Some great marketing advice you can learn from Harry Potter (in two parts)
I love great fiction, and I am not ashamed to admit that I am a huge fan of Harry Potter. As even the most casual of fan will recall, at the beginning of book six, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, we see the wizarding world in the midst of a horrible recession. People have started moving out of their homes. So much so that, almost all of the neighborhoods are filled with boarded up houses. The shops are going out of business as their owners are either killed or their customer's are too afraid to come out in groups to shop. As the economy crashes, one business still stands proud in Diagon Alley. The business is Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes, a joke shop, and it isn't just still open, it is thriving and filled with laughing happy shoppers.
As anyone who works in sales knows, marketing your products, especially novelty products, in a bad economy is tough. So, why was that business successful? Was it run by people who have advanced degrees in Marketing? Nope, Fred and George Weasley (the owner of the shop) are high school drop outs. Were they offering great discounts? Not really, In fact, they wouldn't even give a discount to their own brother. Did they provide safety for their customers? Not especially. Although Dementors wouldn't be very successful in such a happy place, there was no additional protection provided to shoppers. To answer this question, I consulted the books and a great article by Matt Cohen at Huffington Post.
Here are 6 marketing secrets you can learn from Harry Potter:
- Get an Angel investor: Fred and George Weasley were able to get the start up money for their shop from Harry Potter, who gave the twins 1,000 galleons (wizard money he won as a prize from the TriWizard Tournament) to follow their dream. It wasn't a partnership or a loan. Harry didn't want to be repaid, and he didn't want to be part of the shop. To him, the money was a reminder of a painful experience he would rather forget. Although you might not be able to find an investor who just wants to throw away money, finding creative ways to raise venture capital is important.
- Be completely committed to your campaign or new venture - It isn't enough to just have a great idea and a killer business plan, you have to have dedication and commitment. Fred and George showed they were willing to do whatever it took to make their business a success by moving out of their parents house and living above their shop. By making it their life, they show how determined they are to succeed.
- Have a long term business plan from the start – The Weasley twins develop a small group of products and marketed them to their schoolmates. They started with a few gag spells that would help students get out of class and some that would allow them to create some minor mischief. With these few products under their belts, they started a mail order company to generate some income to devote to research and development. As they developed new products, they were able to market test them until the spells were perfected and they had the amount of demand to justify purchasing retail space.
To find out the last three marketing tips, stay tuned for my next post, 6 Marketing Tips You Can Learn From Harry Potter, Part 2.
What do you think about this list? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer for SalesHeadsBlog, along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.