I was creating a marketing plan and realized that watching Oceans Thirteen taught me a ton about marketing. It started when I was asked by a friend to write a marketing plan to open up a new business opportunity for a growing software company. The company is currently focused on chasing big deals and large companies. Focus on the companies that have big IT budget and typically buy just about every technology. Keep poking and sooner or later, you’re bound to make a sale. I see the wisdom by keeping your sales force focused on making this sort of sale – this sort of strategy can keep the lights on. Yet, is there a larger opportunity that is being overlooked?


My friend detailed to me a focused approach that would open up a larger opportunity. Without going into details, there were other companies that had been identified based on a set of criterion where the technology really fit. After considering the criterion and sample set of customers, I agreed that with these customers the barriers for entry would be less. I helped him sketch out some reasonable scenarios to quantify the opportunity. How did Danny Ocean help?


I was clicking through the channels this weekend and stopped on Oceans Thirteen (2007), I totally got sucked in. And after watching, I found everything I needed to know to be a successful marketer. In the Ocean’s movie franchise, Danny Ocean is the mastermind behind the action. If crime didn’t pay so well, Danny would make a heck of an executive. As he crafts the heist, he does a brilliant job to ensure his success.

  • Build a plan: do you really “storyboard” out the bigger picture and how each tactic fits into the objective. Do you have a quantifiable objective in or are you just driving activity?
  • Consider every scenario: easy in Hollywood but harder in real life. As you market, what do you want the customer to do? How do you want them to respond? Why would they consider taking up your offer?
  • Know who you are up against: Danny not only knows the competition but how they will react. By knowing the competition you’ll understand how to position your marketing for success. Know their weaknesses AND their strengths. Don’t play to FUD – play to truth.
  • Cover every detail: he thinks through the plan to the second, nothing is unexpected. Consider your customer’s response, positive and negative. Do you make it easy for them to respond? Do you offer something of value? Are you really differentiated?
  • Go big: just because you don’t have the swagger of George Clooney doesn’t mean you can’t win big. Do the above and you’ll win big.


Thanks Danny Ocean for the tips. If this goes someplace, I’ll be sure to post an update.