Three small business marketing lessons from Starfleet

Using the Starfleet Academy Experience at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in Manhattan to shape your small business marketing may seem daunting. It’s the culmination of decades of writing and a whole canon of folklore, with a new language (Klingon) and an international fan base. SMBs have limited budgets and, in the case of startups, from scratch.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s actually an opportunity to create a mythology around your business, using the principles used by the exhibition, if not the show itself. Here are the top small business marketing lessons taken from a visit to the Starfleet Academy Experience.

Market prominently

When you’re introducing a new product or service, market it prominently. The Starfleet Academy Experience is marketed very clearly: in New York City guides, on the side and front of the Intrepid. Your small business may not have the marketing budget to take out a full page ad in a publication everyone reads, so be creative. Can you splash your new product or service across your home page, or announce it in an email newsletter?

Create a consistent experience

Throughout the Starfleet Academy Experience, visitors received a consistent experience. The exhibit featured seven modules, all tied in to the original Star Trek canon (the exhibit did not include anything from the new Star Trek movies with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto). Each was different yet consistently provided a quiz and activity. What can be consistent throughout your marketing? Most likely, it’s your brand: your logo, your colors, your fonts and your tone of voice.

Blend the old and new

The Starfleet Academy Experience also included exhibits of props and costumes from all the series, including the original Star Trek series with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. In small business marketing, you can blend your old marketing and the mythology around how your business started with what you’re doing now.

Make it personal

Quite possibly the coolest part of the Starfleet Academy Experience was the personalization. Visitors wore a wristband to scan at the various stations. At the end, they were provided with a report showing their quiz results and the best position for them, should they join Starfleet. While that’s a tall order for a small business, simple personalization, like offering coupons or rewards, can go a long way toward building loyalty.

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