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What the Success of the Barbie Movie Means for Marketing

What the Success of the Barbie Movie Means for Marketing

Every so often, it’s obvious when someone hits the marketing sweet spot. A product (or film, in this case) just seems to be everywhere for a while. How much of that can be attributed to the enormous budget behind such a marketing campaign? It certainly helps to have a lot to spend, but even the biggest marketing budgets can be wasted if the execution isn’t done properly, while even the smallest can enjoy a better ROI.

Marketing at scale

The scale of the campaign behind the Barbie movie was so huge that it wiped out the global stock of a shade of pink. The hype has been impossible to avoid this summer, and yes, much of that phenomenon can be credited to the $150 million marketing budget behind it, as reported by Variety Magazine. The production budget for the film, incidentally, was only $145 million.

Is the lesson then that it’s a good idea to always spend more on marketing than on the product itself? Not quite. It does demonstrate that such massive everywhere-you-look campaigns tend to be so successful because they have a fortune behind them. But even then, a marketing campaign can still fail with a disappointing return on (a very large) investment. The Barbie movie not only had plenty to spend, but they also spent it wisely.

The film’s marketing team successfully reached its audience with loud and clear messaging that resonated. Sure, they had plenty of brand recognition to leverage, but they were successful in establishing this as the definitive Barbie movie and convincing anyone that had ever cared about Barbie that it was, at the very least, something they were obliged to see.

That’s no mean feat, even with $150 million. It requires careful strategy and smart budget allocation – using the right channels in exactly the right way, with various elements supporting one another in a holistic campaign.

How to make the most of your marketing budget

Real marketing success can’t simply be bought; it must be earned through diligence and expertise. With a smaller budget, it’s even more important to ensure that you’re getting the maximum possible mileage for your spending. That starts with a sound strategy and good tactical decisions, such as…

  • Investing in your brand

Most people would rather choose to do business with a brand they recognize. But earning that recognition isn’t all about pushing a sale; it’s about building trust. There are various cost-effective ways to do so, such as social media and community engagement, utilizing user-generated content and establishing authority through thought leadership.

  • Creating great content

One of the most effective ways to build a brand is through great content. Content creation should be a key part of any digital marketing budget and not sidelined in favor of media buying. Content marketing is a tried and trusted tactic used by 82% of marketers because it offers terrific ROI, elevates SEO and fuels long-term organic growth.

  • Targeting, testing and refining

There are many powerful advantages to digital marketing that you really need to take full advantage of in order to maximize your marketing ROI. The first is targeting, i.e., putting ads in front of people for whom your message is more likely to resonate and who are more likely to convert.

Digital marketing is also iterative, which means you can test and improve as you go. If something works, do more of it, and if something doesn’t work, don’t do it again. That will ensure that your budget is spent on effective marketing rather than wasted on campaign elements that miss the mark. Be sure to use A/B testing and keep a close eye on performance metrics.

  • Concentrating on retention

It costs a lot more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one – between 5 and 25 times more, according to Harvard Business Review. That means putting budget behind retention campaigns can be super cost-effective and should be a priority for any business.

Get the marketing support you need

The secret to great marketing is not, in fact, to simply throw money at it. That would be an incredibly wasteful venture if not done strategically and with precision. There is a process to follow to ensure that every dime spent is spent well. Even a shoestring budget can yield brilliant results if it hits all the right notes and reaches its target audience effectively.

Maximizing the efficiency of your budget allocation requires the right tools and expertise, but that’s something any business can leverage through the marketing-as-a-service model. Come and see how a flexible and bespoke solution can save your business money and get results.


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