5 Lessons Marketers Can Learn From Zoolander

Paramount Pictures’ Zoolander 2 debuts February 12. And although modeling and marketing may seem like disparate industries, they have enough in common that marketers can take a few pointers from Ben Stiller’s fictitious character, Derek Zoolander. So, in honor of the movie’s release, here are five lessons marketers can learn from the original Zoolander movie.   

1. Understand that there’s more to marketing than campaigns being really, really, really ridiculously good looking.

Marketing creative is important. But as Derek Zoolander knows, there’s more to life than being “really, really, really ridiculously good looking.” Instead of fixating on a landing page’s font size or stressing over the right image to include in an email blast, marketers should focus on the data and how they can use it to generate creative that resonates with the right audiences and addresses their needs. Marketers also need to use analytics to measure whether their picture-perfect efforts are paying off. After all, as data from creative services provider Visually shows, only 26% of marketers surveyed consider the work that they receive from their creative teams effective.

2. Know what buzzwords really mean—and which ones to eliminate.

From FOLO to visual search, there are countless marketing buzzwords. If marketers aren’t careful, they can use these terms incorrectly, causing confusion and miscommunication among their colleagues and customers–much like Derek’s eugoogalizer moment.

Marketers must clearly articulate their goals and strategies. Instead of inserting hip new lingo into their conversations, marketers should focus on establishing clear definitions across the organization, such as ensuring that marketing and sales have shared definitions of such terms as “qualified lead” and “conversion.” Marketers also need to make sure they’re articulating their messages and calls-to-action clearly to the consumer. They should omit any extra verbiage.

3. Stay informed on evolving technology.

Now, more than ever, marketers have to up their tech savvy. In fact, digital marketing and technology staffing solution provider Mondo expects 50% of marketing hires to have a technological background this year.
Marketers shouldn’t leave it up to IT to solve all of their marketing automation and software woes. Being knowledgeable about tech solutions can help marketers get their campaigns out the door faster and experiment more—plus, they can avoid coming off like Hansel. 

4. Don’t always worry about what’s “so hot right now.” 

Source: Tumblr via GIPHY

Just as how Derek felt threatened by Hansel being “so hot right now,” marketers can feel intimated by their competitors’ success or new trends emerging in the marketplace. But not every competitor move needs to be topped and not every trend needs to be embraced. Marketers should stay true to their brand. Failing to do so can make a brand seem fake and cause confusion among its customers in terms of what the brand stands for. 

Having a clear understanding of their brand’s mission statement, values, and goals is table stakes for marketers. And if they’re ever wondering whether they should latch on to a fad, marketers should ask themselves if doing so would help progress them in one of these key areas.

5. Embrace innovation.

At the same time, marketers can’t be afraid to innovate. Doing so allows marketers to set a new bar for the industry and draw attention from its audiences—similarly to how Derek was able to grab the attention of the fashion industry with his latest signature look, Magnum.

But innovation doesn’t happen overnight. Experimentation and optimization are critical in marketing, and marketers must be willing to do both if they want to win customers and stay ahead of the competition. After all, it took Derek multiple interations—from Le Tigre to Blue Steel—before he could nail down the look.

Source: SheKnows.Com via GIPHY

Top photo source: Flickr; Photo by Scott R shared under CC 2.0

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