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4 things your marketing team can learn from RuPaul’s Drag Race

Published 25 Mar 2021 by Ellice Eadie, CANDDi
Read this in about 5 minutes

I know what you’re thinking, CANDDi’s gone off on one again. But hear us out. If you know us, you’ll know our CEO, Tim, has developed a newfound fandom for the show.

Which got us thinking... if a self-confessed maths nerd can be turned by the glitz and glamour of Drag Race, surely that’s got to be a lesson in marketing for us all.

Think about it. Your marketing team is the ultimate representation of your company and it’s brand. So who better to learn from than the Queen of personal brand, Mama Ru?

For those of you that don’t know (where have you been?), RuPaul’s Drag Race is a reality TV show that’s become a beacon of the LGBTQ+ cultural landscape. Think America’s Next Top Model vibes with a bit of Britain’s Got Talent thrown in.

Sounds pretty niche, yet it’s a worldwide phenomenon.

How? Because it established a community, nurtured it, and never turned it’s back on what it set-out to achieve.

B2B marketing

It’s unapologetically bold and brash. Just like any good marketing campaign. So if you can get through the wigs and the cat-fights, you’ll see there’s an abundance of lessons the marketing world can take from this show.

Establish an emotional connection

All marketing is based on trust. Without it, nobody would bother engaging with your stuff. That’s why storytelling has become key to a marketing strategy, as it gives a narrative to your brand.

This of course only works if it’s authentic. Emotional connections can’t be built on falsities, you need to be able to practice what you preach.

Nobody does it better than Drag Race, a show that’s known for giving a platform to a group in society that historically, wouldn’t be given the opportunity.

That’s not to say you should start using your company’s marketing plans as a means of voicing all of your opinions (although I don’t see why not), but just drop your barriers a little bit.

Something funny happened in the office? Share it. Want to speak up about something that is considered ‘business taboo’? Document it. Even if you’ve made a mistake recently, like who hasn’t sent the classic Hey {first name} email? Own up to it.

In doing so, you’re showing yourselves as the humans that you are. Something we all need a little bit more of lately.

Loyalty, Likes and Superfans

Granted, this one is a little tricky if you’re a small brand or only just starting out in the business world.

Luckily, the likes of social media make it easier to gain audience reach and engagement without you even realising.

You don’t need thousands of LinkedIn connections or Twitter followers to develop customer loyalty. Which is ultimately the end goal of many product marketers.

Once you’ve got your customers through the door, you want to keep them there. Not only does this help your bottom line, but you’ll also be able to expand once other prospects learn you can be trusted. Winner winner.

Similarly, strong branding is judged on its ability to deliver a consistent brand experience. When your customers can rely on you for consistently seamless experiences, you’ve hit the jackpot.

But don’t get complacent. If the Queens can tell you anything, it’s that popularity is fickle. You need to remain on the right side of your customer base.

What better way to do this then getting them involved? Everyone likes feeling special, and by reaching out to your loyal customers, you’re affirming they actually mean something to your business.

You’ll also learn important insights into how you’re doing business. Ask them what they liked/ didn’t like about their buyer journey. This will prove invaluable when it comes to planning and assessing your future marketing campaigns.

One size content does NOT fit all

The trick to successful marketing is ensuring that the right content meets the right prospect on the right platform.

Part of the success of Drag Race, has been its ability to to connect with audiences through different mediums. This hasn’t always involved a major reworking of content either, it’s just tweaked here and there to best suit the platform.

For example, there’s a YouTube series hosted by series judge Michelle Visage, social media channels a behind-the-scenes deconstruction of the previous evening’s episode and Podcasts galore.

Take your pick!

Most marketers do a hefty amount of market and audience research anyway. Whether it’s finding out where their customers are hanging out online, what platforms they trust, what times of day they’re active, etc. So, why not use that research to tweak your content per customer type?

Wrote a blog post? Cool, make it into some audio. Made a how-to guide? Why not repurpose into a video. The possibilities are endless! Cross-selling and upselling opportunities We all know it, the opportunity to cross-sell and up-sell is one of businesses most lucrative revenue streams. Brand RuPaul is no exception.

Promotional merchandise is integrated throughout Drag Race using clever motifs. We all dislike the hard and fast sell, but that’s where cross-selling comes in.

Half of the time, you don’t even realise you’re privy to it. Oh so you’re using our CANDDi tracking software? Cool, want to take a look at our email plugin too? Course you do.

Marketers can do this cleverly. Drip-feeding information you know your customers need so subtly, they’ll pick up on the hints. Not to reveal all of our tricks here, but it happens.

What about when you plug the ‘pro’ version of your software plan for an extra £50 a month? Or start adding on more relevant services to their payment package? Yep, that’s upselling.

All of this comes under the guise of helping your customer get the most out of your business. Which is true, but it doesn’t help to make a little extra cash, does it?

Wrap it up

When it comes to marketing, especially in B2B industries, you’ll find every company under the sun drafting their marketing strategies around ‘a built community’.

This sounds great on paper, but what is the actual intent behind it? Does anyones actually want to join a community of accountants? No.

The truth is, there’s already a community of accountants. It’s called the bank. What they want from your company is to be nurtured. What can your company do for them? How can you solve their problems? At the end of the day, marketing is about your audience. Not your company.

So, instead of spending all of your time rallying the troops, develop a strategy that allows you to nurture, leverage and then maintain relevance with your customers.

If you don’t believe me, just take a look at what Drag Race has done for its wider community.

When you think of typical TV entertainment, the representation of the LGBTQ+ community is marginalised. Then any representation that was available lacked depth and understanding.

But now Drag Race is a global, multi-million pound empire. And even more importantly, it’s remained loyal to the fanbase it set out to represent. Rather than bending to adapt for a broader audience, the broader audience is invited to explore LGBTQ+ themes in an unfiltered way.

The moral of the story is, great things happen when you’re prepared to ditch old-fashioned demographics and try a more unconventional route to market.

Can I get an Amen?

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