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5 Marketing Lessons from Harry Potter

harry potter books

Since 1997, the Harry Potter books have been a big part of many of our lives. Whether you were someone who stood in line for hours to be the first to see a new movie or anxiously awaited a book release to find out if Harry Potter would finally defeat Voldemort, you have been a part of the Harry Potter revolution. But this story goes beyond a wizard in a magical world to a strategic approach that J.K. Rowling took when writing the books and marketing them.  So as the movie series comes to an end on Friday, think about the marketing lessons that can be learned from Harry Potter.

1. Develop a Strategic Approach

When J.K. Rowling first started to write the Harry Potter books , she knew exactly how the characters and story were going to develop.  For years, fans asked her how the story was going to end, if Harry was going to die, if Snape had allegiance to Dumbledore or Voldemort.  She never said a word, but she told the world that she knew the answers.  As a marketer, it is important to develop a strategy.  Create goals, and execute your strategy with those goals in mind.  You will find that you will have more success with a strategic approach from the beginning until the end than you will if you just make it up as you go.

2. Viral Marketing

After the phenomenon began, J.K. Rowling did not have to do much promoting. The fans took over and created many viral campaigns on her behalf talking about the excitement they had over upcoming releases.  Harry Potter is often a trending topic on Twitter, Facebook events and page are abundant and thousands of bloggers create posts on their behalf.  These promotions are more genuine because they come from the source, the fans, instead of the person who makes a profit.  In the same ways, marketers need to utilize inbound marketing to create the same buzz over their product, service or company.  Positive reviews and promotions that come straight from consumers are more valuable than content that comes from the company.  Utilize the different social media tools that are available online to create the hype that you need to be successful.

3. Multi-Channel Approach

J.K. Rowling used multiple channels to reach her audience.  She recognized that her audience ranged from young children to adults, and she needed to cater to their interests.  In addition to the books and movies, she created an experience through amusement parks like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  She is now entering the social media space by creating Pottermore which will open in October.  The Harry Potter trailers reached millions of viewers on YouTube . Marketers should follow her example by using many channels to get their message out.  Different parts of your audience are more attracted through different means making it necessary to use a healthy mix of promotional tools.

4. Play Off Your Audience's Personality

After a few book releases, J.K. Rowling knew how to reach her audience.  She knew the anticipation of new books or movies, sneak previews and subtle hints made her audience go wild.  In the years to come, she used this knowledge to generate more buzz about anything relating to Harry Potter.  Marketers need to do a lot of research to understand and connect with their audience.  The more knowledge you have, the easier it will be to execute your strategy.  If your audience is attracted by a certain channel, use it.  If your audience is attracted by a certain message, use it.  If your audience is attracted by a certain spokesperson, use them.  Having this knowledge about your audience puts you miles ahead of your competitors.

5. Create a Distinct Brand

When you think of Harry Potter a few keywords come to mind.  They could be wizard, lightning bolt scar, Quidditch, or "the boy who lived."  These characteristics of this book series are recognized by people who aren't even fans. J.K. Rowling has created a distinct brand for Harry Potter that is comparable to Nike, Apple and Coca-Cola.  Marketers need to follow this lead and create specific and identifiable brands for their company or cause.  What message does your brand have?  What is your brand supposed to symbolize?  How will other people connect with your brand?  What does your brand mean to your audience? Identifying all aspects of your brand is important at the start of any campaign.

What other marketing lessons can you think of from the Harry Potter series?

Photo Credit: bibicall


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