It was late. My parents’ television was turned up a little louder than normal and woke me up. I climbed out of bed and snuck up to their room. Whatever they were watching sounded pretty scary. I quietly approached their room and snuck a peak at their television…
It was Ridley Scott’s Alien.
I think you’d be hard pressed to find a more evil, efficient killing machine around. The alien was literally designed as the perfect hunter. It was fast. It had multiple weapons, a hard exoskeleton, and acid for blood. They were smart and hunted in packs. Basically, if you lived to kill it, it could still kill you with a splash of it blood.
As a teenager, I was fascinated with this creature. I watched all the movies, read Aliens comic books, and collected some awesome action figures. Call it a strange admiration. This creature was fascinating. The backstory was interesting. It was a creature that had been genetically designed as the perfect killer. If I understood the history correctly, another alien race had developed the alien to use as a weapon against other races.
There’s nothing romantic about this evil beast. It was bred to kill. It was incredibly efficient at what it did and it had no conscience. There was no hesitation, no silly speeches, no niceties. But what made the alien the deadliest killer of all was its ability to adapt to almost any environment it was exposed to.
The alien could literally be exposed to heat, water, cold, zero gravity, the cold depths of space and it kept coming after its victims. And if you want to be great at marketing, you have to be every bit as adaptable.
We live in an incredibly fast paced world. Technologies are shifting quickly. Consumers are finding new ways to consume media and are taking control of their lives in ways we had never imagined. They are empowered and are actively seeking ways to remove unnecessary marketing and advertising from their lives. If you want to succeed in this industry or if you have a small business and need to market yourself, you must learn to adapt. In your own way, you have to be every bit as good at marketing as the alien was at killing.
Being Adaptable ≠ Being Evil
While aliens can get away with being purely evil, we in the communications business have to look for better ways to connect with consumers. Though many of our old tools still work (billboards, television advertising, junk mail, spam, etc.), we can still win with consumers if we are willing to listen to them and find innovative ways to communicate with them.
Here’s a great example of what I mean. There are a ton of companies out there that will willingly sell you their email distribution lists. You can then turn around and send your marketing and advertising to their customers. Sounds pretty cool, right?
This approach comes with some serious risks. You fire off your email messages to a whole bunch of people that may or may not want your stuff. They might just ignore you and delete your span. On the other hand, you might make them mad and the resulting word of mouth could lead to distrust among consumers.
Growing your email lists is good thing, but you might want to rethink your approach to this. By far, the best way to go is to grow your lists organically. Be authentic. Sell great stuff. Run amazing promotions. Tell beautiful stories. Make it easy for customers to sign up and opt out of your email list.
When it comes to marketing, pr and communications in general, there are some fantastic ways to communicate with customers. If we are willing to listen, work hard and innovate, we can be every bit as driven and efficient as Ridley Scott’s aliens; however, if we are to thrive and change our reputation, we must learn to play nice.