Welcome to another “Internet Marketing Lessons from (insert pop culture reference here)”. In this article, we pore over the world of Doctor Who.
Ah, Doctor Who, one of the most successful TV shows to ever come out of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). It’s one of the few TV programs that have earned my cult-like viewership. While the series has been in existence since 1963 and is loved by millions worldwide, many still haven’t seen a single episode.
Even if you’re not a fan of the show, one reason to watch it is that it teaches lessons about life, science and even Internet marketing. I know what you’re thinking. A time-traveling alien can’t possibly tell you how to live your life or how to generate more website traffic.
Actually, the values and principles illustrated by the science fiction television series can be applied to several aspects of life. Drawing inspiration from this fictional TV show can motivate people to be the best of humanity, and in your case, online marketing.
I’ve been a Whovian (that’s what Doctor Who fans are called) since the show’s 2005 revival. I loved the show so much that I watched the classic episodes from decades ago. I have learned tons of things and want to share them with you.
Also, this year marks Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary, so this also serves as my tribute.
1. Be open to change and recreating yourself.
The Doctor, the show’s protagonist, is a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey. His race has the natural ability to regenerate a new body when they’re about to die, thus cheating death. Each of the Doctor’s incarnations come with a different personality, not to mention a different sense of style.
Never has this facility to regenerate spoken so strongly in Internet marketing than today, now that the Panda and Penguin updates are in full force and have affected millions of websites. If your website suffered the Panda effect, going back to the drawing board to revamp your strategies is only necessary to avoid your site’s death. Regenerate your system to create brand new methods that can keep up with new challenges, obstacles and enemies. Don’t be afraid of change and don’t think that it’s the end of SEO because search engine optimization simply evolved.
Recreate your tactics not only when algorithm changes rock your rankings; but when you find that, after careful examination, an SEO or marketing strategy doesn’t work for your website or line of business.
2. Know your enemy.
The Doctor is a pacifist hero dedicated to preserving peace between different races and among themselves. He was even unable to bring himself to destroy his greatest enemy, the Daleks, a race of mutants bent on their desire to destroy all other life forms. Instead of war and violence, the Doctor uses diplomacy and his intelligence to study his enemy and save planets.
Studying your rivals is a business strategy practiced by almost all industries. There will always be competitors that want to get a piece of your market as well as your customer base. While you can’t exterminate the competition, be like the Doctor — study their strengths and weaknesses; use a positive approach to conquer the struggle. Only then will you be able to target their customers, learn their techniques, and discover what keywords they’re targeting.
The Doctor always thinks a step ahead, which is why many a time has he been able to escape death at the hands of his enemies. In addition to your current competitors, you will have more rivals in the future. Keep yourself updated with the latest technologies, trends and potential threats. Read blogs regularly, visit forms and participate in chatrooms to try to anticipate what could enter your market in the coming years.
3. Touching on emotions.
The Doctor may be the Earth’s defender and the whole universe’s hero, but there’s a loneliness in him that has pulled the heartstrings of fans. He is the last of his kind, he saw his race entirely wiped out, he has been traveling in his time machine for centuries, and he has seen his loved ones and friends die. This is a tremendously lonely way of living. If not for his travel companions, he would be all alone.
Being alone is a feeling we all fear, but it’s because of this perpetual loneliness that viewers can sympathize with the Time Lord. It’s also this loneliness that makes fans want all the happiness in the universe for the Doctor, and seeing the Doctor joyous in turn makes the fans happy.
The message this Doctor Who aspect conveys is that you have to show the human side of your business to make a connection with your customers, fans and prospects. Countless marketing e-mails and spam have given Internet marketing in general an unfavorable reputation. If you sound like a car salesman in your emails, you’ll easily turn people off.
Don’t just push information into their inboxes. Build your brand by creating a story and establishing a relationship. This is the kind of strategy that draws in recurring customers and generates brand loyalty. Avoid sending too many emails. A weekly email is less intrusive than a daily email and it reminds your recipients you’re still there.
4. Know your limitations and get “companions”.
Throughout the 700-plus episodes of Doctor Who, viewers have observed the Doctor’s weakness for travel companions. Being alone in a vast universe can be quite lonesome and he can get by with a little help from his friends when saving the world. While the Doctor is a one-man army, each companion is an important character, sometimes even helping the Doctor stop various dangers and forces of evil.
Like the Doctor, you want to stand out in your niche/market, but still be aware that you can’t do this alone. Success involves team effort because online marketing is a two-way street. Besides, you can get more work done in lesser time when you have a whole team working together. The Doctor’s companions teach us that every individual is an important component in victory.
Even if you have the ability to code, build, write and market your own website, you’re going to need to earn referrals, and this requires building long-term relationships within the community.
Sometimes when the Doctor becomes too sure of himself, companions remind him that there will always be margin for error. So, whether you own a business or are an employee, don’t be afraid to speak up because you just might spare your company a preventable oversight.
Doctor Who is filled with inspirational speeches and quotable quotes. One of my all time favorites is:
The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. Good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things or make them unimportant.
— Eleventh Doctor, “Vincent and the Doctor”
Even if you know you’re the master of your life, it’s nice to learn/re-learn life lessons from an entertaining, exciting TV show. What other lessons have you learned from Doctor Who? Do you think the Doctor’s principles can be applied to your life? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.