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3 Lessons Marketers Can Learn From Game Of Thrones

Game of Thrones is an epic for our time. Through the balance of the explicit, elusive and illicit, the books and HBO series have exploded with popularity. The HBO show offers a faux-medieval spectacle that has charmed viewers around the world. According to Fintan O’Toole, ‘It dramatises many of the great 21st-century anxieties: the breakdown of international order, climate change, globalisation, gender, [and] the body.’

As the television series winds down on HBO over the next couple of weeks, we at ChannelSight have been thinking about what other contemporary lessons Game of Thrones have taught us. Those of us working in ecommerce can find some valuable insights into some of its teachings. From remaining authentic, using your words wisely and understanding that learning is a process rather than a destination, we have a lot of wisdom to share.

That’s what we do at Channelsight: We drink [coffee] and we know things. We didn’t mean to leave that Starbucks cup on set, but these things happen.

‘Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armour, and it can never be used to hurt you.’

Tyrion gave this sage advice to Jon about being a bastard in the first episode of the first season of Game of Thrones. Now we know that Jon was meant for so much more, but the advice of be true to yourself is not just for Westeros.

If your ecommerce strategy isn’t authentic, then you simply aren’t winning the game of ecommerce. Shoppers, millennials in particular, are keenly aware of when something feels fake. You’ll need to adjust your strategy and your tone to engage with them more effectively on every channel. Omnichannel experiences need to feel fluid and appreciate the expectations of digital natives.

In contrast to Jon, Daenerys has been moving away from the way her character was depicted previously. It’s almost as though someone is writing her for the sole reason of setting the series up for her final conflict with everyone else. What changed about her sense of self, and why did this happen? Suddenly, without much warning, she becomes this weakened tyrant in the making. The Khaleesi has lost her two most faithful advisers, Jorah and Missandei. Two of her three dragons are dead. The Dothraki were sent to their death alongside many Unsullied during the long night. She’s come a long way from when we first met the her, but fans are not exactly pleased with her fire filled fury. 

When it comes to your ecommerce strategy, it’s time to be your true self. Be authentic throughout all your content strategy and this will come through to your customers. Be like Jon, not Daenerys.

‘You know nothing, Jon Snow.’

Ygritte always made it a point to remind Jon Snow that he knew nothing. First as enemies and later as lovers, the Wildling tells Jon that he knows nothing a staggering 19 times during the course of the HBO show. In each of these instances Jon was wrong about something, be it a cultural practice of the Free Folk, something special about Ygritte, or even in the case of whether or not she was strong enough to survive an injury. This is a subtle way to point out Jon Snow’s naivety and ignorance earlier in the storyline.

Similarly, omnichannel alignment is an ever changing and evolving landscape. Ecommerce is providing new challenges and opportunities for brands and retailers. Less than 50% of shoppers say that they are satisfied with in store shopping experiences. In contrast to this, 18% of consumers say that they shop less at other retail stores as a result of Amazon. In a digital landscape that is changing so rapidly it’s foolish to make assumptions. It’s best practice to conclude that you still have a thing or two to learn. 

With the wisdom of hindsight, we still think that Jon and Ygritte never should have left that cave.

‘First rule, stick them with the pointy end.’

In season one, as Jon bids his sister Arya Stark farewell, he gives her a piece of advice to defend herself. Throughout all her character development, Arya was always more interested in developing her fighting skills than she ever was in embroidery. In the final season she gives the same advice to her sister Sansa, before the big war begins. Sansa tells Arya that she doesn’t know how to use the dagger that she was given and she responds back sardonically ‘Stick them with the pointy end.’ This brings the sentence full circle in a very satisfying way.

Game of Thrones Meme

In the case of your ecommerce strategy, the pen may very well be mightier than the sword. Words can be very powerful. Good content, sharp turns of phrase and strong calls to action are all integral to your strategy. You may not be waging a war for the Seven Kingdoms, but if you are focusing on improving conversion good content and  social media presence are crucial. Think words aren’t important? A shocking 94% of 18-24 year olds use social media to inspire their purchases. Even if they’re not making purchases online, content is relevant to your omnichannel game plan.

Being creative with your ideas makes for more engaging content. Even big brands like Diageo have embraced the cultural significance of Game of Thrones by developing a specialty whisky called White Walker by Johnnie Walker. Diageo writes ‘The collection features eight Scotches that are each paired with one of the iconic Houses of Westeros and the Night’s Watch giving fans an authentic taste of the Seven Kingdoms and beyond.’ Thus combining two fandoms into one very successful product.

What do we say to bad content? Not today.

Final Thoughts: Game of Thrones

When you’re playing the game of ecommerce, you win or you die. There is no middle ground. While this may sound dramatic, especially since there is no Iron Throne to be fighting over, it’s important to remember that your ecommerce strategy is essential to winning at the game of ecommerce.

In a world where Amazon’s influence is evident as it is inevitable, your brand needs to ensure that it’s able to break through the noise to drive engaged leads and conversion. You need to be consistent with your strategy in order to captivate consumers throughout their entire retail journey.

ChannelSight’s Where To Buy technology makes it simple and easy for customers to purchase products from any digital channel. Instead of just hitting and hoping that customers remember your marketing efforts, brands can channel engaged customers directly to purchasing options.

The fight for the Iron Throne of ecommerce is never done. Are you still looking to win the online war? Download our webinar Battle of The Brands to learn more.

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Angela Bruni3 Lessons Marketers Can Learn From Game Of Thrones

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