6 Marketing Lessons Small Businesses Can Learn From the Big Players

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6 Marketing Lessons Small Businesses Can Learn From the Big Players

By Joseph Cambertato | Entrepreneur Magazine | April 5, 2024

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As a small business owner, you can learn valuable marketing lessons by studying major marketing campaigns like Barbie and, more recently, Dune: Part 2. Let’s look at six major takeaways you can apply to your next product launch.

  1. Incorporate social media.  A large part of Barbie’s success is due to its social media campaign — the movie was heavily promoted on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Twitter. You could find behind-the-scenes content, trailers, memes and interactive posts.  There were promotional hashtags, like #BarbieMovieMagic, which encouraged fans to create and share user-generated content. The Barbie team also partnered with celebrities and influencers who shared their experiences and thoughts about the movie.  The Barbie movie is an example of what can happen when you leverage social media to its fullest extent. When used effectively, it can create unstoppable momentum that pushes a brand or product into the public eye.
  2. Collaborate with other brands. The Barbie marketing campaign focused on collaborating with other brands to promote the movie. In total, Mattel partnered with over 100 brands — for example, Forever 21 created Barbie-inspired clothing like crop tops, mesh tees and hoodies.  Airbnb listed the iconic Malibu DreamHouse on its site. Restaurant chains like McDonald’s, Burger King and Cold Stone also partnered with Barbie to promote the movie.  It’s hard to market a product on your own, and Barbie demonstrates what can happen when you create mutually beneficial partnerships on a very large scale. The right partnerships can generate more excitement among your audience and put your brand in front of entirely new audiences.
  3. Create brand consistency.  When you think of Barbie, there’s probably one thing that comes to mind — the color pink. Barbie pink became a central part of the movie. The color was not only used throughout the movie but also incorporated in all of the promotional materials and campaigns.  Brand consistency matters because it helps customers create an emotional connection to your products. When customers immediately recognize your brand, it creates familiarity and a greater sense of trust.
  4. Encourage user-generated content.  User-generated content may not be applicable to every marketing campaign, but if you can use it, it’s an effective tool. User-generated content was pivotal to marketing Barbie, and fans were constantly encouraged to engage with the movie.  There was a Barbie selfie generator that allowed fans to edit themselves into the movie poster. And there was tons of user-generated content posted on social media. User-generated content can not only create a buzz around a product launch but also give your audience a sense of ownership around it.
  5. Start early.  Most people probably became aware of the Barbie movie last spring or summer during the months leading up to its release. However, the marketing team spent years planning its launch and setting up partnerships.  Effective marketing campaigns don’t open overnight — the earlier you begin marketing a product launch, the more time you have to create awareness. Plus, marketing early and often gives you a chance to test out different strategies and see what works.
  6. Know your audience.  One of the biggest things the Barbie marketing campaign demonstrates is a deep understanding of its audience. The Barbie brand has been around since 1959, and the movie embraced the power of nostalgia to appeal to older fans who grew up with the dolls.  At the same time, the movie’s focus on diversity and inclusion made it relevant to younger generations. The movie succeeded by giving fans what they really wanted — an experience that resonated with people of all ages.  When you know your audience, you can create relevant, targeted content you know they’ll identify with. It also helps you create a relationship with your audience and create long-term customer loyalty.

2 key takeaways from the article

  1. As a small business owner, you can learn valuable marketing lessons by studying major marketing campaigns like Barbie and, more recently, Dune: Part 2 i.e., a strong social media campaign.
  2. Six major takeaways you can apply to your next product launch:  incorporate social media, collaborate with other brands, create brand consistency, encourage user-generated content, start early, and know your audience.

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Topics:  Entrepreneurship, Startups, Small Businesses, Marketing, Partnership

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