Why the Hocus Pocus Witches Would Kill It as Digital Marketers

Something wicked this way comes. Tis All Hallow’s Eve and we’re feeling the spook!

As I sit watching the 90s-style cult classic Hocus Pocus for the dozenth time (this year), I can’t help but let my marketer mind leak a bit.

The Disney flick has been a perennial Halloween favorite, scaring up a new batch of youngsters every year since 1993. Starring Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker as a trio of evil witches, the film is a kitschy gem. The witches, known as the Sanderson Sisters, turn the tacky up to 11 through the film, becoming the scary movie for a generation of kids.

The witches are evil, that’s clear, but they’re pretty clever, too. There might even be a few killer marketing ideas I can get from them. Here are five reasons they’d make killer digital marketers:

1. They always try to rejuvenate their look

In the midst of the 1693 Salem witch trials, Thackery Binx watches as his little sister, Emily Binx, wandered off into the cottage of the Sanderson Sisters. There the Sisters, Winni, Mary and Sarah cast a spell on Emily to absorb her youth in an effort to regain their own. Winni’s potion will supposedly give them eternal life, as long as they have a continual supply of children.

While there is no secret potion that’ll dish out an endless supply of killer marketing ideas, we can learn a thing or two from the sisters in revamping our look. When your marketing goes stale, so does your business. The tough reality is, at some point in our careers, the world will change. And consumers will look for an experience that’s markedly different from what the company has been offering. Your company may be the first name in pagers, but now you’re dealing in a marketplace that no longer needs them.

If you can’t craft your own secret sauce to keep up with the changing times, you’re fated to turn to dust at daylight.

2. Loyalty wins

The Sanderson Sisters are witches from 17th century Salem, Massachusetts. When they died (the first time) there were no paved roads, or cars. They didn’t have lighters, or sprinkler systems. So on the one night they were to find the children and suck out their souls, they were met with unforeseen challenges. Throughout their adventures, they stuck together to help each other through the confusing situations.

Having a close-knit community is key in digital marketing because loyal customers and brand addicts will advocate on your team. They’ll help you to navigate the changing landscape of digital marketing and offer up killer marketing ideas to expand your network.

Don’t be afraid to be loyal to your friends and colleagues in the industry that have hung by your side, and remember to show them the love as much as you can.

3. They’re not afraid of the uncomfortable

Things didn’t go well for the Sanderson sisters on Halloween night in 1693. And, while they were uncomfortable, they didn’t shy away from their fate. Instead, they created an action plan – to return when a virgin lit the black flame candle under a full moon. The conditions had to meet a predetermined set of standards, but they knew it’d be worth the wait to get it right.

Marketing, in general, is uncomfortable. We’re tasked with pushing the limits of acceptable marketing. There’s a fine line between edgy and sarcastic and downright offensive, or worse yet, boring marketing. To get our message to resonate with our audiences we have to create action plans and act strategically. Even when that means we’re waiting for a while until conditions are just right.

4. They’re not pigeonholed

The witches have a target audience. They’re after the children of Salem. Sarah Sanderson sings her bewitching chant and lures the youngsters from their beds throughout the city, but they don’t only speak to the children. They party with the adults of Salem, casting a spell to make them dance.

And their language is decidedly retargeted from the days you watched the cult classic cuddled up between your parents as a child. The generation who grew up watching it can relive the adventure every October. And we can finally understand the too-adult-themed jokes that laced the dialogue. These jokes are hidden gems that provide the unexpected, and allow the movie to grow with you.

Have a holistic focus on your target audience, but don’t neglect other demographics. Killer marketing ideas only take legs when they’re relatable and unexpected.

5. They dare to learn new things

The world has changed dramatically from the 17th century to 1993, when the movie came out. Their perspectives are dated and the tactics they used to lure children are tired and ineffective. We watch the Sisters struggle to learn the nuances of technology in today’s Salem.

Just because something has worked for you in the past, doesn’t mean that it will still work. Go to conferences and industry events (like Hubspot’s Inbound next week – we’ll see ya there!) and continue learning the latest in marketing and in technology. It’ll help you stay ahead of your competitors and come off as professional and up-to-date to your customers.

The Sanderson Sisters are kooky evil served up with a side of nostalgia and a few killer marketing ideas. So, go sit on your couch with a plastic jack-o-lanter full of candy and turn on the cheesy 90s glory!

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