Happy Independence Day! It’s the middle of summer, which means we’re all feeling a little ready for a break. That had me thinking about one of the most fun parts of summer: the blockbuster movie. And what better movie to talk about than this holiday’s namesake: Independence Day.
Independence Day is a classic that has stood the test of time, but it also has a few enduring lessons for B2B marketers. Let’s take a look at three things you can learn from Independence Day to elevate your B2B marketing practice.
1 — Listen to the experts when they tell you something big is about to happen
Like any great disaster movie, Independence Day has a scientist (Jeff Goldblum) who warns the president about an imminent attack. But, like any great disaster movie president, he doesn’t want to act too quickly for fear of causing a panic.
Oh, if only they had listened to Jeff Goldblum!
While the stakes for B2B marketers are significantly less dire, the lesson here is the same: when an expert tells you to act, you should act. Whether it’s the internet, social media, AI, or the next marketing revolution—you ignore it at your own (professional) peril.
Sure, being an early adopter can be a little scary at times. But consider the flip side: if you opt not to act while your competitors are moving into position, they will be experts while you’re still learning the ropes.
If you want to avoid having your proverbial marketing White House blown up, you should listen when marketing experts tell you to use the next big thing. Play around with it, make mistakes, learn, and eventually triumph.
“When an expert tells you to act, you should act. Whether it’s the internet, social media, AI, or the next marketing revolution — you ignore it at your own (professional) peril.” — Art Allen @Punsultant Click To Tweet
2 — Sometimes old ways of doing things just don’t work anymore
One of the first hurdles the humans of Independence Day face is how ineffective their missiles are against the aliens’ protective force-field. Of course, defeating the aliens on the first attempt would make for a pretty boring movie, but what makes for an exciting plot also makes for a good marketing lesson.
Do you ever feel like you’re firing your best marketing missiles at your target audience but they just fizzle out and nothing happens? That’s because audiences are constantly evolving, and your ways of targeting them need to keep changing with them.
This is not just about making sure you’re using the latest tools. You need to pay attention to campaign analytics to see where your audience is, what messages are resonating, and what is driving conversions for your KPIs. The data will tell you where and how your audience is responding.
Maybe your audience has always been on Facebook, but now they’ve migrated over to LinkedIn. Or maybe your audience used to respond really well to text-based Google ads, but now they respond better to video. Shifts like these happen all the time, and if you rely on the old way of doing things without examining new opportunities, you’ll be in trouble.
“Pay attention to campaign analytics to see where your audience is, what messages are resonating, and what is driving conversions for your KPIs. The data will tell you where and how your audience is responding.” — Art Allen @Punsultant Click To Tweet
3 — Even the most advanced tech still needs a human operator
To defeat the aliens, Jeff Goldblum writes a little computer virus that will take down the alien shields. But there’s just one problem: they have to get it onto the mothership! The ship needs a pilot and the virus needs someone to upload it, so Will Smith flies himself and Jeff Goldblum into the alien ship so they can get the job done — in person.
Once again, an automated process here would have been pretty boring to watch. But the lesson it gives B2B marketers is more salient than ever: a high tech solution, whether a shield-busting computer virus or generative AI — just doesn’t work without someone to operate it.
While you absolutely should be using generative AI, you should be using it as a tool, not as a coworker. Tools like ChatGPT, Midjourney, and others are good at getting close to what we as marketers are after, but they remain error prone and sometimes even produce content that is filled with lies.
It’s true in B2B marketing and it’s true in outer space: even when you have a computer helping you, if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.
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