What Doctor Who Taught Me About Marketing

Doctor Who and the daleks
Hiding behind the sofa on Doctor Who would do little to get rid of the monsters

Next week the popular BBC Series Doctor Who returns to our screens. The series is a remarkable tale on and off the screen. From the series history we can learn a lot about marketing.

Here are some of the lessons I have learnt from Doctor Who.

1. A Fresh Change Is Good For Business

Doctor Who is really good at change. The main character, the Doctor, changes his face every few years, his companions are swapped about constantly, production staff are regularly rotated and the Tardis set has a makeover every so often. This has never affected the brand. In fact the change in characters is followed often by an increase in its audience.

A change in your business’ brand, marketing strategy or even those who are implementing it can support your online growth in various ways. Change is something which can attract customers. It brings freshness to your output and shows your customers that you are responsive to the environment.

2. There Is No Point Hiding Behind The Sofa

There is the classic tale of children hiding behind the sofa from the monsters on the screen. The problem with this is that when the child tried to watch again, the monsters would still be there. The same can be said in business.

The monsters on Doctor Who can be substituted for the bad times in your business. There are four ways you can deal with these monsters: you can hide, ignore, attack or positively challenge them.

Hiding and ignoring the monsters of your business will do little to dispel them. Attacking the problem can seem like a positive action, however as we have seen with the French restaurant and the food blogger, having an aggressive strategy can damage your brand even further.

On the other hand, positively challenging bad times in your business can be beneficial. There are many ways in which you can employ a positive action, such as a targeted PR campaign or releasing new material showing your expertise in a field. Whatever solution you find, it is better than hiding behind the sofa.

3. A Good Story Is All You Need

Doctor Who was never renowned for great sets or state of the art special effects. Yet the show in the 70s and 80s still attracted large audiences. Why? Because of the way they told the story. Customers react to stories, they feel an emotional connection and it gives them something to engage with.

In this sense, a business doesn’t need to buy Facebook ads or Sponsored Tweets to get its name into the public domain. A blog, social media and email marketing can be all you need to attract customers. As long as you tell a good story you will attract customers to your business.

That is also why direct ads don’t work on blogs or social media. Instead these avenues should be used for telling stories to attract customer to your websites.

4. Just Like Doctor Who, You Can Bounce Back After Any Setback

In the early 1990s Doctor Who was cancelled and was considered to be consigned to the entertainment dustbin. Yet the show still remained popular. The show was constantly having repeats shown on BBC and other channels.

Even when the 1996 comeback movie failed to gain momentum for a renewed series the franchise didn’t die and in 2004 the series was back and is now going strong.

The same can be said for your business and products. No matter what has befallen it, there is always the chance it can come back and make headlines. There will be times when bad media coverage may harm your sales or business profile, but how you respond to that news can change your fortunes.

The Red Cross is a perfect example. They turned one accidental tweet promoting a drunken night out into a PR coup that saw them receive an increase in donations.


There is a lot we can learn from the programs we watch, even if they have little to do with the businesses and marketing activities we run. Doctor Who has taught me that almost anything is possible with the right attitude and it doesn’t cost a fortune to make it happen.

What programs have taught you lessons for business? What were those lessons?

Let us know in the comments below.


Image courtesy of Simon Howden/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net