Marketing Today

DC Comics Cross Marketing Success


To write this post, I am going to have to admit that I am a big superhero fan. Though I never read the comic books, I love the raw entertainment value of shows like; The Flash, Supergirl, The Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow. Of course, it was this frivolous pastime that led me to discover how truly brilliant DC Comics had become as a business.

We’ve all had a glimpse of cross marketing in movies when Marvel began to set up, The Avengers. However, DC Comics took a different route by incorporating television and has now paved the way for the DC Extended Universe (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman).

My Adult Introduction to DC Comics

The Arrow

While I grew up knowing the likes of Batman and Superman, the first DC Comic television show that I binge watched was, The Arrow while I was recovering from the flu. Little did I know that I had embarked on the journey that DC Comic created for their viewers.

The Flash

Of course, the series took a dark turn, so I discovered The Flash. Again, a great show that I watched until the story became too convoluted and I decided to take a break.

Supergirl

Then came Supergirl. I was skeptical about it because the name sounded hoaky, but I went with it, and thoroughly enjoyed the show.

DC Comics Cross-Promotion Begins

Here’s where it gets interesting. As I’m watching Supergirl, The Flash appears in one of the episodes. The two heroes “save the day” together and then go their separate ways with a promise to help each other again, if needed.

Of course, you know [as marketers] that they’re setting the two series to run parallel, thus marketing The Flash in Supergirl and vice versa.

It didn’t hit me until a few episodes later when The Flash returns to Supergirl at the end of an episode, and the screen reads, “To be continued on The Flash.”

Here’s what DC Comics has done: they’ve peaked my interest in The Flash by inserting him into their newest superhero show. A couple of episodes later, they bring him back with an incentive for me to begin watching The Flash. This juxtaposition also happens to emerge at the end of a Supergirl season, making it a perfect time to pick up a new show.

They do this again with The Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow. In fact, I didn’t even know that the show, “Legends of Tomorrow,” existed until it was introduced on The Flash.

the-flash-arrow-supergirl-dc-legends-of-tomorrow-crossover-teaser-released-01

What amazes me is how seamlessly they weave the story lines together to create an incredibly effective cross-marketing campaign that is true to their comics and runs through each television series. Viewers always have another show to watch as more episodes are filmed, and new seasons released. By doing this, you remain continuously involved with DC Comics.

Talk about giving your customers a reason to stick around!

So how do we apply this sort of marketing to our business?

DC Comics has identified key desires of their audience, and they’ve designed each show to delight them. This research enabled them to know that if someone watches one series, they’ll likely enjoy the other. By introducing a new show’s character without initially asking anything sparks interest until the end of the season when they make the “ask” to watch the new series.

  • Know your customers and know what delights them.
  • Don’t force cross-selling before your customer is ready. Instead, take the softer approach and introduce them with the purpose of educating them.
  • Make the cross-sell “ask” when your customer has gotten everything they can out of what they’ve been using and repeat this cycle as long as it’s appropriate.

The finesse and seamlessness of these cross-promotions are what’s truly impressive. I’m sure it has taken many years and much planning, but it’s something to admire and try to emulate as we look towards cross-marketing efforts of our own.


Please comment below with any thoughts or ideas! I’d love to hear your feedback and start some great discussions about cross-marketing and cross-promotion.

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