By now I am assuming that you fall into one of two groups: either you’ve seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens or you’ve seen it multiple times.

As was the case in the original Star Wars, Chewbacca, our favorite Wookiee, steals many a scene with his guttural grunts and adorable, often puppy-like facial expressions. One of my favorite “Chewy” scenes in the original occurs when R2D2 and Chewbacca were playing some form of holographic galactic chess. Although the smaller droid may have been of superior intellect, C3PO quickly encourages R2D2 to “let the Wookiee win.”

Throughout the Star Wars saga, the Wookiee appears to be a crowd favorite. It would seem that this fictional species of intelligent, hirsute bipeds from the planet Kashyyyk could almost carry a cinematic production all on its own. Sadly, this was proven to be terribly false.

In December of 1978, after the huge success of the 1977 theatrical release of the original and in anticipation of the 1980 sequel The Empire Strikes Back, a Canadian-American production of The Star Wars Holiday Special aired on television. Once, and only once. It was that bad.

The Star Wars Holiday Special is a saga about Chewbacca’s family. Han Solo is trying his best to get Chewbacca back to his home planet of Kashyyyk where his family is waiting for him to celebrate Life Day (their sort of Christmas/special holiday).

But the story really just focuses on Chewbacca’s family: Malla, Itchy (his father), and Lumpy (his son). No Chewbacca, though. For the majority of the special the audience spends time with characters we don’t really know and have no real emotional ties to. And their names include Itchy and Lumpy.

How bad could it be? It had a truly Star-studded cast, right? In addition to cameos by Harrison Ford and Mark Hammill. Carrie Fischer, as Princess Leia, sings the Life Day song to the tune of the famous Star Wars theme song. There’s also a random sequence that takes Star Wars fans back to the Mos Eisley cantina where Bea Arthur (of Golden Girls fame) is running the joint and the cantina band is playing their hearts out.

But in the end, it’s about the Wookiees. And sadly enough, they can’t carry it alone. Chewbacca endears himself to us when he interacts with others. His pouting, his groaning, his flowing mane and his oversize gestures – they only work when he plays a supporting role with another actor.

And the same can be said for our marketing channels. (How was that for a quick jump to hyperspace?)

Digital marketing continues to grow, but can it exist on its own?

As we enter a new year, we need to continue to consider a marketing plan that is simply not a single-pronged approach. We know we must alter and adapt our messages to our various audiences, and consider how these audiences respond to our different marketing methods, mediums and channels. Keep in mind:

  • Direct mail can complement email, and email can certainly play nice alongside direct mail.
  • Social media drives web traffic, engagement and purchasing decisions. At the same time, targeted print catalogs continue to drive online sales. And believe it or not, printed books are making a comeback! speak wookie
  • Video remains large, with YouTube being the second most popular search engine – and videos can contain powerful calls to action.
  • Personal phone calls and face-to-face meetings can still create much value in the client relationship experience. A friendly face is still often welcome and effective.
  • Finally, let’s not forget the power of the hand-written note. Very few folks still do that – you can stand out when you do.

Any one of these methods used alone would most likely produce less than desirable results. But combined regularly with a cohesive message and call-to-action, they become a powerful marketing force.

Just as the Wookiee won’t always win if left alone in a critical scene, don’t let a single channel be the sole source of delivering your brand’s message. Awaken the Force of your marketing efforts in 2016.

blog photo

Paul Strack