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8 Marketing Lessons You Can Learn From "Game of Thrones"

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Header image of the article: "8 Marketing Lessons You Can Learn From "Game of Thrones"". Inspiring marketing ideas taken from the favorite HBO series.

If Tyrion Lannister were your business consultant, what wisdom would he offer? How about Littlefinger? Or Sansa Stark?

Game of Thrones” has thrilled audiences with its epic battle scenes, breathtaking locations, and more than a little sex and violence.

But the core of the series’ brilliance is the shrewdness of the characters and their often-ruthless political maneuvering.

You probably don’t need more reasons to watch as the tension builds toward the grand finale, but here’s one anyway:

"Game of Thrones" contains some fantastic marketing insights that can be easily adapted to your business. 

The following eight tips are all valuable lessons that can help you seize the throne in your industry or see you through a long winter.

8 Marketing Lessons You Can Learn from "Game of Thrones"

1. Knowledge is Power

Although strength and brute force are major contributing factors to success in Westeros, the true powerbrokers in the kingdom don't rely on those alone.

The characters who live longest and rise highest are often the ones who listen to whispers and receive lots of ravens. 

They are crafty and intelligent. 

And they understand that nobody can secure the throne on their own, so they build alliances and relationships

Similarly, you should make it your business to know what your customers, employees, suppliers, and competitors are thinking. 

Tap into the “little birds” of Twitter and social media.

  • Cultivate relationships with people who will tell you the truth.
  • Understand your industry.
  • Join professional organizations and scope out the competition at trade shows.
  • Be quick to copy any innovations that look promising.

2. Always Plan for the Worst

You're on top of the world with your business and your marketing campaign and can't imagine things ever going sour.

But just like in “Game of Thrones”, winter is never far away. 

As a result, you need to be continuously prepared for the worst to ensure it doesn't affect you too profoundly.

Make sure you carry enough insurance and set aside contingency funds when things are going well

Always create a nest egg because you may need to draw on it when the weather – or sales climate – gets chilly.

3. Chaos is a Ladder: Be Ready to Climb It

The world of “Game of Thrones” is chaotically and continually changing, much like the world of business.

Like the most successful rulers in Westeros, you need to use chaos to climb to the top of the ladder and increase your chances of real business success in your field.

For example, if new laws suddenly make regulations stricter on your businesses, embrace these changes wholeheartedly and adapt to them

Doing so as quickly as possible ensures you rise above the chaos and positions you as an industry leader in your field.

Feature in the article: "8 Marketing Lessons You Can Learn From "Game of Thrones"". Represents real life spanish castle that is featured in the HBO series.

4. Bounce Back From Adversity

Whatever missteps you’ve made or PR disasters you’ve faced, they can’t be as awful as Cersei’s “walk of shame,” when she was paraded naked through the streets and pelted with food.

Everyone in Westeros is used to adversity, failure, and struggling merely to survive.

However, in "Game of Thrones" the ones who endure the most typically grow stronger and win out, in the end, over their adversaries.

When things go wrong in your business life, dust yourself off and bounce back as quickly as you can.

Learn from your mistakes, but don’t dwell on them.

Fix what you can and focus on the future.

For example, you might miss out on a significant innovation and find a competitor suddenly cutting into your business. Don't go the way of Blockbuster and fail to adapt.

Make changes and move forward!

5. Money Wins Wars, But Always Pay Your Debts

Debt, when used properly, can help you grow your business.

Just like the Iron Bank helped the Lannisters raise armies of mercenaries to defend their kingdom, your business might need to borrow funds to be competitive and expand. But be careful not to get ahead of yourself.

In Westeros, everyone knows “a Lannister always pays his debts”. That reputation gets more than one golden-haired protagonist out of a bind.

To keep your business credit good and ensure that you’ll always be able to access capital if you need it, be diligent about paying your bills and pay special attention to your taxes. 

A failure to properly pay or prepare your taxes is a “minor detail” that is easy to ignore but can affect your big picture in a variety of devastating ways.

6. Don’t Neglect Recreation or Hospitality

From Braavos and Meereen to Dorne and King’s Landing, residents on both sides of the Narrow Sea seem to have a pretty good grasp on the “work hard, play hard” ideal.  And there’s a valuable lesson there:

Everyone needs some downtime (although ideally not in brothels). 

Use your vacation days to recharge and keep your creativity alive. Go to new places. And while you’re at it, invite new people to your kingdom.

In “Game of Thrones” hospitality is sacred.

Consider killing two birds with one stone by buying a vacation rental property that you can enjoy when you want, and rent out the rest of the year.

You get an extra stream of income and a place to escape to.

7. Cut Your Losses With Brutal Efficiency

Sometimes you have to kill your darlings. George R.R. Martin, who authored the books, certainly dispatched many beloved characters to advance the story.

In season 7 of the HBO series, Jamie Lannister sacrificed Casterly Rock and a few thousand soldiers in order to plunder Highgarden and murder Olenna Tyrell.

We’re not endorsing burning children at the stake (looking at you, Stannis), but if you have a project or marketing campaign that isn’t producing results, cut your losses and move on, even if this means making some pretty significant changes in your business.

It might mean letting go of an employee who isn’t pulling his weight or dropping a product line that isn’t performing.

You may find that living and doing business in a particularly expensive city – such as New York or Chicago – isn't doing any favors for your bottom line.

Your location is your kingdom, pick the right place, embrace its unique character, and establish your rule. 

Sometimes moving even a short distance to a less-expensive location like Philadelphia can help you cut your cost of doing business and be more competitive.

8. Use Your Dragons When Necessary

Dragons are powerful creatures used sparingly as weapons in Westeros. Like the rulers of this fantastic kingdom, you need to know when to implement your business dragons and how to focus them on your success.

Excessive dragon use might not be wise but knowing when to let them run wild can help improve your chances of business success almost exponentially.

Remember: all businesses have a secret weapon that they can tap into for their success.

For example, you might have excellent customer service that is highly praised by all who visit you. Or maybe you utilize unique YouTube videos that intrigue potential customers.

Whatever your dragon type, don't be afraid to unleash it when the time is right for you to succeed.

Winter is Coming: Are You Prepared?

As you can see, these inspiring marketing lessons from "Game of Thrones" provide you with the kind of upper hand that you need to succeed in your chosen field.

Just as importantly, they provide you with the adaptability you need to survive winter and sow your fields of success for future generations of business warriors.

 So get out there and show the business world what you've got!

You surely must have fans of "Game of Thrones" in your social connections! 
Share with them these marketing lessons and inspire them to...

Laura Gayle is a full-time blogger who has ghostwritten more than 350 articles for major software companies, tech startups, and online retailers. Founder of www.BusinessWomanGuide.org, she created her site to be a trusted resource for women trying to start or grow businesses on their own terms. 

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