5 Lessons Modern Marketers Can Learn From Shark Week – TrackMaven

5 Lessons Modern Marketers Can Learn From Shark Week

Last week I had what I would call a “working vacation” in Myrtle Beach. This is literally the 17th straight year that I have vacationed there and have always done “some” work on vacation so it wasn’t anything new for me. The thing that was new was the fact that it just so happened to be Shark Week on the Discovery Channel and that definitely added heightened interest for many beach goers this past week including myself. In addition to the interest on the beach I heard all kinds of stories of a possible shark sighting as well as stories of attacks. Once such story was of a fisherman who was attacked not far off shore, where it was later discovered that he was fishing and standing in the water with bloody bait in his pocket. Apparently, he was unaware of a little known ability that sharks have called electroreception. Apparently it allows sharks to notice changes in saltwater electricity conduction. Blood changes conductivity and sharks can smell it.


Don’t you wish all of the marketers and sales people on your team had this? “Speed to lead” would never again be a problem.

5 Lessons Modern Marketers Can Learn From Shark Week

Anyways, there were so many facts, figures and stories last week about sharks that I couldn’t catch them all. I did however catch a few and I drew from them what I believe are lessons that every modern marketer can take away from Shark Week.

1. Relevant content does NOT equal conversion

“Compelevant”  (compelling & relevant) content does. Discovery Channel proved last week that ones fears can be a motivator if used as an opportunity to educate and thrill at the same time. Perhaps your product or service provides value that is rooted in fear. Thematically speaking, these aren’t topics that people run towards.  In my world, telling a prospect that their last 10 blog entries or social posts were (both on a relative and absolute basis) among the worst & least cared about contact on that channel in the last 60 days isn’t easy. Shark Week brilliantly took a topic that most people don’t talk about regularly and made it something that we can all relate to. They not only made it compelling, but relevant. And that’s what modern marketers must do.

One of the things that I was most impressed about around this past week is that #SharkWeek captured their audiences attention for a full week. Discovery told us from the outset that #SharkWeek would be a full week and then kept pushing out content not concerned about whether or not we would stop paying attention after 2 days. What if you went after your event marketing with this same relentless and creative vigor?

2. Keep Moving With Your Content Or You Too Will Drown


#SharkWeek Fact number 1 – Certain shark species (such as great white) will drown if they stop moving. They lack necessary muscles to pump water through their mouth. A fish drowning in water? Who would have thought of such a thing? For the modern marketer, I took this to say that you too must” keep it moving” with your content or you too will drown. You have to find a way to create more nuanced content. Marketing competitive intelligence tracking allows you to get a head start on your nuanced content journey because you will know what topics your audiences actually care about and are actually engaging with across owned, earned & paid media. True Marketing Competitive Intelligence will also enable you to benchmark your programs in real-time allowing you to improve your content in the “real time environment”.

3. Know The Right Audience To Attract

#SharkWeek Fact number 2 – Almost 50 different shark species have light-emitting organs called photospheres. Sharks use their light for camouflage and to attract mates.

As a modern marketer, its important to realize that while your content may resonate with a particular audience on one channel it’s possible not to be true on another. Knowing across channels what your audiences care about can be difficult if not impossible without a unified competitive intelligence tracking & benchmarking platform that provides both contextual and actionable insights such as the aforementioned.

4. Go Below The Surface of Your Marketing


#SharkWeek Fact number 3 – More sharks hunt on the floor than on the surface. Going deeper with nuanced content or finding more compelevant ways to may not be comfortable at first but don’t let the pressures and the darkness of deep water cause you to swim for the surface level focus of leading “with” your products or services rather than prospects “to” your product, service or solution . When you understand where and how your prospects engage with your content it’s like understanding a sharks eating habits and being in all of the places where they go endearing them to you as the trusted advisor.

5. MROI — Marketing Return On Investment


Shark Week Fact number 4 – Sharks are susceptible to the moon’s control of ocean tides. Moon phases affect sharks’ eating habits and draw them closer to shore. Sharks and Modern Marketers alike need to eat. For Modern Marketers we call this MROI.  Bringing prospects to shore requires that as a marketer that you are focused on getting prospects what they want so that you can get what you want. You can’t do this without knowing your prospects vision of success. If you are leading them to your product, service or solution with the intent of their success feeding time will fulfilling for you and for them.

Key Takeaways

1. Move from relevant to “compelevant” with your content and marketing programs focusing on what prospective audiences care about based on impact & engagement.

2. Don’t stop producing nuanced content across all channels. It is said that a big shot is simply a little shot that kept on shooting.

3. Stay focused on what your prospects care about within specific channels.

4. Benchmark yourself versus your competitive brands and focus on improving as you lead prospects “to” their definition of success and your solutions rather than with them.

Oh and please never ever stand in water fishing with bleeding bait in your pockets or you will have learned about ” electroreception” in ways that you don’t want to imagine. Are there other facts from Shark Week that captured your attention? Be the first to share your comments.