Marketing Tips In Honor of Shark Week

Sharks have come a very long way.

The earliest sharks evolved more than 400 million years ago — before insects, mammals or dinosaurs. They survived five mass extinctions and looked pretty odd.

Picture credit: Dorling Kindersly/Getty Images via

But longevity has made the shark brand anything but stale. Today, sharks rule the news cycle. Recent white shark sightings in California have lead to “shark selfies” (mostly in aquariums). Time magazine recently called Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, which recently celebrated it’s 40th anniversary, “the movie that changed Hollywood.” And Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, which premiered in 1988, has ushered an area of cultish shark fandom.

And with that in honor of Shark Week 2015 — which starts this Sunday, July 5 (there’s even a countdown clock for the week) — We will dive into what may be the best marketing strategies to evolve since the Paleozoic Era.

1. Intuition
A shark has 6 senses. This means they are constantly aware of their surroundings. One of the best things a marketer can do is be aware of what is going on around them. (both with their business and with their client base). What is trending? What are people searching for? What part of your business is being utilized the least? Put your sensors out there and feel around in order to develop a plan of attack. 79% of leading marketers use analytics to track how specific pieces of content perform, which does well over time and allows marketers to know exactly what will and won’t work.

Shark Lesson: Analyze your audience, competition and your business. Figure out what you can do to make yourself the best.

2. Be Iconic
Maybe we all get there if we had 400 million years to evolve, but maybe sharks are just smarter than us — either way what can be more iconic than this?

Shark fin above water

See this? You recognized it immediately — maybe you even feel an involuntary twinge of fear as the Jaws theme lodges into your head for the rest of the day.

Shark Lesson: Find a way to make your brand instantly recognizable and emotionally stimulating.

3. Adaptability
There are 470 different species of shark; with each species, you will find a wide range of specialized skill that helps them survive in their environments. Businesses should also learn how to adapt and how to change their message, sometimes even their product, in order to meet customer at their level. For example, PlanPlus Online is currently going through some growth and we are working to make our UI/UX a much more desired place to be for our CRM. We’ve taken the large task and challenge of making our CRM more desireable. By doing so, we will be taking our experience for our customers to their level and beyond.

4. If you want to win, make the rules
Have you ever been on a shark dive? If you have then you know that they have rules — and if you play by them, usually you are safe. What are these rules? Well for example: Don’t wave your tasty little fingers in their faces. Don’t freak out. Respect the Shark’s space. Oh and even the rules for people lack all inklings of common sense: Don’t chase the sharks…

Shark Lesson: Whether you’re defining a market or launching a campaign, think about how you can set the rules so everyone else learns to play. This can give a big advantage in the long run.

5. Create a mutually beneficial relationship
Sharks have a mutually beneficial relationship with a fish called Remoras that often swim with them or directly attach themselves to many species of sharks. Both species benefit from this relationship! Remoras get transportation and a free meal, while sharks get a free good cleaning! When you think of it in marketing terms, it’s a plan that works for them, while marketing needs feedback from sales in order to grow and develop accurately, these two departments reflect the relationship of sharks and remoras.

Aquarium with a small shark and remora fish

6. Find a friendly brand ambassador
All though sharks weren’t the focus of Finding Meo, they scored an important cameo in Bruce, the leader of the Fish-Friendly Sharks. In the movie, Bruce recites the group’s credo:

“I am a nice shark, not a mindless eating machine. If I am to change this image, I must first change myself. Fish are friends, not food.”

Shark Lesson: Use brand ambassadors (like Bruce) who can show your brand’s softer side — or whatever side you don’t usually get to reveal.
7. Cuteness
No matter which product you’re selling, in which industry, to which buyer, cuteness gets you places. Case and point:


Shark Lesson: It’s ok to have fun with your marketing and do things that are different. Sometimes it’s ok to make your brand cuddly and cute. Even if you have to involve kittens.

8. Be smart about promotion
One of the easiest ways to cultivate engagement is from potential readers is through tagging on social media. Whether you’re using Facebook, Twitter, or any social media platform, make sure you do your research first. Specifically, spending a little time to find out what hashtags are trending and what will be the best tag to use for maximum engagement. A good tip is to seek out the originator of the tags and align your hashtags with their formula. Fortunately, Discovery channel has made it easy to have easy engagement because of the hashtag ‘#SharkWeek’ for anyone who wishes to follow along.

Lastly, in order for you to make your content known to specific people or brands, make sure you tag those who you want to see your work. Always keep an eye out for trend influencers or anyone who will be likely to repost your content.