Ten Lessons on Marketing I’ve Learned From Quibi

Ten Lessons on Marketing I’ve Learned From Quibi

The launch of Quibi — Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman’s shortform, mobile-first video platform — has been a subject of my extreme fascination for the last few months. As a Hollywood kid who worked in ad agencies and talent agencies, I spend most of my free time either consuming or discussing content — and I’ve been fascinated by Quibi since I first heard whisperings of a new

The launch of Quibi — Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman’s shortform, mobile-first video platform — has been a subject of my extreme fascination for the last few months. As a Hollywood kid who worked in ad agencies and talent agencies, I spend most of my free time either consuming or discussing content — and I’ve been fascinated by Quibi since I first heard whisperings of a new, Katzenberg-led streaming service, now several years ago.

For the last few years I’ve been focused on gaming and esports, applying my experience from entertainment and Ad Land onto something playful and interactive. My thinking on Quibi’s launch, strategy, brand, and product has yielded a set of lessons that I find relevant not just to the business of of esports and gaming content, but also about marketing more broadly.

I am surely not saying that I, random creative strategist and marketer, have taken Quibi’s pulse and declared it DOA. I have no such authority, and that’d be premature anyhow. The platform’s fate is entirely undecided at this point; it’s far too early to say, we don’t have access to the right data, and I’m confident they still have a trick or two up their sleeve. However, I do have a maxim that I live by, which is: you can’t unfuck the launch. And Quibi…well, you know where I’m headed.

So, here are ten lessons on marketing I’ve learned from Quibi:

1. Knowing what you don’t know

The most sacred lesson I’ve ever learned is that marketers _must _know what they don’t know, and from the outside, there doesn’t seem to be much respect for that principle at Quibi. I cannot imagine how hard it must be for a titan like Jeffrey Katzenberg to be deferential, to loosen the reins and admit to not having all the answers about content. But I’m reminded here of Donald Rumsfeld’s famed line about unknown unknowns. To excite people about their service, Quibi needs to mobilize a host of fandoms — but how can they access these communities without knowing they even exist? From the looks of it, Jeffrey and Meg may not know they exist.

In this outstanding Vulture piece, when asked what television she watches, Meg says: “I’m not sure I’d classify myself as an entertainment enthusiast.” As the article also points out, Jeffrey’s references for Quibi content were largely arcane (America’s Funniest Home Videos, Jane Fonda, Dr. Ruth). The CEO of an entertainment company not being even an enthusiast should sound an alarm, because even if she doesn’t watch much TV herself, she should love the fan communities built around great content — and I would guess she’s no student of that either.

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