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Marketing Lessons Learned from Game of Thrones [Infographic]

Map of Game of Thrones - Marketing



The shrewd marketer can find real-world applications in all kinds of content, including HBO’s record-smashing hit show Game of Thrones. Is this post just an excuse to rewatch the first seven seasons and the season eight premiere and call it research? Maybe — but you might be surprised by the nuggets of digital marketing truth you can find amidst the dragons, undead armies and gratuitous nudity and violence. Warning: possible spoilers ahead.  


“You know nothing, Jon Snow.” — Ygritte

It’s good to be periodically reminded just how much you still don’t know about digital marketing. If you get too comfortable and don’t make a conscious effort to continue your education, your knowledge base will quickly become irrelevant. Always be open to the possibility that you might be wrong, that there might be a better way to do things, and that other viewpoints can have merit. Attending a conference or learning a new skill can breathe new life into a stagnant career that’s bled out in the snow.




“The night is dark and full of terrors.” — Melisandre

Not to be a downer, but this line of work is not for the faint of heart. It’s high-stakes and fast-paced, and many a career has gone up in smoke — so to speak — for lack of guidance and training. If the Lord of Light has called you into digital marketing, find a mentor with vision who can read the flames and point you on your way so you don’t burn out.  




“I’m not going to stop the wheel. I’m going to break the wheel.” — Daenerys Targaryen

This brand’s on top, then that one’s on top, and on and on it spins. Instead of becoming a watered-down imitation of whatever happens to be hot at the moment, break the cycle and be something completely new. As Daario Naharis reminded Daenerys, “You’re not the Mother of Unsullied. You’re the Mother of Dragons.” Focus on the thing that makes your brand unique and you will find your following. It is known.




“Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder.” — Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish

Don’t be afraid of change; use it to your advantage. When dynamics inevitably shift, marketers who are quick-thinking, level-headed and adaptable come out on top. Knowledge is power, so make it your business to be fluent in industries other than your own and to know something about what’s going on in the world. With some luck and cunning, even a man of humble beginnings can rise to prominence.  




“The lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.” — Sansa Stark

No one can be an expert in everything. With skilled colleagues around you, however, you stand a good chance of collectively getting the job done. Your fellow marketers are a valuable resource — don’t be afraid to tap them when you need help. By the same token, be generous with your own time and expertise. Befriending someone toothy and strong could save your hide, as long as the CGI budget doesn’t run out first.




“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.” — Cersei Lannister

It would be nice if all it took to succeed in digital marketing was passion, a good work ethic or a product you can believe in, but that’s not realistic. Look how well Ned Stark’s sincerity and good intentions turned out for him. Winning the digital marketing game takes serious strategy based on actual data. Without a well-planned strategy, you will lose time, money and possibly your head.




“Winter is coming.”

Have you found a nice rhythm? Are you comfortable with the platforms and strategies you currently use, maybe putting all your eggs in one keyword-stuffing basket? Oh, sweet summer child — you are in for a harsh surprise when the long night comes. Change is the only constant in this profession. Expect that what works for you now may not always work. Stay flexible and have a backup plan — or two, or three.





Collin Quick
Collin Quick
Collin Quick is a strategist and account manager at Belo + Company. He has 10-plus years of digital marketing experience and has worked on both the client and agency side.