What Marketers Can Learn From Avatar The Movie

**Warning If you have not seen Avatar the movie yet this post will spoil some of it for you. My basic review is its well worth seeing although its very predictable. You have been warned. **

Last weekend I went to see the movie Avatar with my wife. The special effects and CGI are well worth the money but the story is amazingly predictable. So predictable I swore I knew the story from another movie…

Lets look at the basic plot of the movie…

Person poses as a friend to get to know the enemy.
Person is greeted as hostile at first by the enemy.
Person gets to know the enemy and they teach him their ways.
Person falls in love with enemy leaders daughter.
Person original clan attacks enemy.
Person joins and fights on the enemy side.
Person becomes the hero to the enemy.

It hit me on the way home from the movie theater. Its the same story as the 1990 smash hit Dances With Wolves (yea I know most of you are too young).

In that movie (for those of you under 30) – Kevin Costner gets in good with some Indians… they teach him their ways, he falls in love with the chiefs daughter, the us army attacks the Indians, he fights with the Indians, saves the Indians in the end.

There are also plenty of other movies out there with the same story or version of the story… like Troy or Donnie Brasco for instance.

So what does this mean? Well, in short- there really is no new stories, instead there are just creative alterations of the originals.

In the literary world Christopher Booker argues that there are only really 7 original story plots and everything else is just alteration of those. The 7 different plots he says are:

  • Overcoming the Monster
  • Rags to Riches
  • The Quest
  • Voyage and Return The hero or heroine
  • Comedy
  • Tragedy
  • Rebirth

Pretty interesting.

So what can we learn from this?

Well, no matter what you are doing, you can learn from this.

Just like with movies and books their are no new methods/ideas . Just alterations of what has worked for ever.

Was Google the first search engine?

Did eBay invent internet auctions?

Did Microsoft invent the operating system?

Did Nintendo invent the gaming console?

None of these companies were the first to market in their arena… they were just the ones who perfected their version of the story.

Seth Godin teaches us in All Marketers are Liars (now with an all new cover!) that people buy products not because of the actual product itself, but because of the stories associated with that product and specifically the stories we tell ourselves about that product. In the book Seth gives countless examples about products like the crockpot which were tried with many companies before one company told the right story.

In our case the best example of this is AuctionAds. On March 7th, 2007 we launched a advertising network built around the eBay affiliate system. But there were over 7 other companies doing the same thing… Well we had a great story.

  • Our publishers made a lot of money because we paid out 100% of the earnings to them.
  • We had net 0 payment terms meaning when the month ended you got paid for that month on the 1st of the month.
  • We had a great easy interface that got people up in running in minutes.
  • Amazing affiliate system built in.
  • Incentivizing publishers
  • Awesome cashing system developed by ddn
  • Many other things

AuctionAds was a pretty big game changer in the world of display advertising networks. Not really for the actual product but the methods on how we grew the company and ended up selling it in only 4 short months. It was a great story.

I think the biggest thing we did that made us succeed where so many others were failing is that we were willing to do what others wern’t or what they simply couldn’t.

A lot of times being the newbie startup has HUGE advantages because you can do things that others can’t (see Gmail starting with 1GB account while Yahoo and Hotmail had 15mb limits).

We are planning to change the entire “how to make money online” industry ShoeMoney System launching early q1 of 2010. In the ShoeMoney system we:

  • Walk complete newbies through every process of making money on the internet.
  • Have over $2500 in coupon codes from every major advertising network.
  • Will be at a very low pricepoint so people are not investing thousands just to find out its not for them.
  • Will WAY over deliver with hundreds of hours of content.
  • Teach from our many years in building successful companies

I don’t think the cess pool known as “how to make money online” is ready for something like we are going to offer and I believe our system will change that industry forever.

Whether you are launching a new company or are just an affiliate marketer ask yourself what *new* value are you bringing to the table? What are you doing that others are not ? What are you doing that others can not? What story are you telling?