CAREER DEVELOPMENT / AUG. 25, 2014
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5 Lessons Marketers Can Learn from the Doctor Who World Tour

the doctor
BBC

According to the Hollywood Reporter the first-ever Doctor Who world tour has peaked at NYC on August 14th, after its kick off event in Wales.

But why would a show like Doctor Who setup a world tour? Haven’t they acquired plenty of fans to just lay low and begin its eighth season with a soft premiere?

For any "non-Doctor Who" fans looking in, you may quickly accuse the BBC America showrunner Steven Moffat, as overly ambitious and unnecessarily pushing this August 23rd premiere.

Yet one reality remains, Doctor Who fans are hungry for more! Moffat and other showrunners know the mindset of their fans based on the shows’ success and have delivered more than a red carpet or in this case "blue carpet" experience.

The first ever Doctor Who world tour teaches marketers at least these five lessons:



1) Help your fans respond to change

The whole notion of changing the face of "the Doctor" in the Doctor Who series, seems ridiculous at first. Fans having to adjust to a new face can present a challenge but keeping the character details intact assures the fans of a dependable hero to root for.

2) Keep your brand tangible

It’s a sensual thing! Let your fans experience all that your brand has to offer. Promote with t-shirts, podcasts, orientations, tastings etc.

Have you seen the Doctor Who section in Barnes and Noble?

The Doctor Who world tour makes the show jump out of the TV screen and even out of stores and onto the planet as its fans see, hear and smell all the ways it suddenly exists in their world.

3) Use your audience interaction to gauge your cost effective output

Doctor Who forums and trending online conversations are full of predictions, reactions and potential spoilers. The community members talk to one another, but they also invite their "outsider" friends. Constant education happens based on what output the brand has provided.

Check out forums on your brand. Read and respond to comments and emails on a recent blog, newsletter or episode. Develop cost effective ways to interact with your fans, to embed them in your brand momentarily. Be careful not to invest in changes to your brand simply because some fans are whining about specifics they don’t agree with.

4) Take a Calculated Risk to convert outsiders into new fans

Casting new faces as the heroes and villains of Doctor Who, is a calculated risk. Each actor has a track record, a following of sorts. When press coverage occurs, fans of their previous work will suddenly be interested in highly acclaimed BBC sci-fi show.

So, presenting products and services with a track record will have solid impact. Understanding your brand’s culture will help. Think about the elements in Doctor Who for a moment. Don’t they carry a sense of capturing time, antiques, kind of like the artistic hobby of Steampunk? Suddenly any steampunk artist, who does not necessarily know the show, has something to relate to. How about the regular "Joe" or "Andi" fan of  Back to the Future, or any fan of time travel and history? Yup! Get them to experience the Doctor Who world tour and you have new potential fans.


5) Attention to detail beyond the marketing team makes all the difference

If the new lord of time, Peter Capaldi, and co-star Jenna Coleman would ignore the opportunity to add layers to their characters then it makes the marketing team look like liars delivering empty promises.

In the article presented by The Hollywood Reporter they quote the new Doctor, Capaldi, stating his reaching out to the previous "Doctor," Matt Smith, to discuss the role. This maintains a sense of authenticity as he prepares to develop a logical evolution to the central character of the show. An evolution that remains true to the culture of the brand and builds on the traditions fans have grown accustomed to. 

So whether you’re a fan or not of Doctor Who, you should allow yourself to consider the marketing genius behind this world tour. Suddenly the "Doctor" is a touring TV, rock and roll hero.

Suddenly, the crowds of fans grow excited and their friends ever more curious. What is "Doctor Who?"

In this day in age a Doctor Who world tour has the potential to turn the curious outsider into a devoted fan. Perhaps as marketers we should make a similar move to make our brand as resilient as "the Doctor."

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