It’s December, which means we’re all busy trimming trees, putting up decorations, and anticipating the newest installment of the Star Wars saga. If you reside in the digital marketing sphere, you’re also probably racking your brain for strategies to wring some more sales from the final stretch of the holiday shopping season. Believe it or not, that famous galaxy far, far away can teach us a thing or two about effective search marketing practices.
Its universal depiction of the hero’s journey is just one reason Star Wars has stood the test of time to become one of the world’s most beloved popular fictions. The hero’s journey tracks the stages of a protagonist’s quest in many common stories and myths. The hero hears the call of adventure, meets a mentor, and crosses the threshold from the known to the unknown on the way to greatness. Ultimately, they transform from their ordinary self into someone heroic.
This may sound familiar to online marketers who think about another kind of journey in attempting to reach their target audiences. The customer journey is defined as the “complete sum of experiences that customers go through when interacting with your company and brand” (Source: SurveyMonkey). It includes every interaction on each device as distinct touchpoints. Somewhere along the way, retailers hope a potential buyer converts into a committed one.
In the original trilogy of Star Wars films, we watch Luke Skywalker transform from simple farm boy to Jedi Knight. It’s a long, winding road with no shortage of touchpoints of its own. Exiled Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi serves as Luke’s first mentor in gaining greater knowledge of the Force and starting on his heroic path. Growing up on a moisture farm on the barren desert planet of Tatooine, Luke is already quite receptive to Obi-Wan’s message. When going to Tosche Station to pick up power converters is the most fun you can typically have, a life of adventure seems mighty appealing.
Understanding your audience and adopting their unique perspective is essential for marketers. What are their everyday pain points? Which of their aspirations can you appeal to? What opportunities can you utilize to convince a prospective customer to convert? Obi-Wan makes a strong move by inviting the aimless Luke to join him on a mission to deliver the stolen Death Star plans to the Rebel Alliance, but young Skywalker isn’t immediately convinced.
Life on the farm is dull, but it’s predictable (and relatively safe as long as you avoid roving bands of Tusken Raiders). Going with Obi-Wan would provide an escape and a chance to stick it to the hated Empire… as well as mortal peril.
“It’s all such a long way from here,” Luke sighs.
Kenobi wisely doesn’t force the issue at that moment. “You must do what you feel is right, of course,” he merely offers.
Circumstances change suddenly, and tragically, when Luke returns home to find his aunt and uncle murdered by Imperial Stormtroopers searching for the plans carried by runaway droids R2-D2 and C-3PO. Rather than use this as an opportunity to renew his pitch to the boy, Obi-Wan consoles him. Luke would have suffered the same fate had he been there.
Unprompted, Skywalker pivots back to Obi-Wan’s proposal with newfound resolve, declaring, “I want to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi like my father.”
Not only is this a major turning point in Luke’s personal quest, but it’s also a significant conversion moment that any marketer would appreciate.
Aside from advancing the film’s plot, Obi-Wan’s marketing tactics demonstrate the core principles of the customer journey. He targets the aspects of Luke’s character and personal history most open to the Jedi way. He knows when to push and when to back off in each individual moment.
By seeing through potential customers’ eyes across touchpoints, retailers stand a much better chance of turning them into converted buyers. This could mean reaching out with introductory information about your product on mobile, then retargeting later on desktop with additional details when the consumer is more prepared to make a purchase. Just as a smuggler like Han Solo scopes out the most efficient hyperspace routes, brands must smooth their audience’s path with a superior customer experience.
Designing and implementing an effective search marketing strategy can feel a lot like trying to launch a proton torpedo into the Death Star’s thermal exhaust port, but don’t lose hope!
Check out our other helpful blog posts to gain a competitive advantage, and look for our next post on holiday shopping behavior. You just might save the galaxy.
P.S. We would tell you to enjoy Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but we know you’re going to do that anyway. *waves hand in Jedi mind trick fashion*