The Lannisters are a lovable lot. They live high above the sea in a highly defensible castle and they are the wealthiest Great House in all of Westeros.
Everybody wants to be a Lannister. But not everybody is willing to do what Lannisters are willing to do.
That’s your first lesson in marketing. Do what others are unwilling to do. That’s the only way to get ahead.
But there are more things to be learned from the most ruthless Great House in Westeros. And I’ve got plenty of Lannister chicanery to back me up.
1. Strategic Alliances
When the Lannisters joined forces with the Tyrells, they were able to hold back the invasion of the Baratheon army. And they, like the kings of old in our world, married their children to each other to strengthen their alliance.
I won’t advocate you marry your first born off to some rich marketer to foster alliances within the marketing world (unless it will make you tons of money…then maybe…) I will, however, suggest you make alliances within the marketing world in other ways.
Creating alliances with other marketers will expand your reach. You can start by finding people within your existing network who might benefit from an alliance with you.
You can offer to team-up with someone and cross-share each other’s content. Of course, this will only work if you actually have shareable content. If your content sucks, then good luck creating alliances.
If the Lannisters didn’t already have strong armies, fortresses, and money, nobody would care to ally with them. You have to already possess great content to share and proof you can boost someone else’s interests in their own Game of Thrones (this means an audience of some sort).
2. Think Like Tyrion Lannister, From a Different Perspective
I’d like to think Tyrion Lannister would appreciate a little joke like the title to this entry. But he may just prefer to have my throat slit instead.
Tyrion Lannister is the craftiest and the shortest of the Lannisters. He also thinks differently than his brothers and sisters.
Tyrion alone was able to see that facing the enemy head on would be foolish. Instead, he fortified King’s Landing while using fire to destroy the enemy fleets.
He is a man who didn’t let his size limit his imagination or his ability to drink.
Likewise, as a marketer, you should think outside the norm. You have to be crafty like Tyrion.
Be on the lookout for non-traditional marketing madness. If you are a small company and you’re outnumbered on the battlefield, this kind of thinking will keep you ahead of the competition.
What are some things connected to online marketing and yet aren’t traditionally “online?” How about text messaging?
Redbox is a prime example of a company that thought outside the box. Their Mobile Text Club is brilliant. You opt-in to their messaging services and they give you a free rental.
And then for the rest of your life (unless you opt-out), you get random promotional texts. Usually, “buy one get one free” coupons are included in the promotion.
3. A Lannister Always Pays His Debts
While their heraldry is a lion and their motto is “Hear Me Roar,” House Lannister became known by a different motto. “A Lannister always pays his debts.”
The Lannisters were known as a trustworthy brood (as long as you were on their side). They took an “if you scratch my back” sort of approach to life. And because they were so rich, that scratch usually came in the form of gold.
In the online marketing world, leads and customers will only trust you if you payout on your promises. When a lead gives you the information you seek, you owe them something for their trouble.
Go ahead and promise some sort of reward for information. Information is the best reward for information. And you can give them this information in the form of an e-book or a very useful pamphlet.
You could also reward your leads and customers with coupons. Remember the Redbox Text Club? They have some pretty loyal customers.
If you’re trustworthy, then you’ll have the most loyal customers in the kingdom.
4. There Is No Middle Ground
What Cersei said to Ned is the secret behind Lannister success in the world of Westeros. They were never lukewarm about anything they did. They were either cold or hot.
In whatever you do, do not hesitate. You are either fully committed or not.
You are either generating traffic or you’re dying. There is no middle ground.
You are either bringing leads or you’re dying. You get the idea. If you’re not willing to be highly competitive and work hard to get those leads or traffic, then you’re not fit for the game.
It’s that simple.
Of course, there are ways to make it easier on yourself. And that’s where the cunning of Tyrion Lannister comes in. Brains over brawn at times will carry you further than if you just threw money at a situation.
In fact, the Lannisters are solid proof that sometimes being rich isn’t the answer. Sometimes pure knowledge and connection are all you need to survive and stay afloat.
In fact, here’s a resource you can use to get ahead in your own Game of Thrones.
6. Create a Budget and Stick to It
The Lannisters used money to get them farther than any other house. They saw major returns on their investments.
In fact, Tywin Lannister is #12 on the Forbes “Fictional 15 List” for this very reason. He was able to loan Baratheon enough money to put on lavish events for his soon to fail Kingdom and then turn around to fund an insane war on three fronts.
But this could be the ruin of the Lannisters. They aren’t particularly sticking to any sort of budget as war in Westeros rages on.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say you shouldn’t be like Tywin Lannister. Don’t fund massive campaigns, even for your closest allies, that could put you on the brink of bankruptcy.
Instead, learn to budget for your marketing campaigns. Don’t ever go over budget. You’ll see better returns on your money if you’re not swimming in debt.
Conclusion: Be Like the Lannisters Sometimes
It’s up to you. Judge whether the Lannisters are a house to emulate or not.
Do you think the Lannisters have some admirable qualities marketers should adopt? Let me know in the comments below.