Contributed Column

Marketing 101

Christine Miller

What Jurassic Park taught me about sales and marketing

There’s been a lot of hype regarding the movie Jurassic Park 4, scheduled to open in June. In 1993, the first Jurassic Park packed theaters and broke sales records. Most people left the movie in awe of the special effects and unique story line. I recently re-watched the movie and was reminded of what resonated most with me — what I was in awe of — the first time I saw the film: It was the clear and impactful sales and marketing message.

Yes, I walked away from Jurassic Park with a lesson in sales and marketing. More specifically, I learned from the velociraptors, commonly known as raptors.

Remember the raptors? They hunted in packs and were contained behind an electrified fence. Not wanting to stay penned in, every day they systematically tested the system for weaknesses. They also remembered where they attacked and would never attack the same place twice. I watched that scene and thought, That’s how remarkable sales and marketing people work.

Tenacity and strategy

Think about it. How many times do marketers approach a client with the same offer, same pitch, only to be told no, over and over again? The velociraptors didn’t test the same place twice, and they didn’t give up. They continually looked for a weakness in the electrical system. A weakness in the fence was an opportunity for the raptors to escape the pen and get into the park. 

In marketing we look for growth opportunities, a way “in” to reach our customers. The raptors were tenacious and had a thoughtful strategy. Do you? Train yourself to think before you get burned, and don’t continue to make the same mistake. Remember how you failed and re-approach with a new angle. Learn from your mistakes. Be tenacious. Think.

Teamwork and a creative offense

In Jurassic Park the raptors were the last of the predators to endure. Every other dinosaur in the film could be avoided or defeated. The raptors attacked with preparation that was different from that of the others. They worked as a team and approached from the side instead of head-on. They had a plan that was rehearsed and executed precisely. In Jurassic Park, the weak did not survive. The same can be said for many business segments. Is your sales and marketing team built to endure? Are they easily defeated?

Be mindful of your sales and marketing method, and be known for a unique and creative style. The raptors knew they would be expected from the front and unexpected from the side. Anticipate the barriers in your path, and tackle them in a surprising way. Know the obstacles and objections you will face, and be prepared to overcome them before they are used as a defense. Break out of the pen and be different. Be the last to survive.

Marketing and salespeople as vicious dinosaurs?

Now, I’m not saying that marketing and salespeople are like small vicious dinosaurs (although I have encountered a few), but rather that we could learn from the strategy displayed in the film. According to the 2015 Vermont Small Business Profile, there are 77,368 small businesses in the state. Bureau of Labor Statistics data report that 51 percent of establishments don’t survive five years or more.

How can your company evolve beyond the competition? Strategize like the raptors: Never attack the same place twice. Approach the challenge from different angles and present solutions you haven’t offered; benefits you have not explained.

In Jurassic Park, the strategy of the raptors worked, and they escaped. The strategy of the raptors can work for you, too. •

Christine Miller is president of Miller Consulting LLC, which helps small businesses identify, qualify, develop, and close targeted sales leads, and helps organizations find more value in existing relationships. She can be reached at chris@millersalesconsulting.com.

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