22 MARKETING TIPS THE OFFICE TAUGHT US
Everyone has watched The Office (if not, what are you waiting for?). Michael Scott was the funniest boss, although considered not the most productive. With so many goof ups, and joking around all day, Michael and The Office somehow taught us 22 marketing tips which we would have not expected it to. Still think it’s not true? Read on to know what we learnt from The Office.
01. Know your audience’s persona:
- Scene from The Office: Michael takes up the persona of a prisoner *cough* Prison Mike *cough* to relate to a new employee he hired who was a prior convict.
- What it taught us: It is very important to know how your audience sees things. What are their habits, like and dislikes? What motivates them? What guides them? Even though Prison Mike doesn’t really relate to the new employee due to his zero experience in prison, it teaches us that it is very important to study the audience you are trying to target. It will guide all your marketing efforts into the right direction.
02. Create content that your Target Audience likes:
- Scene from The Office: While trying to convince his siblings to come back to the farm they own, Dwight says that Nostalgia is one of man’s weakest points (second to the neck, of course). He tries to make his siblings nostalgic to make them come back to the farm.
- What it taught us: Dwight knows his audience. He knows what drives them. Once you know what your audience wants, your content should be created based around it. Nobody wants to see content from brands they don’t care about. Don’t just do what others are doing. Personalise your content such that it’s very relatable to your audience and their emotions.
03. Know how to market yourself:
- Scene from The Office: Michael decides to sign up for online dating service. He always wanted a family and children of his own someday. Hence, while signing up, he chooses his username to be “LittleKidLover” without realising how it could be perceived as.
- What it taught us: Brand positioning is the most important aspect in marketing if you want your business to thrive. It means knowing how you want your audience to perceive you as. What do you want your potential customers to think of you? For this you should make an outline of all that you are trying to communicate and what the consumers should be focusing on. Then sit down and have a look at it from all angles, to make sure it isn’t offensive or rude or wrong in any way.
04. Think your marketing strategies through:
- Scene from The Office: Michael comes up with an idea inspired by Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. He puts five 10% discount coupons in five separate crates. However, this backfires since he accidentally inserts all 5 of them in the crates that are going to the same client, their biggest client, giving them a 50% discount on their order (Since Michael didn’t think it was important to put per customer usage restrictions). Although, it turned out to be a good move, since the clients starts dealing with them exclusively, it was just lucky shot in the dark.
- What it taught us: ALWAYS think all your marketing strategies through. Whether it is just a small contest to a full fledged campaign. It is very important to examine all the pros and cons, the risks and the benefits. There has to be a healthy balance between making the consumers happy and sustaining your business. Not thinking your ideas through from each and every angle and of all the possible outcomes, could lead to losses in your company. Take time to go through all the “what ifs” and “could haves’
05. Reward your Employees:
- Scene from The Office: Andy sets up a reward system where people can earn points from completing certain tasks and the points can be redeemed for certain gifts. Eventually he says for 5000 points he will get a tattoo that the entire office agrees on. Right after, everyone in the office starts working their hardest in order to get the “reward”.
- What it taught us: Offering to get a tattoo isn’t the most reasonable reward, but you definitely can reward something to your employees to show appreciation. A monthly employee of the month can encourage people to work harder. It makes the employees feel that every work they do matters, is recognised, and appreciated. Incentives, bonuses, awards are all small ways you could boost your employees, eventually boosting the success of your company.
06. Back up what you say with credible proofs:
- Scene from The Office: While coming up with negotiation tactics, Michael turns to Wikipedia for some solid techniques since, as per Michael, Wikipedia is the best thing ever since it gives you the best possible information.
- What it taught us: The information in Wikipedia is added form people throughout the world and can be very unreliable and misleading. Similarly, when companies are showing statistics to their consumers, their source for the information retrieved should be very solid. For example, if a company says their Ayurvedic cream helps relieve pain by 80%, then they should also provide their audiences with reliable and solid proofs like who conducted the study? Under what environment? What kind of test subjects were used? The more and sturdy your information is, the more your audiences will find you credible.
07. Be to the point in your messaging:
- Scene from The Office: When asked how Michael keeps his branch so motivated, Michael starts a sentence and continues to say random words in the hopes that he will come up with something meaningful at the end
- What it taught us: While no one would start a sentence without knowing where it is going, it is very important to let your audience know what you are trying to say without confusing them with unnecessary information. Don’t beat around the bush. Be to the point. Don’t try and elongate your message just for the sake of it. People like short and to the point content.
08. Figure what your Target Audience considers valuable:
- Scene from The Office: When Dwight becomes manager, he starts giving out ’Schrute Bucks’ which the employees will get for everything they do. The monetary equivalent of 10,000 Schrute Bucks is $1.
- What it taught us: Nobody cares about the Schrute bucks no matter how much valuable Dwight thinks it is. It is very important to know what your customers want. You could be providing the consumers an incentive they don’t care about. Research what their preferences are, what incentives would motivate them to purchase your products/services? What will get them to reach out to start a conversation rather than scoff at your efforts like Stanley?
09. Back your words with actions:
- Scene from The Office: Michael offers an entire class of third graders free scholarship for each and everyone of them. However, when it’s time for them to go to college, Michael backs out because he does not have funds to do so.
- What it taught us: Don’t make blind claims unless you are going to follow through. Decide what you can offer and only then promise that to the consumers. If you have promised a free products then give it to them the time it is due. Don’t back out last minute for whatever reason. It breaks the trust the audience has on your brands which will further affect your potential customer base.
10. Conduct competitive research:
- Scene from The Office: Michael and Dwight go to their competitor’s company, Prince papers, in order to see how they deal with their customers and employees and if they had the potential to beat Dunder Mifflin
- What it taught us: However, this isn’t the exact route to take, but knowing what your competitors are doing is very important. You should periodically check what your competitors are promoting on their marketing channels, how are they promoting their products/services, what their marketing efforts lack, what works for them, what doesn’t, how they correct their mistakes, etc. It can not only help you figure what you should and shouldn’t do but also helps you differentiate yourself from your competition.
11. Proofread your content:
- Scene from The Office: The Scranton Branch accidentally sends out crates of paper to their clients with an obscene watermark on top on all of them. All of this happens because Creed, who is supposed to be checking all the paper that goes out 4 hours every week, missed a year of it
- What it taught us: Always, always, ALWAYS, check the content you put out. Proof read all of it for the tiniest error, from spellings to T&C. Again, think of how it may affect your audience. Think of all the possibilities of it going right and wrong.
12. Adapt, React, Re-adapt, Act:
- Scene from The Office: Michael teaches Ryan about rules of business. His rule #2 is “Adapt, React, Re-Adapt, Act”. Even though this makes no sense to Ryan (probably not even to Michael), it is a very important tip
- What it taught us: Today’s market is ever evolving. Needs and demands of your audience changes every now and then. Businesses should always keep a track of what their audience wants, and stay up to date with new trends and keep adapting to them
13. Get out ahead of a PR crisis:
- Scene from The Office: When the Scranton Branch accidentally sends out crates of paper with obscene watermark, Michael immediately calls for a press conference before the news gets wild.
- What it taught us: Even though Michael’s decision wasn’t the wisest, some PR crisis management is a very good idea, if your company has gone through the a massive loss. After a crisis, always have a plan, written statements, apologies, etc.
14. Train and improve your employees:
- Scene from The Office: Kelly goes to a minority executive program to improve her skills
- What it taught us: Your employees feel more empowered after learning more. It doesn’t have to be a training program but even mentoring your employees can make them empowered, leading to a boost in their work. Your investment in your employees will help advance your business.
15. Customer reviews are important:
- Scene from The Office: Dwight talks about the importance of getting a good TripAdvisor review for his Bed & Breakfast
- What it taught us: Customer reviews are what build the trust and confidence of potential customers in your brand. Listening to your customer’s feedback is very important. They help you realise what you lack and what you’re doing good. Always try to delight your customers.
16. Use email wisely:
- Scene from The Office: Michael boasts about how he is the king of forwarding emails
- What it taught us: Don’t just keep sending your customers emails endlessly in the form of newsletters. Keep it clean. Send only emails they will actually be interested in such as seasonal offers or discounts.
17. Make it memorable:
- Scene from The Office: Michael and Dwight make a video to welcome new employees to Scranton
- What it taught us: Other than showing how good the organisation is, the video was very memorable. Similarly when putting out content for your consumers, make sure your video, images, gifs, are all memorable. This way the consumers will remember your brand and might even share your posts.
18. Be Omnichannel:
- Scene from The Office: Ryan comes up with a new app called Wuphf which sends your message to another person through all their apps like Facebook, Twitter, email, and even fax.
- What it taught us: To connect with your audience today, you have to be present and have your message go through multiple channels and devices. You need to have an omnichannel presence in order to get your audience’s attention.
19. Add a personal touch:
- Scene from The Office: In order to close an account, Michael takes one of his potential customer to Chilli’s and ‘chills’ with him the entire day and eventually gets the account
- What it taught us: You should always add a hint of personal touch to all your marketing activities. Take the time to research your audience and add it into your marketing activities to build strong consumer relations.
20. Don’t be too pushy:
- Scene from The Office: Someone tries to sell Michael insurance for his branch. However Michael starts to think he is some someone who deals with organised crime by the way the man approaches and insists him.
- What it taught us: Don’t be so pushy that you’re mistaken for someone involved in organised crime. Your marketing activities should be focused on making your consumers want your brand as opposed to forcing them to buy your products. It will only push your consumers away.
21. Keep your audience happy:
- Scene from The Office: Every scene where Michael is goofing around, pranking, making inappropriate jokes and laughing non stop, leading Scranton branch to the top because he keeps the environment very light
- What it taught us: Other than promoting your product/service, your brand should also have a content that is fun and your audience will enjoy. It will make them keep coming back to your brand’s page
22. Stay in character:
- Scene from The Office: Michael Scott always has the same character on a normal day or at a crisis
- What it taught us: Your brand, too, needs to have the same character – personality, tone of voice, communication – through all channels. Make some personal touches, tell a story, don’t just try to sell your product/service.
These were the 22 marketing tips that Michael and The Office somehow taught us. Do you have some more? Let us know in the comments below! And of course, for all marketing needs, you can always give us a call!