What Small Business Can Learn from the Deadpool Marketing

The R-rated movie Deadpool proved that smart use of social media marketing can pay off handsomely – to the tune of $130 million in the opening weekend! There gross is now up to $325 million. How did a movie about a relatively unknown Marvel comic character become so popular?

Smart marketing, that’s how. The success of this campaign is based on the fact that they understand who their audiences are and what they respond to. They created interesting content that resonated with those audiences and posted it in all the right places.They did not pay attention to the concerns of audiences who were not their target.

Now that sounds remarkably like traditional marketing 101 – the 4P’s of marketing, right? And it is. Focus on your core customer and then create a product for them and place it where they hang out.

Problem is, not many people know how to do that.Or if they do, they don’t make the effort.

It takes time and research to understand your audience or audiences intimately. You need to know exactly who they are, what they like, what they find interesting, what they find amusing and what they will respond to. And you have to know where to place that content so it will be seen by the right people. Deadpool did this brilliantly.

It is an R-rated movie and you’d think that would restrict the audience. Deadpool is not your typical Marvel superhero and he is not one of the better-known Marvel characters. But thanks to this smart marketing campaign he’s become the highest grossing Marvel character for Fox.

The Fox marketing team used his relatively unknown status to their advantage in the social content – they used marketing to introduce the character and make him interesting and appealing. The content was offbeat, irreverent and funny. By focusing on the character of Deadpool more than the plot of the movie, they could create interesting content and still keep a lid on the story line. This created interest in the character and a desire to see the movie.

The other aspect of the campaign was the intensity. They started early and never let up. It was constant, consistent and in-your-face on all media avenues that could reach their core audience. And despite fears that this might be too much and would turn people off, the numbers show that it worked.

It’s now being hailed as a template for future movie marketing.

Can this type of campaign also work for a non-entertainment business? Not an exact replica, but the factors that made it work always apply.  Any small business can use these ideas:

  • Know your audience intimately
  • Figure out what your audience likes and will respond to
  • Create excellent content that resonates with that audience
  • Place it in the media they use – off and online
  • Make it shareable
  • Be consistent
  • Be present in all the places they go
  • Don’t be afraid to produce content that is not right for others  (not your core audience)
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