Helpful Marketing Lessons from the Best Show Ever: Gilmore Girls

Helpful Marketing Lessons from the Best Show Ever: Gilmore Girls

This post was originally published in September 2016.

I don’t know about you, but I loved the Gilmore Girls revival on Netflix and am looking forward to the TV marathon beginning today! With this in mind, I thought it would be fun to take a look at all the marketing lessons you can learn from quotes said by the show’s main characters.

Marketing to People

Provide Excellent Customer Service

Luke: Don’t bother, saw you coming, already ordered your Wednesday usual, the French dip, extra fries, the every Wednesday cherry pie.
Rory: Such service.

Successful marketing comes down to the people. If you aren’t connecting with and helping potential and current customers, why would they choose to continue to come back to your business?

Don’t Respond Emotionally

[Rory is freaking out about Dean]
Rory: I just don’t want to do or say anything else that’s going to be completely moronic.
Lorelai: I’m afraid once your heart is involved, it all comes out in moron.

When you receive a negative comment or online review, it can be hard not to take it personally. After all, you invest so much in your business. But instead of firing off an emotionally-charged response that can make your business appear unprofessional, take an extra minute to breathe, collect yourself and ask yourself if there’s truly something you can learn from the feedback. Maybe you can offer a new service, improve your company’s product or provide better customer service? Once you’ve had a chance to compose yourself emotionally, apologize to the commenter and ask if they can reach out so you can discuss their complaint personally. Make sure you leave your contact information, too!

Be Polite

Rory: He smells really good, and he looks amazing, and I am stupid! I said “Thank you!”
Lorelai: Whoa, whoa, whoa. You said, “Thank you?”
Rory: When he kissed me!
Lorelai: …So wait. He kissed you, and you said “Thank you?”
Rory: Yes!
Lorelai: Well, that was very polite.

As I said before, marketing comes down to people, so it’s no surprise that you should say please and thank you. Show them your gratitude, ask them questions politely and treat them with respect and kindness.

Start a Conversation

An image of a woman waving hello.

When it comes to your marketing, how are you taking the first step?

Emily: Now take me through this step by step. You see a man, you walk up to him, and you say?
Lorelai: “Hello.”
Emily: Is that too forward?
Lorelai: No, it’s the appropriate way to indicate you’re open to a social engagement.

Don’t be afraid to make the first move. When you meet someone new, start a conversation with them – hello is a great way to start! Then continue by focusing on them – find out how you might be able to help them, rather than just talking about yourself and your business the whole time.

Be Pleasantly Persistent

Paris: I just wanted to tell you again that I had so much fun last night.
Tristan: Yeah, after five messages on my answering machine, I kinda got that impression.

Whether you’re following up with a sales lead or a journalist, don’t be too aggressive. At Three Girls we like to call this pleasant persistence. You want to check in enough that you stay front of mind, but not so much that they feel like you’re stalking them.

Make it Easy to Contact You

Lorelai: Yes, I left behind a glass slipper and a business card just in case the prince is really dumb.

Is your contact information buried? Make it as easy as possible for potential and current customers to get in touch with you. At the very least, include a phone number and email address/contact form in a prominent place on your website.

Writing Tips

Focus on the Positive

Rory: So, Grandpa, how’s the insurance biz?
Richard: Oh, people die, we pay. People crash cars, we pay. People lose a foot, we pay.
Lorelai: Well, at least you have your new slogan.

As this post explains, “The more positive language used in a post, the more likes it will receive.” Unlike Richard’s new slogan, try to convey hope through your company’s content.

Always Use Proper Grammar

Blocks with the word Grammar written out.

Make sure all your marketing messages include proper grammar!

[about Max’s message]
Rory: So how many times are you gonna listen to that?
Lorelai: Till it stops being sexy.
Rory: Stop. That’s my teacher you’re talking about. I have to respect him.
Lorelai: Okay, well if it makes you feel any better, while he’s being sexy, he’s also being grammatically correct.
Rory: Better. Thank you.

Grammar is important (and sexy)! Everything you write for your business – from your website copy and blog posts to your social media updates and emails – reflects your brand. Is your content showing off your expertise or burying what your company can do well beneath typos, run on sentences and confusing copy?

Choose Your Words Carefully

[After making Lorelai go on a double date with Sookie, Jackson and his cousin Rune]
Sookie: You will not regret this.
Lorelai: Pick another phrase.
Sookie: You will not have to pay.
Lorelai: Much better.

Think about how the language you’re choosing comes across to your followers, visitors, clients and business partners. Don’t be afraid to rewrite a social media update or email a couple of times to properly convey your message.

Use Clear Language

Rory: Well it’s this thing where you go and they play music and you’re supposed to get all dressed up and do some kind of dance and then there’s chicken.
Dean: Chicken?
Rory: Well I don’t know if there’s chicken. But at these kinds of things they often serve chicken because it’s probably cheaper and people eat it, so the logic behind the chicken choice really isn’t that bad.
Dean: I’m lost.
Rory: It’s a dance.

Be as clear and concise as possible in every piece of copy you create so your readers don’t get confused. You want them to be able to read and digest your content quickly.

Your Marketing Plan

Plan Ahead

Rory: Note to self: Impulsive definitely does not work for me.

It’s important to create a marketing plan and then stick to it. Sit down and figure out what goals you want to achieve, how you’ll get there and when you’ll evaluate its success.


Lorelai: Don’t study so much that you get brilliant, go mad, grow a big bald egghead, and try to take over the world, OK? ‘Cause I want to go shoe shopping this weekend.
Rory: Promise. I will not go mad until we get you some boots.

As you create your marketing plan, brainstorm tactics you think would best achieve your goals and then prioritize which ones you want to try first. Then, in 6 months to a year, evaluate how they went so you can determine if you need to continue with your current strategy, make a few small changes or go in a completely new direction.

Be Flexible (There’s Always a Plan B)

Notebook with Plan A crossed out and Plan B below it.

Do you have a plan B for your marketing? How are you remaining flexible?

Paris: What if I fall for him but he doesn’t like me?
Rory: You’ll find someone else.
Paris: What if there is no one else?
Rory: Then you’ll get some cats.

Just like with everything else, marketing plans sometimes don’t turn out the way we’d expect. Be flexible and view failed strategies as an opportunity to learn and improve.

Nothing is Instant

Lorelai: Okay, I know I was the one that said I was craving mashed potatoes, but, oh my God, they’re a lot of work.
Rory: It’s instant mashed potatoes. Key word: instant.
Lorelai: Oh, no, not instant. I have to mix water and butter into it, not to mention the adding of salt and pepper.

Successful marketing takes time. Even though running Facebook ads or updating your blog regularly can be fantastic tactics to implement, they won’t double or triple your sales overnight. Keep at it to see long-term results.

Be Creative

Rory: You should walk down the aisle to Frank Sinatra, with a huge bouquet of something that smells really good.
Lorelai: Pot roast!

How often do you infuse creativity into your marketing strategy? Don’t be afraid to try something new!

Pay Attention

Rory: Jamie just asked you out on a date.
Paris: He did?
Rory: Yes
Paris: Did I accept?
Rory: Yes.
Paris: I’m going out on a date?
Rory: Yes you are.
Paris: Oh man, I finally get asked out on a date and I missed it.

Do you look at your analytics regularly? They’re one of the best ways to see what your readers and followers are telling you! Make sure that at least every 4-6 weeks you look at your website, social media and email marketing data. As you review the analytics, make note of popular posts, clicked links and trends that may help you finesse your marketing strategy.

Change Your Perspective

Lane: I don’t know what happened. I mean I was just standing there and then he bends over and his hair falls forward and suddenly it’s like my hand has a life of its own.
Lorelai: Sounds like your hand had a little help from your hormones.
Lane: God I was so humiliated! I can’t ever go back to school. I’ll have to be home schooled, my mother finally gets her way.
Lorelai: Look at it from a different perspective. You have so many years of screw ups ahead of you, view this as a trial run for really grown-up humiliation.
Lane: So not helping.
Lorelai: Maybe you should be a hair-dresser.
Lane: Lorelai!
Lorelai: Yes, it’s perfect. Then you can run your hands through anybody’s hair you want and they’ll pay you for it.

Instead of looking at a failed marketing tactic as a waste of time, learn everything you can from it. Then turn around, use what you learned and come up with a new way to achieve your business’ marketing goals.

If you haven’t had a chance to watch Gilmore Girls yet, I’d highly recommend it! While you enjoy life in Stars Hollow with Lorelai and Gilmore, keep an eye out for more marketing lessons you can glean from the dialogue! In the meantime, check out these blog posts for additional insight into Gilmore Girls, marketing, public relations and more.

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