You watch it. You love it. And even if you’ve never seen one episode, you probably still know about it: Game of Thrones is a fascinating TV show. What you might not have imagined is that the Battle for the Seven Kingdoms also contains valuable insights for the business world. In fact, by taking to heart the many lessons to be learned everywhere from The Wall to the Red Keep, you can even improve your marketing efforts.
1. Knowledge is power: use it wisely
In the world of Game of Thrones, characters with inside information typically survive longer than those left in the dark. The same is true in business and marketing: Knowledge is power, and it can help you come out on top when other companies try to go head-to-head with you.
For example, fully understanding and embracing your audience is critical to marketing success.
This requires researching the people who use your service or who buy your products and learning more about why they turn to you. Do they appreciate your customer service? Is your product of a higher quality than your competitors? Whatever the reason, embrace it and use the information to stand out in an always-crowded field.
Knowledge of your location — your kingdom, some would say — is also crucial; finding a great site can help ensure success for your business. This might require you to think outside the box and remember that every place has its own claim to fame, whether it’s the beautiful weather in Bravos, the excitement of Kings’ Landing … or the hospitable startup climate and inexpensive rent in Omaha (the Oracle of Omaha headquartered his very own Iron Bank there for a reason, you know).
2. Winter is coming: be prepared
In Game of Thrones, winter is a dangerous time, a season that must be prepared for with skillful planning. Metaphorical winters may affect your business from time to time and cause financial difficulties. Thankfully, your strategic marketing measures can help in overcoming this problem with research, innovative thinking, and thoughtful preparation. It helps if you’re smart and properly plan your finances before the first snowflake falls.
For example, you need to have enough money saved to be able to not only pay bills but also payroll, should your business go through ups and downs throughout the year. Seasonal or tourism-based companies need to pay particular attention to these eventualities, as a literal winter can freeze their finances. Skillful marketing can help thaw the impact of a cold season by expanding your range of customers and keeping you foremost in customers’ minds.
One of the best ways to avoid a freeze is to always make a great first impression on your customers. Your business logos — your house sigils and banners — can help set a great first impression that ensures you won’t have to weather the worst for very long. And taking your clan on the road to business trade shows can help your company make new alliances before winter comes.
3. Money wins battles: always pay your debts
Money is one of the essential resources for your business success, and investing in your marketing can help you win significant battles. However, you need to make sure that, like House Lannister, you always pay your debts — no matter how much they cost — to ensure that you stay in good standing with your business partners, vendors, clients, and others.
For example, you can set up a payment system with any of your partners if you owe them an amount that you can’t afford to pay in a single lump payment. This type of debt control is critical to showing good faith, and it can help solidify goodwill even if you do run into financial problems.
Of course, one of the most important debts that you need to pay is your taxes. If you don’t make sure your taxes are in proper shape every year, you could run into some serious financial problems if the IRS comes knocking. Use high-quality tax preparation software and guides such as an online tax calculator to ensure that you win this economic battle each year.
4. Hospitality is sacred: take care of your visitors
Even in the battle-scarred world of GOT, hospitality is vital to making and preserving alliances. It is considered sacred by (nearly) every character on the show — and the same should be true for your business. If you consistently treat your customers with courtesy, respect, and hospitality, you are doing much of the hard work for your marketing team. That kind of care will rapidly build you a reputation as a customer-friendly company and help improve your business reach in a multitude of ways.
That reputation is reflected everywhere your company reaches, from your website, social media, and other online presence, to your storefronts and/or headquarters. When managing your hospitality needs, make sure that you make a comfortable space for your business partners and potential clients who might visit your offices.
Depending on the length and intensity of those visits, you might also need to find them a place to stay while they visit overnight or over weekends. Consider keeping a comfortable rental property nearby for important business partners or clients to use. This helps you make sure that they’ll appreciate working with you and be likely to come back to enjoy your thoughtful and welcoming hospitality.
5. Kill your darlings: save your house
Every season in Westeros, popular GOT characters end up dying at the hands of those who love them. This process, long known in screenwriting as “killing your darlings,” is never an easy one to handle (especially from an audience perspective). However, it’s a recognized phenomenon because sometimes it’s necessary. You may need to follow this process when running your business to ensure that you don’t overextend your resources — and, in particular, your marketing spread.
For example, surprisingly, excessive creativity can present problems for your marketing team and, in turn, your company. How is this possible? Too many creative ideas can make it harder for your team to focus and choose which fits correctly with your marketing approach. They might get bogged down investing too much energy in too many ideas, some of which don’t work.
Therefore, you need to be able to discern which of your ideas needs to be killed and which should be nurtured. This step is often a hard one. There’s a chance that what feels like a great idea to you may be a dead end that will negatively affect your market share. Listen to what your marketing team and business experts have to say about each approach and be ready to kill each one that doesn’t help you succeed.
Before winter falls on your business and leaves you fighting off the wolves (and lions and stags and dragons), talk to your marketing team and discuss these important lessons from the Iron Throne. They can help transform your marketing strategies and expand your business’ success in many ways.