Breaking the Formula: ABC’s Castle and Marketing Tips, Part 3

Castle has been rocking and rolling these past few weeks, hasn’t it? And the only thing that’s had nearly as much buzz (at least around our office) is how popular these Castle blogs are! So keep on clicking, commenting, linking, and referring: the better my numbers, the better chance these Castle blogs can keep on going.

Let’s have a quick recap of the first four marketing tips that Castle can teach anyone in the business world:

1) Teamwork matters. Just as Beckett, Castle, Esposito, Ryan, and Lainie each contribute to solving the murder, so can your team. Look outside your marketing department for cool campaign ideas. Check out sales ideas beyond what your customer service representatives have to offer. Although I really hate the phrase because it’s so trite, you’ve got to think outside the box.

2) Keep your communication clear and concise. Don’t muddle up your copy with industry buzzwords. Know your audience and pick key words that are appropriate, appealing, and informative. And please, PLEASE spell check and grammar check every single thing you write, both with word processing software and a real-life English major. I may be biased, because it’s part of my job, but do not skimp on this. Richard Castle WILL come after you.

3) Get the youth behind your cause. Young people may not have the highest paying jobs or the most padded bank accounts, but their power to pass on your message through online social networking is unsurpassed by any previous generation. Bright young people like Alexis Castle are more shopper savvy than ever and gaining their trust counts. The younger you bring in a client, the more years you have to build a lifelong relationship.

4) Don’t ditch tried and true methods for the sake of pretty technology.This is just a slightly fancier way to say that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Technology has brought us a lot of nice perks including opening our garages without getting out of the car, surfing the internet on the toilet, and breaking up with someone through text message. Although DNA testing and facial recognition software may collate evidence, there’s still no replacement for real detective work. The toys may make things more efficient, but don’t let the shiny distract you from making those real connections.

I hope those are familiar, dear readers. Let’s move on to some new ones, shall we?

5) Make each product or service distinct and valuable.

In procedurals, it’s easy for the supporting players to blend together in order for the leads to get more attention. Certainly no one would argue that any of the characters on Castle are more fleshed out than Castle himself and Detective Kate Beckett. However, there’s no way you’re going to mix up Ryan and Esposito, and it’s not just because they physically look different. Their personalities and dialogue are very distinctive, even though they’re currently taking a backseat to the leads (although extensive Twitter stalking and Getty image searching leads me to believe an Esposito-centered episode is coming up). And there’s even less of a chance you’ll mix up Perlmutter and Lainie, even if you based your judgment on grumpiness alone.

Likewise, each of your products and services should be distinctive from one another. What does a Special Spa Service Package offer that the Massage Deluxe does not? How does each one appeal to different customer needs? If your cheaper services or products are merely on your site to draw in the bargain hunters but ultimately turn out to be pretty worthless compared to the higher ticket items, why bother posting those hooks? You end up with a client who will specifically avoid your company and possibly pass on negative opinions, which as anyone who’s been through middle school knows, moves way faster than good news.

The idea that any click-throughs are good click-throughs has some merit, but if those bargain hunters were specifically drawn in due to price during comparison shopping, you’ll lose them the second they realize those “value” products or services are basically crap. Even though some items are lower priced, make sure they still serve as a legitimate option for those on a limited budget. Some people prefer to spend a little less when trying out a new company, so you’d hate to give a poor first impression to a person who could potentially become a loyal client.

6) Treat your employees well, especially in front of customers.

Rick Castle has been arrested multiple times, flashes his wealth around, got kicked out of several schools, and brags about his sexual conquests. He makes jokes near the bodies of murder victims, and he steals crime scene photos. He has plenty of less than reputable friends and takes advantage of those friends in power to get what he wants. He puts himself into dangerous situations and forces others into those situations to rescue him.

By all accounts, he’s kind of an asshole.

Why do we forgive him and love him to pieces? He undeniably and unconditionally loves his mother and his daughter.

Okay, and he’s played by Nathan Fillion.

You can tell a lot about a person based on how he treats people around himself, especially those who do not enjoy his same stature.

Bosses who are seen treating their subordinates like crap are likely to turn off customers. Although it may be tempting to throw an underling under the bus in order to make a client happy in the short term, what the customer will take away in the long term is the lack of confidence in the staff and a quick betrayal of loyalty. Any dummy knows that!

There’s even a whole message board thread devoted to bosses demeaning their employees in front of customers on Etiquette Hell. Yikes. You definitely don’t want to be immortalized in those pages.

Check this article out from AllPsych to refresh the info from your Psych 101 class. In order to change behavior, there are several different tactics a teacher (or boss) can use. There’s positive reinforcement (positive reward provided for desired behavior), negative reinforcement (removal of a negative response when desired behavior takes place), punishment (negative response provided when undesired behavior takes place), and extinction (removal of a response in order to decrease a behavior).

As the article states, research has shown that positive reinforcement is the best motivator. That doesn’t always mean an awesome promotional mug (but it certainly can); it can extend to verbal praise and other perks such as first dibs on projects. Treating employees with positive reinforcement both in front of clients and privately has shown repeatedly to have the best outcomes.

But hey, I wouldn’t mind a custom mug like the one Castle was rocking on March 29th episode, “Boom!”

So what do you think? Are each of your products and services as distinctive and valuable as Esposito and Ryan or Perlmutter and Lainie? Do you have other reasons to have those “bait” products and services out there? How do you treat your employees? How does your boss treat you? Are those different in private versus public? What do you find to be the best motivator for your employees? How freaking adorable are Castle and his daughter when they’ve got their little bonding moments? Sound off in the comments below!

Until next time, keep expanding your brand!


Jana Quinn

An old ‘G’ that’s been working for QLP since it was in Bret’s basement – Jana has been writing since she made up a story about a Jana-Tiger that liked rocky road ice cream and got straight A’s. She enjoys writing about marketing and pop culture, posting a ‘Die Hard’ article as often as she’s allowed. She is inspired by the articles at Cracked and frequently wears a Snuggie in the office. You can also connect with Jana on Google+.


  1. Tammi Kibler

    Thank you, Jana.

    The tips about making each product distinct and valuable in its own right will be a big help this week as I am updating my product offerings on my home page.

    Keep writing. And thank you for making it relevant.

    Tammi Kibler

  2. Nancy Liedel

    This is some great advice, not only for customer communication and ads, but writers could get a smack with this fish, as well as educators who accept papers with sublime phrasing, such as, “u r 2 cool,” as acceptable English.

    I’m tired of, “net-speak,” and verbal short-cuts that help us get a message out fast, but at the cost of content and thought? Why?

    If the grammar in this comment stinks, 6 am, = no coffee, yet.

  3. Nuvi

    I wish getting over a broken heart can be so easy as following a few steps.. but its not… 🙁

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