Walter White: The Ultimate Digital Marketer?
Put away the gas mask and cancel the order you just made on eBay for a barrel of methylamine. And take off that ridiculous hazmat suit. We’re talking about the other skills Walter White possesses.
Twitter basically fell apart last night after AMC’s Breaking Bad drew to a close. Topsy suggests that there were over 500,000 tweets with the hashtag “#GoodbyeBreakingBad” that swam around the Twittersphere. Being a big fan of Breaking Bad myself, I decided to put together a visual on Facebook yesterday as a tribute to the show – outlining what social media managers can learn from Walt and Jesse.
The more you think about it however, Walter has many characteristics that would ultimately be a huge asset to a digital marketer – which is what made me think, could he be the ultimate digital marketer? The violent killings and massive illegal business trading aside of course. Let’s take a look at what we have when we pick apart Walter White/Heisenberg.
He does it because he likes it… and it makes him feel good: Walt admits to Skyler in the final episode that he didn’t do all of that for his family, because eventually it became about him liking it and making him feel good. If you don’t take joy in the work you do as a digital marketer and you don’t “feel good” about the work you do – you’re in the wrong business.
He makes good strategic calls: As seasons progress, Walt quickly understands the entire meth business and realizes who he should go into business with and when. He also learns how to make tough strategic calls, such as taking on Gustavo Fring – the baddest man TV has seen since Tony Soprano. But he does this with precision, intelligence and a plan – something that digital marketers today fail to have in their strategy. As a digital marketer, you’ll be asked to make tough calls on a regular basis – and unless you approach them in the same obsessive manner that Walt approaches his deals, you’re bound to fall short in the long run.
He’s good with words: While he might have learned a thing or two about crisp communication from Mike Ehrmantraut and Saul Goodman, Walt finds his way with words pretty darn quick. Instead of the chilling and now immortal line, “I am the one who knocks!” if he’d said, “No, no Skyler – you don’t understand. You think I’m the person who would have opened the door and been shot? Incorrect, I actually have now evolved into the person who would be on the other side of the door, gun in hand and what not – and would therefore be the threat.” – we’d all be wondering what Sheldon Cooper is doing inside Walter White’s body. With his to-the-point communication and exact goal in mind, Walt always says exactly what needs to be said, no more and no less. Unless he’s talking to Skyler in Season 3, there was no reasoning with her then.
He knows the business: He knows enough about it to get bigwigs like Lydia and Gus Fring interested in what he has to say. While his work speaks for itself, Walt knows exactly who to go to and what to say to them in order to take his product to the next level and get more out of it. Knowing the industry (both digital as well as the industry product that you’re marketing) is crucial and getting as much out of it as possible is of extreme value. Walt does it by riding on the success of what he creates – can you do the same?
There’s tons more about the character that can be analyzed, but just scratching the surface – here’s what is apparent. Do you think Walt would make a pretty awesome digital marketer? What would you give him to do digital marketing for you?
Avtar Ram Singh is a social media strategist who values good content over all else. Having worked with global agencies and brands as well as fledgling start-ups, he helps brands and marketers from various verticals with their advertising and social strategies on a global scale. He's always around on Twitter and you can also find him on Google+.
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