audience will be difficult. The resulting content will be stale, lifeless and without true purpose. However, if you've taken the oath to serve, complete the following steps to accurately target your audience. Do the Legwork – As one who serves, you'll need to conduct research to pinpoint your ideal customer. Record demographics, emotions, wants, needs and greatest challenges. Discover the Questions – After creating a persona from this information, step into their shoes and learn their most pressing questions. Provide the Answers – Offering the solution is a breeze once you've discovered the key questions. As a marketer, mapping out buyer personas is a key strategy when victory is the goal. Follow the Plan Theon Greyjoy, raised by the Stark family, returned to his father's home one day only to discover he'd been forgotten. In a brazen attempt to prove his worth, he disobeyed orders and sieged Stark's land. After a failed stint as a ruthless leader, Greyjoy is captured by a real ruthless leader who enjoys turning prisoners into amputees. The lesson here? Following the plan is usually the best course of action. Marketers must master the art of juggling each piece of the plan. From outreach and PPC to content and SEO, putting together pieces of a diverse marketing strategy is a top priority. To create a marketing plan that works for your team, include the following elements. Attraction – encouraging visitors to a website involves the creation and promotion of content, thorough SEO practices and greeting customers with a positive experience Lead Conversion – landing pages, calls to action and opt-in forms must work together to transform visitors into leads Action – inspiring leads to take action may include lead scoring, nurturing an email list and marketing automation Retain – once leads become customers, it's time to further engage through email, social media and stage-based calls to action Following this plan requires every member of a team to be on the same page and focused on stage-appropriate goals. Keep Score People are interesting when they decide to keep score. Some take it seriously, while others are light-hearted. The Game of Thrones' character Joffrey is widely known in the series for his sadistic, mean-spirited and downright unsanitary score-keeping practices. For Joffrey, no score is complete without a trophy (or head of your victim) mounted on your mantle (or on the spikes around the castle). While it would be best if marketers didn't follow Joffrey's example to the letter, his story is a clear illustration of primitive analytics. With inbound marketing, analytics become a crucial determinant of success. As a highly measureable marketing strategy, inbound marketing equips teams with the information needed to create the best, most effective marketing campaigns. To expedite strategic changes based on analytics, it's necessary to run regular reports detailing the metrics captured from inbound marketing efforts. Make sure not to leave out the following metrics: Total visits Lead sources Most viewed pages Most viewed blogs Organic vs. paid leads Landing pages with highest conversion rates Lead duration Sales funnel summary Though not a comprehensive list, the above statistics are essential when evaluating the effectiveness of a marketing campaign. Ready Yourself for Battle Reaching your marketing goals may require an abundance of patience, the need to learn new habits and analyzing your heart out until there are visible results. So, why do marketers bother when the barriers are so large that success seems miles away? Much like Game of Thrones, the game of marketing is fast-paced, exhausting and exciting all at all the same time – a combination many marketers can't resist. If you follow these seven strategies, your team will be able to triumph over any obstacle that comes your way.
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