Startup Tuesday: What Shark Week Can Teach Entrepreneurs

Posted by on August 6, 2013 in Marketing, Startups [ 0 Comments ]

What Shark Week Can Teach Entrepreneurs

Shark Week, one of the most highly anticipated weeks in television, has begun! Discovery Channel’s Shark Week features real-life accounts of shark attacks, tips on how to survive, and provides entrepreneurs and startups tips on how they can make their businesses successful. Surviving in the ocean is a lot like surviving in business – a person needs to be persistent and able to keep their head afloat, even as waves come crashing down. Entrepreneurs can learn a lot from Shark Week and the Discovery Channel about keeping their new business afloat and marketing it successfully, even in a down economy.

Related: 3 Steps to Scaling Your Startup Successfully

Expand Your Audience with Specials

You may have a solid understanding of who your current customers are, or who you want your customers to be. However, if you want your business to scale, you can’t be afraid to be a fish out of water – at least for a short period of time. Big event specials like Shark Week will attract a very different audience for Discovery Channel than those who watch its many series on a day-to-day basis. Take a cue from the channel here and think about how specials, whether it’s a new webinar or weeklong deal can help your business reach and

connect with an audience different from the norm.

Don’t Be Afraid to Test a New Approach

Considering re-branding your business or startup? Discovery is modifying its on-screen logo by dropping the word “Discovery.” Instead, they’ll be using a globe alongside the letter “D.” The image of the globe will vary depending on the programming, incorporating elements of nature when appropriate. If you want to test a new branding approach, a special event could be the place to roll out your idea. If it’s successful, you can keep the new look around. If it’s not, you can always end the trial when your special does. Whatever it is you do, you can’t be afraid to step outside your normal efforts.

Related: Outsource your marketing to an agency!

Promote Early and Often

Don’t expect to promote your business, product or idea a month in advance of launch and gain a lot of traction. Even Discovery, a major network with an annual special event, promotes their “product” early and often. Discovery kicked off its Shark Week marketing campaign early this year in June, airing its “Snuffy the Seal” video during “Nik Wallenda’s Skywire Live.” The video features Snuffy being released into the water in front of a crowd, only to be attacked by a shark. That’s two months ahead of the premiere for a highly anticipated event. Your relatively unknown business and product might need more time than that to get the conversation started.

Get Creative with Campaigns

The right partnerships and the right online events can get a better buzz going about your business. Discovery partnered with Coldstone Creamery, Toms Shoes and Volkswagen. Toms will produce limited-edition Shark Week-inspired shoes and Volkswagen’s returning as the presenting sponsor of Shark Week for a second time. Especially if you have a smaller business or a startup, get creative with companies your partner with. Coldstone and Toms Shoes may not seem like a match for Shark Week, but by getting creative, businesses can find great partner opportunities.

Discovery held a Google+ hangout on the first night of Shark Week and will show related Tweets onscreen as the week goes by. Consider the impact and possible influence of social media. How can you reach your target audience and engage with them via these networks?

Related: How to Handle Your First Startup Failure

Shark Week is one event that many turn into. The excitement and the insight are just two reasons why. Your business can learn a lot from the week on how to market effectively, establish successful partnerships, and get audiences of all kinds interested in your business and product. Specials, creative campaigns and solid promotion are how you can get started.

(Image: criminalatt via freedigitalphotos.net)


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