What can Twilight and New Moon teach you about business?  A lot!

With the 2nd installment in the uber-popular Twilight saga, New Moon, about to hit theaters, here are a few business lessons you can take away from this very valuable franchise.

1. Don’t underestimate the power of a loyal target market:  The Twilight saga is a franchise built on enthusiasts.  Its core target market (largely teen and tween girls) have bought merchandise, watched the first movie multiple times and created substantial buzz that has converted new enthusiasts.  It is much easier to market more products and services to your existing customers than to new customers.  Twilight has done that brilliantly and in the process the existing customers have themselves brought in new customers to the franchise. 

2. Have a hook that appeals to your target market (aka don’t underestimate the power of cute boys when targeting teen/tween girls):  There is something to be said about having a strong hook.  In the case of Twilight, it is not really even about the vampires, it is about using some very attractive young men that appeal strongly to the target market (again tween and teen girls).  I remember a very successful shoe store in Chicago that employed a similar strategy.  They had only really cute guys working there, who flattered every female customer incessantly as they tried on shoes.  That store did very well.  Once you are solid in knowing your target market, find a strong hook that has a strong appeal to them.

3. Strike while the iron is hot:  Twilight has not been shy about exploiting its brand. You can buy action figures, chocolates, cosmetics, clothing and more inspired by the business.  The Twilight people know that no business cycle lasts forever, so they are not shy about maximizing their potential while they can.  The same goes for your business.  Business cycles are shortening, so don’t be afraid to make the most of your opportunities while you are hot.

4. If you are successful, there will be imitators:  Adding to the pressure of shortening business cycles are imitators that will jump on anything that has been recently successful.  Since Twilight started to really take off, there have been numerous vampire-themed brands that have popped up everywhere from television (the CW’s Vampire Diaries and HBO’s True Blood come to mind) to products and more.  This creates competition and the need to continue to differentiate your product and business. 

While not the first vampire saga, or even the first teen-vampire saga, by a longshot, Twilight has been a standout from a business perspective and suprisingly gives us all some great business lessons to learn from.