Sales and marketing lessons we can learn from horror movies
Updated: Jul 1, 2020
I have a few passions in life; one of them is writing helpful articles for sales and marketing folks, and another is horror movies. So, to honour the spookiest day of the year, I’m going to combine (absolutely shoehorn) the two. Let’s see how this turns out…
1. Stick together
One of the most frustrating tropes of any horror is when the gang decide that splitting up will be the best way to save themselves. You might remember this trope from one of the catchphrases in Scooby-Doo: “Let’s split up, gang!” Well, let’s not.
In horror movies, typically the group will split up only to find this actually makes it easier for whatever big bad that’s out there to pick them off one by one.
What can we learn from this? Banding together will make you stronger. For sales and marketing teams, we always recommend buddying up to make sure you’re all communicating clearly and working together to solve problems. After all, marketing needs to know who they’re targeting, and Sales are the ones who talk to those people every day. Sales folk also need to be aware of what’s going on in marketing so there are no gaps in the buyer’s journey. It just makes more sense to be one ‘smarketing’ team!
2. Learn your environment inside and out
Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) managed to survive six Halloween films being stalked by Michael Myers. Why? Because they take place in her own home town, meaning she knew exactly where to run and hide and where to stay away from. As a contrast, in The Maze (2010), five friends decide to break into an unfamiliar, closed corn maze at night to have a little game of ‘tag’. That is until a murderous loony decides to join the fun and they’re left running around aimlessly in a blind panic.
Similarly, you need to make sure you really know the online spaces where your buyer personas hang out to better target them. Realise that the people who mostly hang out on Instagram are not the same as the LinkedIn crowd, so you’ll need a different kind of messaging for each post. You need to take the time to research each social platform to truly reach and resonate with your audience.
3. Study your nemesis
In A Nightmare On Elm Street III: Dream Warriors (1987), Nancy and Kristen find out that just like Freddy Kreuger, they also have power in their dreams, and decide to band together with their friends to wage war against him when they know he’s at his weakest.
In sales and marketing, learning about your competitors can give you huge insight into how to beat them.
4. Please, just stop running upstairs, guys
Every time a victim is being chased by a murderous villain, why, oh, why, do they always run upstairs?! There’s nowhere to go from there! In Scream (1996), for example, it looks like Sidney is about to run outside, but she instead runs upstairs to get away from Ghostface. Come on Sidney, seriously?!
Similarly (wait for it…), with marketing, you’ll always back yourself into a corner if you’re concentrating on one thing without considering the future. It’s easy to get caught up with the ‘more sales, more sales, more sales’ mindset, but you also need to think of the bigger picture. It might take some trial and error, but if you map out every route possible to get there, you just might save yourself from being horribly axed to death. I mean.. uh, you might find your efforts are more rewarding…
5. Get your priorities straight
In Suspiria, Suzy learns that without their queen, a witch coven can’t survive and plans accordingly. In Predator, Arnie covers himself in mud and sets a trap to face down the predator. In The Evil Dead, Ash finally gets around to burning the book that clearly started the whole ‘my friends have turned into creepy stabby weirdos’ thing.
If anything, this teaches us that you need to plan and have your priorities in order to defeat evil. The same goes for Sales and Marketing. You shouldn’t just target anyone and everyone with your efforts, because that wastes precious time and resources. You need to prioritise with account-based interactions, so you end up engaging with the right kind of people for your business.
6. Don’t get lost in the woods
Sometimes, deciding on how to go about your website can leave you feeling like the kids in The Blair Witch Project after they chuck the map in the river. You might not get lost in a literal forest, but it can certainly feel that way when you lose track of where your efforts should be focused.
A great way to make sure you’re on the right path is to monitor analytics and act accordingly. Make sure you’ve got a dashboard that analyses each touchpoint in your user journey and gives you insight into where people are engaging and where they’re dropping off. Another useful tool for this is HotJar, which allows you to see heatmaps of your website activity — for example, you can see where people are clicking, where they’re not, and watch recorded videos of people navigating your website.
So there are your sales and marketing tips, straight out of the horror movies. I hope you had fun reading them! Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s about time for me to eat my weight in sweets and pumpkin pie…