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The Wolverine is Marvel’s latest addition to the $2 billion X-men franchise. Along with being a darker and more serious movie than its prequel, it also has some surprisingly valuable lessons for marketers.

Sometimes Being Perfect Can Be a Flaw

Killing wolverine isn’t easy. His mutation allows to him to heal from any injury almost instantly. When combined with an indestructible adamantium frame, he is virtually invincible.

Unfortunately, audiences find it to difficult to relate to a hero who can’t even be hurt. Wolverine’s problem is that he is too perfect.

The moviemakers at Marvel have overcome this problem in “The Wolverine” by making him vulnerable to wounds. Now that Wolverine can be hurt, we find it easier to sympathize with his struggles.

Customers have become wary of marketers who appear perfect – and their over-hyped sales copy. They have heard it all before. So before you start talking up your own super powers, you might want to give a little thought to conceding to a damaging admission.

If your product or service has flaws, it is better to address them up front. When you explain your own faults ahead of time, it makes anything else you say appear more credible.

History’s best example of a damaging admission (and a great piece of copy writing to boot) is Ernest Shackleton’s advert in the Times for his transatlantic expedition:

“Men wanted for Hazardous Journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.”

Sound tempting? 5,000 people who applied thought so…

He’s Not Afraid to Be Himself

Wolverine is the strong, silent, anti-hero who doesn’t care what you think of him. As his catch phrase states:

“I’m the best at what I do. And what I do isn’t very nice. I’m the Wolverine.”

That kind of attitude might alienate some people, but for people who like a badass, there is no better superhero than Wolverine.

The take away here is that you don’t need to water down your own personality so that everyone will like you. The key is to find an audience with whom your message resonates. Sure, some people won’t like it. And that’s fine. But by being yourself you will attract those people who do.

He Remembers Who His Friends Are

Wolverine might be the quintessential loner, but he also understands that everyone needs friends. Whether it’s joining up with the X-Men to save mutant kind or helping out an old friend in Japan, Wolverine understands the importance of relationships.

If you want to build a business that lasts, then developing relationships built on trust is essential. A common mistake is trying to maximize one-off sales by sacrificing long-term customer relationships.

When you think in terms of the lifetime value of your customer, you are much more likely to see the importance of creating trust by providing real value.

Hook Them With a Cliff Hanger

If you haven’t watched “The Wolverine” yet, make sure you stay to the end of the credits. There is a teaser scene that hints at exciting new developments in the X-men Universe. Want to know more? You will need to catch the next installment in “X-Men: Days of Future Past!”

Ending with a cliffhanger is known as an open loop. You will see it used in countless popular television shows such as “Lost” or “Game of Thrones.” By leaving unanswered questions, the audience is forced to tune in again next week.

You can apply the same technique in your marketing. Open loops are a great way to maintain this attention. Open loops are particularly effective if you have an email newsletter. Start including unanswered questions at the end of your emails, and you will see your open rate rise.

People are more distracted than ever before, so you need to do whatever you can to make sure you keep their attention. Techniques like open loops have worked wonders for Marvel, and they can for your business too.

In your corner,

Charlie

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