How It Should Have Ended: Your Marketing Campaign

I love a good, goofy YouTube series. Screen Rants, Crash Courses, Epic Rap Battles of History … it’s all good! One of my favorites is HISHE: How It Should Have Ended. And HISHE has a hidden lesson for all marketers.

I love a good, goofy YouTube series. Screen Rants, Crash Courses, Epic Rap Battles of History … it’s all good! One of my favorites is HISHE: How It Should Have Ended. And HISHE has a hidden lesson for all marketers.

HISHE is kind of a geeky idea. They make fun of movies by filling in some of the retrospective plot holes with stupid, stupid jokes, in cartoon form. Here’s one from a movie you’ve probably seen (so hopefully no spoilers):

(Sidenote: I never thought of Vader just force-catching Luke and dragging him back up, but now I can’t unsee it.)

Alright, that’s some dumb, cartoon, totally age-inappropriate humor. But it works because the creators look back and think about the movie, and think about what the characters should have done differently and “how it should have ended.”

Do you ever do that with your marketing campaigns? I’m sure you do your testing, make your decisions, execute the plan, and then look at the results and figure out how to do it better next time. … But do you ever look back at the actual process and results as they came in, and do a check for your own plot holes? Have you thought about how the campaign could have ended if you’d done a few things differently, for better or worse?

There’s a similar idea in publishing called the “Postmortem.” After you get the printed magazines in, usually a month or two after you finished working on them, everyone involved in the content and layout takes a copy and goes through it and marks it up with notes. You mark what you think worked or didn’t work, what you could have done better, catch any mistakes that got through proofing (which TOTALLY never happens in Target Marketing, of course).

It’s not always a comfortable exercise. There’s always some regrets. You spot some missed opportunities and the touches you wish you could’ve added that got lost in the rush against deadlines and closing dates. You get to relish some of the stuff you did well, though, too.

Through it all, you dial in your sense of what you should prioritize when you’re working under those tight deadlines. What touches are worth adding, and which ones are OK to let go.

You can do the same thing with your marketing, going back over the finished product of a marketing campaign (or a sample time period of your ongoing marketing processes), and see where your plot holes are, where fall off happened, where you forgot to use a force power or two.

The difference between media and marketing, is that once a movie or magazine is done, it’s over. You can’t fix that one, you can only hope to do the next one better. But in your marketing, you can always make adjustments on the fly or for the next deployment. You can fix your plotholes (and no one is going to start an Internet petition about who should’ve shot first).

When you think about How It Should Have Ended last time, you might be surprised at how much better you can make it end the next time.

What are some plot holes you’ve had that could’ve been an episode of HISHE: Your Marketing Campaign?