Editor’s note: This post comes from our Constant Contact UK office. You can view all the posts from our UK team here. Or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Marketing inspiration comes in the most unlikely of places. One of the things that has kept the Constant Contact UK office hooked recently is the latest series of Sherlock. It’s been such a talking point in the office that it got us thinking. Can Sherlock teach us anything about marketing? The answer is a resounding yes.

 Sherlock Lesson One: Know your customer

One of the most important things that you can start doing with your marketing is to be able to deduce who your customer is.  Sherlock has an uncanny ability to be able to look at a person and, within about 5 seconds, know absolutely everything there is to know about them.

With your marketing, like most things, knowledge is power and the more that you know about your customer the better it is for you. Now you won’t need to be able to look at your customer and be able to deduce if they are a dog lover/ violin player/ megalomaniac criminal mastermind – however, it’s not too difficult to know what sort of campaigns from you they have responded to in the past. You can do this very quickly by looking at your reporting and tracking (especially if you use Constant Contact).

Why not take the time to write a customer profile for your business? Give them a name and try and answer these questions:

  • What are their interests?
  • What do they do for a living?
  • What sort of promotions do they like?
  • Do they own a cat?

OK, maybe you don’t need to know if they have a cat or not (unless you are a pet shop).

The more you know about your ideal customer the better. You can make more targeted newsletters and social posts if you know the sorts of things that your customers are interested in. As soon as you start appealing to your target customers you’re laughing.

Sherlock Lesson Two: It’s all about killer content

Sherlock Holmes and John Watson both know the value of a good story. Sherlock has an uncanny way of telling the story of how he solves a case; he brings you along for the ride and keeps you on board with every twist and turn. In Watson’s blog, he tells the story of each case from his own point of view.

You should know the value of a good story when it comes to your customers as well. There is any number of stories that you can tell your customers that will be interesting, engaging and keep them hooked. Have you ever thought about telling people the story about how or why you set your business up in the first place?

For example, did you know that three guys who started Innocent Smoothies decided to sell them at a festival? They had two bins and asked everyone who brought a smoothie if they should quit their jobs and make smoothies full time by putting their empty bottles in one of two bins, marked ‘Yes’ and ‘No’. At the end of the day the “Yes” bin was overflowing and the “No” bin was empty. This story is now part of the Innocent personality and they are one of the biggest drinks companies in the UK.

You will have your own stories from your small business. Sit down and think about some that will really show your brands personality. You can share them on your blog, in your newsletter, or on your social media feeds. As soon as you hook people in with a good story they will be listening to what you have to say.

Sherlock Lesson Three: Don’t fear the moustache (or novelty)

The final thing you can learn from Sherlock about your marketing is this. Don’t fear the moustache.

At the start of this latest series you will have noticed that John Watson had a quite remarkable moustache. And don’t pretend that you didn’t notice it, in all its fabulous and bushy glory. Believe me that there is a lesson to be learnt with this too.

Don’t be afraid to embrace the novel when it comes to your marketing.

Admittedly, the moustache didn’t work for John Watson, but he wouldn’t have known that if he didn’t test it out.

So think about what it is that you are afraid to test out with your marketing. Now I want you to go ahead and throw caution to the wind. Go out there and grow the moustache! There is no better time than the start of the year to test things out with your marketing, do something new, do something novel. It might just work out for you.

So, there you have it. The lessons that you can learn from Sherlock, know your customer, make sure you have killer content and don’t fear novelty.


photo credit: bellaphon via photopin cc