Any hardcore Game of Thrones fan can attest to these few overarching themes that appear in both the novels and TV series: change and adaptability; royalty and power; duty and sacrifice; honor and respect; and freedom and opportunity. But can these themes possibly relate to those of something so seemingly dissimilar as inbound marketing? Hold on to your cloaks, folks—because yes, you’ll be surprised at how much they certainly can relate.
1. CHANGE & ADAPTABILITY
If there’s one thing that’s for certain about these popular George R.R. Martin books and the TV show, it’s that no one should ever get too attached to anyone or anything. Change is inevitable (and sometimes brutal), so it’s best to know how to adapt and move on. This is similar to marketing in that Google is constantly updating its algorithms, social media platforms are continuously changing their formats and capabilities, cold calls and other traditional marketing aren’t as effective as they once were—it’s best to just be prepared for change and learn how to survive its inevitable arrival. One thing that’s different about inbound marketing, however, is that the idea of organically attracting visitors via quality content they actually want to consume won’t be changing anytime soon. With inbound, it’s the traditional marketers that are stuck in old-fashioned ways that will need to do most of the adapting.
2. ROYALTY & POWER
In Game of Thrones, there can only be one king of the Iron Throne at a time. Similarly, in marketing, there can only be one king of the “Inbound” Throne—and that king is content. Of course, by now we’re all probably very familiar with the popular phrase “content is king,” but it couldn’t be more applicable to inbound marketing. Content is king because it’s just so powerful. It has a huge influence on everyone it encounters, and it can make a great impact (good or bad) on visitors to your site. And if content is king, context is queen!
3. DUTY & SACRIFICE
When it comes to duty, the characters of Game of Thrones eat, sleep and breathe it—not necessarily because they want to, but because it’s honorable and the best thing to do for themselves or for others they care about. Even the highborns have to fulfill their duties by playing out the roles assigned to them by family and fate. Inbound marketing’s duty is similar to this in that it was created to serve others—sort of like Brienne’s character who selflessly serves the Starks because she believes them to be a family who is good and just. In terms of sacrifice, inbound marketing is also similar in that it allows you as a business to target the most qualified leads possible and let go of (or sacrifice) those who probably aren’t.
4. HONOR & RESPECT
Toward the beginning of the series, Jaime Lannister of the Kingsguard says, “Give me honorable enemies rather than ambitious ones, and I’ll sleep more easily by night.” For characters like Ned Stark and his family, being honorable earns you the trust and loyalty of others you’ve done right by—honorability equals respect. Sure, we all know that it didn’t end so well for the family after the Red Wedding and even before that when Ned was sentenced to a public beheading. But, in the fourth episode of season one, Catelyn Stark calls upon her father’s bannermen to seize Tyrion Lannister for conspiring to murder her 10-year-old son. The result? Immediate loyalty. Each of the men raised their swords to seize Tyrion without hesitation because they honor and respect the Tully and Stark families. In the same way that Catelyn was able to round up loyal followers without a moment’s hesitation, inbound marketing offers a way for you to do the same for your business. It’s an opportunity to position yourself as a trustworthy authority in your industry, ultimately giving your visitors a reason to believe that you are a credible source that should be honored and respected.
5. FREEDOM & OPPORTUNITY
Let’s compare traditional marketing to the Unsullied—the eunuch slaves of Astapor, and inbound marketing to Daenerys Targaryen—a brave young woman who buys these slaves in order to convince them to kill off their slavers and then be set free. OK, this might be an extreme example. We know that traditional marketing isn’t out to kill anyone—in fact, it can sometimes be very effective (i.e. print, TV, radio and banner ads). But the idea here is that traditional marketing generally holds you back in terms of communicating to new potential leads in a way that attracts them to you, not the other way around. They have the freedom to seek you out at a time and place that’s most convenient for them.
Just as the famous GoT saying goes: winter is coming—and so is inbound. In fact, it’s already here, so get prepared!
For more information about inbound marketing and how it can help grow your business, schedule a consultation.
Hearing about growth-driven design for the first time? Learn more about the three pillars of GDD and how this methodology can help you solve your greatest marketing challenges.