Analysis: The Force is Not Strong in Star Wars' Marketing Automation System

With its record breaking opening last week, it seems like the whole world has seen the new Star Wars movie. But don't worry, this post will not include any movie spoilers. And while it might seem like a lazy blog post that connects Star Wars to marketing automation, this is actually about a real example. Not from the Star Wars universe, but from the marketing department themselves.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away I subscribed to the Star Wars email list. Of course they have an email list. I also follow Star Wars on Instagram.

I might have subscribed to the list when I downloaded the lightsaber app to my phone about five or six years ago. Or I might have heard about the app from the email. I can't quite recall. But I open every email. I read every email. And sometimes I even click to learn more. This should tag me as an engaged list member in their marketing automation system. But I've never bought anything. Just clicked and consumed content.

This makes me part of a particular segment that the Star Wars marketing department should pay attention to and understand. If I'm always opening their emails and even clicking on them, I value their information. Do they know I follow their social media channels? Do they know that I sometimes share their news on my social media channels? Especially when I get excited.

I have no interest in Star Wars comic books, action figures or video games. I am a fan of the movies. I already have DVDs of the ones I would be more inclined to watch. That would be the original trilogy only. All of this should be in my history in the computer system aboard the Death Star, err, I mean the Star Wars marketing automation system.

They don't send out a lot of email. Even in this run up to the new movie they respected their list and didn't go crazy. But I got an email last week. I wasn't surprised by an email from Star Wars. I'd been thinking about Star Wars a lot lately. It kind of made me happy. What were they going to tell me? Some behind-the-scenes story that I could share with my Facebook friends? A precious plot point involving the characters from the original trilogy? Nope.

The email had the following subject line:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens In Theaters Now


This is the first new Star Wars movie in 10 years. While I don't expect the Star Wars marketers to use the all-knowing Force to understand their customers and subscribers, I would expect them to use the latest marketing automation technology. My actions over the years told them that I very likely knew the movie was in theaters. I probably already had tickets (I did). Again, I was very engaged in their emails and social channels, and they knew that.

Sending the email was a great idea. It had a link to buy tickets and one for the Star Wars smart phone apps. These are great things to send on the day the movie opens. But use a subject line that shows you know me and have paid attention to my actions. Especially if you are my father. That's not a spoiler. It's from the movie that came out in 1980.

This post originally appeared on the Modern Marketing Blog.

Jeffrey L Cohen

Jeffrey L Cohen