by Edson Senna
With a third season under its belt, Downton Abbey continues to provide both entertainment and a glimpse into an era long past. Even so, this brilliant piece of televised historical fiction can teach us much more than just the fashion trends and social mores of 1918. In fact, there are quite a few gems we can glean from Downton regarding modern-day marketing strategies.
I know, I know—it sounds like a stretch. And it probably is. But I think we all want an excuse to apply Downton Abbey to our real lives. In other words: you’re welcome.
1. Embrace New Technology
As at the turn of the century, the world is changing. With the internet boom and the wave of mobile technology and social media, it can be difficult for anyone—let alone businesses—to keep up. However, as we learn from Downton Abbey, not all technology is bad: it is simply new and sometimes misunderstood.
For marketers, this poses two challenges. One: there are dozens of new apps, media platforms, and devices to choose from and master. Two: If you don’t understand it, you can’t use it to your greatest advantage.
When electricity was first introduced to Downton, some struggled to make the leap. (Cue Lady Grantham: “I couldn’t have electricity in the house, I wouldn’t sleep a wink. All those vapors floating about.”). However, despite these misconceptions and fears, the estate eventually came to embrace the change and take advantage of the numerous benefits of electric lighting.
Similarly, marketers must embrace new technology, rather than avoiding it out of fear or prejudice. Things like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and blogging are continually evolving. But these tools are powerful and can mean the difference between success and failure in your business and overall marketing campaign.
In other words, though you may feel like the Dowager Countess when she decried further change with, “First electricity, now telephones. Sometimes I feel as I were living an H.G. Wells novel,” embracing these new tools will put you at an advantage and give you greater scope in your marketing campaigns. So, learn them. Choose the best ones for your purposes. And take advantage of all those tools have to offer.
2. Adapt to Changes
Similar to embracing technology, it is likewise important to adapt to changes. As businesses grow and develop, they often evolve into something new and different. This is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it is only natural.
However, it does mean that your marketing strategies may need a facelift. Even if something worked for you before, it doesn’t mean it will work for you going into the future. With times changing (including the market itself), you must be prepared to adapt to it.
Lord Grantham spent years running Downton. But after a poor investment in the railroads, he came very close to losing the entire estate. Though he was reluctant at first to go along with Matthew’s new management ideas, he eventually came to see the wisdom in changing with the times to preserve the home he loved so much.
This is the same attitude you must adopt in business. While you should always rely on your foundational values, it is also important to be flexible in the way you carry out your vision. With all of the changes life brings, adaptation is the surest way to keep your business afloat. As in the words of the venerable Lord Grantham, “Give it a go and see what the future brings.”
3. Write Quality Content
Matthew: Edith has had an opportunity to write a newspaper column.
Violet: When may she expect an offer to appear on the London stage?
Though it’s unlikely you have to worry about scandalizing your family by writing regular articles, you can expect to make a stir among your audience if you do it right. What do I mean by this? In short, that providing high quality content on your blog or website is one of the best ways to market your business and reach a broader audience.
When Edith found she had something to say, instead of keeping it to herself she went out and wrote about it. And because her articles were original, well-written, and interesting, she found an audience. Like Edith, look for ways to get your voice out there. Guest blog on popular sites that are related to your business. Create a blog for your own website where you can post regularly.
Just keep in mind that the most effective content marketing campaigns rely on interesting content that provides value to their audience. Avoid simply writing spammy posts that are just shameless plugs for your company name. Instead, write about topics that relate to your business while giving your audience something of value. This can be in the form of information, news, tips, and helpful how-tos.
The more good content you have out there, the more people you will attract. And that’s good for business.
See? That wasn’t all such a stretch, now was it? Whether you are just starting out as an entrepreneur or are a veteran businessman or woman, these three tips will help you navigate the ever-changing waters of marketing. And like Downton Abbey, as you embrace technology, adapt to changes, and give value to those you serve, you can rest easy knowing you will be around for a long time to come.
Edson Senna is a business student. He enjoys applying what he has learned by writing about investing, finance, and entrepreneurship, and finds inspiration from other successful businessman like Richard E. Schaden.