Mad Men, AMC’s cult favorite about the ambitious women and men of New York’s Madison Avenue advertising scene in the 1960’s, will be coming to an end in just a few short weeks. As I wipe my tears away thinking about Sunday nights no longer filled with the creative minds at Sterling Cooper & Partners, I realized that while the show may be over, many of its marketing principles are still relevant today. Here are a few marketing lessons I’ve learned over the years from Mad Men, and how they still apply to marketing today.
When in doubt, go for the heartstrings
In the words of Don Draper, ”Nostalgia-it’s delicate, but potent.” The one thing all my favorite Mad Men ad campaigns have in common is their use of nostalgia marketing. For example in Don’s epic Carousel pitch to Kodak, he humanizes the slideshow projector through the concept of nostalgia. Instead of selling the product, he sells the emotional experience associated with going through old photos. He further explains the projector is really a device that allows people to go back in time and relive those happy moments captured on film.
This concept of nostalgia in marketing is still very effective today. Research has shown content that evokes positive emotions such as; happiness, joy or nostalgia is more likely to be engaged with by viewers than static content. In other words, don’t be afraid to tug at your audience’s heartstrings. The next time you find yourself stuck in a content rut, try humanizing the product to make it more emotionally interesting to viewers.
You can change their mind
One of my favorites pieces of advice from Mr. Draper is, “If you don’t like what is being said, then change the conversation.” I couldn’t agree with this statement more, and I believe today gaining customer insight is easier than it was back then thanks to social media. Sure, focus groups and surveys are easy ways to gain feedback from customers, but the best way to find out how customers really feel about your brand is by “listening” to them on social networks. For example, if you notice people leaving negative comments about your product on your Facebook page, be proactive and reply to their comment. Not only does this display your brand has excellent customer service skills, but it also shows customers that they are being heard and their opinions are valued.
Create content that causes confidence
Don Draper once said, “ People tell you who they are but we ignore it- because we want them to be who we want them to be.” I wrote about understanding customer’s social identities in my previous blog post. This is an essential part of any marketing strategy because these identities influence the decisions we make as consumers. When creating content it’s important the message embraces your audience’s identities and reassures their decisions.
So you see history does repeat itself! Somewhere between the copious amount of old fashioned’s being consumed and the clouds of cigarette smoke there is a deeper message to be learned while watching Mad Men. Share your favorite Mad Men marketing lessons in the comments below!