In this guest post, Vincent Ng of MCNG Marketing puts DC Comics and Marvel in a head-to-head battle to see who is the true Pinterest Superhero.
When I was in my teens I looked forward to Wednesdays after school, because Wednesdays was the day that the new comics would be shipped to my comic store. I used to race down to the store, grab my favorite titles, and ferociously read through them in one evening.
I’ve seen other comic companies come and go, and others merge, but Marvel (the good people who bring you Spiderman and Fantastic Four) and DC (the good people who bring you Batman and Superman) have been the backbone of the comic book industry in North America for over half a century.
Since comics have such visual awesomeness, Pinterest seems like a natural fit for the comic book industry. Even though comics are associated with men, and Pinterest with women, Pinterest is still an amazing tool to market to a male audience and introduce new products or entertainment to women.
The goal of this blog post is to analyze the Pinterest marketing strategies for both comic giants, and to see how well both these comic giants are using Pinterest to help promote sales of their comics, merchandise and movies. The critique will be useful for both large and small businesses using Pinterest.
Welcome to Marvel VS DC, Pinterest style. Let the battle begin!
Marvel: “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.”
Marvel is an American institution within the comic and movie industry and therefore has a great responsibility to deliver amazing marketing with Pinterest. They’ve done a beautiful job with their marketing strategy, considering they need to market multiple aspects of their business such as toys, TV shows, movies and comics. Here’s how they do it.
They Keep Their Pinterest Content Fresh
What’s impressive about Marvel’s Pinterest strategy is the fact that they create boards and pins of their latest comic book sagas and movies. They focus on providing fresh pins on a regular basis.
They don’t wait around until a project is completed to promote that project. Instead they carefully spend the months before a project is completed to hype up mega comic book projects like “Infinity” and movies like “Thor: The Dark Ages” on their Pinterest page. And they’ll do it again with the new Captain America movie in 2014.
While they could focus on some of their biggest legacy projects, such as the X-men movie franchise, or the old vintage comics, they choose to focus on the next big thing that will help drive sales for their comics, merchandise, and movies.
Marvel Integrates Pinterest with the Rest of Their Marketing, Bub
You know what I love even more about Marvel’s Pinterest strategy? It’s how Marvel does a great job of integrating their different marketing channels.
Marvel created a “Jarvis” app for iOS to help promote Iron Man 3 on Blu Ray and DVD, and promoted the app on Pinterest. If you haven’t seen the movie series, Jarvis is Iron Man’s virtual computer butler.
Considering that so many users of Pinterest are iPhone and iPad users, it was a smart move to take that extra time to promote the app on their Pinterest page.
Personally, if it wasn’t for Pinterest I may have never known about the app. Pinterest can be used to inform a whole new audience about promotions.
Marvel has Your Friendly Neighborhood Descriptions
What’s impressive is Marvel’s descriptions of each of the pins they post. They take the time to make short, but informative descriptions that encourage users on Pinterest to click on the address of the pin, however they’ve made on BIG fatal mistake that I’m going to discuss later.
Marvel Keeps Content Focused. Just Like Professor X Would.
What I also love about Marvel’s Pinterest marketing strategy is that they keep things extremely focused. It’s very easy for a company that has multiple comic book lines, characters, toys, movies, and TV shows to create 80 plus boards.
But Marvel doesn’t. They keep things that are up to date and limit the number of boards to what they can manage and promote and focus on big money projects, and have 30 boards at the time of this writing.
They also take time to show what’s happening behind the scenes at Marvel headquarters, as well as showing off photos from the latest big event, like San Diego Comic 2013.
Hulk Smash this Pinterest Fail
There is one aspect that makes me sad and is a Galactus size Pinterest fail.
I wish I was exaggerating right now, but I’m not. Marvel has made the mistake of assuming that desktop users are the same as mobile users.
Marvel did a great job of providing links to their websites in their descriptions of pins, which is fantastic if you happen to be a desktop user, but those links are not clickable on mobile devices. When you double click on a pin, it usually leads to the image file, not back to a targeted Marvel website.
Marvel is losing MILLIONS in web traffic to their site. What Marvel needs to do is to add their link to the source section after the pin has been uploaded.
This can easily be done by clicking on the “pencil” icon that pops up on the top right hand corner when you hover over your pin. After that, a pop up like the one below shows up, where you can edit the source of the pin and add a website you want the pin to redirect to.
This way, all device users, regardless of whether they are on a desktop, Apple, or Android, are able to visit the site when they’ve double click on the pin.
It’s a Bird, it’s a Plane, it’s…DC Comics
At the time of this writing, DC Comics’s Pinterest page has just under 2000 followers. That’s not a lot considering that they have big branded superheroes and heroines like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern, and close to one million fans on Google Plus and 1.2 million on Facebook.
DC Comics Needs to be as Impressive as the Justice League
Their Pinterest page looks more like a page created by a comic fanboy or fangirl. It has boards dedicated to popular superheroes like the ones mentioned above but offers a mishmash of of merchandise, comics, and drawings that seem to lack a cohesive strategy and visual appeal.
Here’s a look at some of the pins on the Wonder Woman board. The board lacks a consistent visual theme as well as focused strategy that helps drive sales.
What DC Comics should be doing is copying what their competitor, Marvel Entertainment, is doing. And that’s using boards to promote what the next biggest creative project from DC Comics is. Here’s a drawing from one of DC’s upcoming comics, Superman and Wonder Woman. Not just a comic, but a modern legend in the making.
How powerfully visual is this scene? What an amazing teaser and story it has to offer readers. I don’t understand why it’s not a pin. It would help cater more to a female demographic and peak the interest of fans. Superman and Wonder Woman in a relationship? Yep it’s happening!
With the announcement of Batman and Superman movie being made at San Diego Comic Con 2013 and being a massive deal across other social channels like Facebook and Twitter, I’m surprised that I wasn’t able to locate a single pin, nor a board that celebrates this dynamic duo’s new upcoming movie.
Instead their Pinterest account is stuck on the Man of Steel movie, which, in terms of social media time, is ancient. They need to continue to market their next big movie project.
*Wham* *Pow* Better Descriptions are Needed for DC Comics
I can tell you that the descriptions of pins about their comics are absolutely abysmal. I think if any writer of a comic book saw the descriptions they would make a rampage like Lex Luthor.
Descriptions such as “Wonder Woman Vol 2: Guts | DC Comics” doesn’t do anything to lure potential new fans to the comic book series or their site.
DC has a chance to reach out to new readers, especially women, a demographic that has always been hard to market to. Instead they have these descriptions that are BORING. If DC Comics wants to drive offline and online sales of their comics, they need to improve their pin descriptions as fast as the Flash.
It’s not All Doomsday and Gloom
What DC Comics does do well is that they connect their comic pins directly to their e-commerce shop. This allows for people that are interested in the comic to order online, or to find out more information about the comic. DC deserves a thumbs up in this case.
The second aspect of their Pinterest marketing that DC Comics does well is that they have a pin it type button on their site, so that fans can actually pin content from their website easily. This is something that Marvel needs to do ASAP.
Who has Pinterest as a Superpower?
There’s no doubt that Marvel Entertainment has Pinterest as a superpower. With over 780,000 fans, and posting content that hypes up future story arcs in their comic universe as well as upcoming movies, they have a winning strategy.
They upload each and every pin, and actively draw in fans with great pin descriptions, great behind the scenes pins, and photos of celebrities.
This is one of those times where each competitor can learn a lot from each other on Pinterest, and this way both companies would have Pinterest as as a Superpower.
Vincent Ng is the president and chief blogger at MCNG Marketing. He is the founder of the Pintalysis Marketing Blueprint, and the author of How to Search Optimize Your Pins for Pinterest and Search Engines. Follow him on Twitter @VincentNg or on Google+.