(Warning: potentially offensive language within)
“Two hoops, full court, ten-second shot clock. Miss a shot, you get shot. Shot clock buzzer goes off before you shoot, you get shot. Two points for a basket, no three-point bullshit. All you gotta do is get ten points. That’s it.”
–Cuervo Jones, Escape from L.A.
As the main villain in Escape from L.A., Cuervo Jones faces off against Kurt Russell in the awesome sequel to Escape from New York. Despite being the bad guy, Cuervo has some good marketing tips in the above monologue, which he gives to Snake Plissken right before the infamous basketball game.
“Two hoops, full court, ten-second shot clock. Two points for a basket.”
– Set yourself some boundaries.
Imagine how boring the game would’ve been if Cuervo had told Snake, “Hey, man, do whatever you want.” Everybody would’ve left the arena to go look for something more fun. Without boundaries, there’s no tension. There’s no focus. It just falls apart.
Likewise, your marketing must have boundaries in order to work well. Identify your target audience (hint: it’s not “everyone”). Define your niche. Write out your USP. Create your ideal customer. When you know exactly who buys your stuff, then it makes it much easier to focus your marketing.
“Miss a shot, you get shot. Shot clock buzzer goes off before you shoot, you get shot.”
– Keep your deadlines.
In school, a missed deadline costs you a grade. In real life, it can cost you customers.
Whether you realize it or not, you have deadlines in marketing. And once you’ve established them, you have to be consistent. With your blog, with your newsletter, with your press releases, you have to meet those deadlines. Consistency establishes you as somebody dependable, and is as vital for building readership and loyalty as good content.
“No three-point bullshit.”
– Steer clear of industry jargon and unnecessarily big words.
In marketing, you’re trying to communicate an idea, and that requires clarity in your content. If your front page copy is sprinkled with technobabble that would make the Star Trek writers proud, then you probably need to tone it down.
Likewise, don’t use big words that just show off your vocabulary when you’re writing copy. One of the most important rules of marketing copy is this: Keep it simple.
“All you gotta do is get 10 points.”
– Keep your goals in perspective.
Too often, your marketing to-do list can feel overwhelming, and you have to wonder if you’re even getting anything done. You may have a goal of 10,000 new visitors by the end of the month, but without tracking your site traffic, how will you know when you get there?
Use analytics software, like Google Analytics, to track the effectiveness of your marketing. That way, when you’re thinking, “All I gotta do is get 12 conversions on this ad campaign,” you’ll actually know how close you are to getting there.
“By the way, nobody’s ever walked off that court alive. Nobody.”
– Don’t get intimidated.
Yes, intimidation is exactly what Cuervo is aiming for with that last line. He’s trying to throw Snake off his game. He has the entire crowd screaming for Snake’s blood.
What does Snake do? He makes all five shots, including the final full-court one.* Now, the entire stadium is cheering for Snake. He’s won the crowd over, and Cuervo ain’t happy about it.
Moral of the story? We’re in a recession, but you can make it. When your inner Cuervo tries to tell you that nobody’s ever walked off that court alive, summon your inner Snake and prove him wrong.
*Yeah, those shots? All made by Kurt Russell, no camera trickery involved. Yes, even the full-court one. You just don’t see that kind of awesomeness anymore.