Four Things Criminal Minds Can Teach Us About Inbound Marketing

Criminal Minds is a police procedural crime drama that follows the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) as they travel the US helping local law enforcement catch various criminals through behavioral profiling.

Criminal Minds differs from many procedural dramas by focusing on profiling the criminal, called the unsub or “unknown subject”, rather than the crime itself.

Profiling the Unsub

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When the BAU arrive their location, they ask the local law enforcement questions, they visit the crime scene, talk to witnesses (if any), and talk to people that knew the victim(s). Then at a point they often say “it’s time to deliver the profile”. They assemble the local law enforcement and give a profile. Their profile always gives an incredibly detailed demography including the unsubs gender, age, race, education, income and occupation all based on information they have gathered from their interviews, some research, observations and experience. Once they have their profile fully developed, they usually have Garcia, their tech analyst lookup people that fit the profile and they are eventually able to narrow this usually massive pool down to the unsub. Buyer Personas work the exact same way and are extremely important in inbound marketing or any type of successful marketing. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. When building buyer persona(s), it’s imperative to consider customer demographics and behavior patterns. Just like with building the unsub profile.

Aligning with Local Law Enforcement

The BAU almost never fight over jurisdiction and rarely go where they’re not invited. They’re always quick to remind local law enforcement that there are there to help and never want to pose a threat. The BAU don’t know the terrain like the local law enforcement and would be stupid to go at it alone. Most times when they get on the scene however, they meet a clueless police force unsure of their first move, but as they begin to work together, not only are they able to build a profile, they are able to solve the case rather quickly. This is not unlike Marketing and Sales. The BAU represent the marketing team and the Local law enforcement represent the sales team. Without the synergy of marketing and sales nothing can be done successfully. Marketers need to understand their role is to help sales and sales should never consider marketing a threat.

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Working with the right tools

Even though the BAU is usually able to develop accurate profiles, these profiles are almost hopeless if tech analyst Penelope Garcia is unable to use her tools to decipher this information. With a few key strokes, Garcia is almost always able to point them closer towards the unsub. I remember one time Garcia was unable to use most of these tools because of a power outage. It wasn’t impossible to get the job done, it just took a lot more time and stress. In Inbound, without the right tools and processes, hitting your goals is equally difficult, time-consuming and extremely stressful.

Rechecking the profile

In an episode I recently watched, someone was killing women and dressing them in cheerleader’s outfits. The BAU had delivered their profile which suggested that the unsub was a man between 30 and 40. Working with this profile, they were unable to get any real leads. After another potential victim was taken, they looked at the profile again and tweaked it adjusting the unsubs age to 19-25 with this adjustment they were almost immediately able to discover who the unsub was. Qualified leads are important in marketing and these leads are generated based on your buyer persona. If you don’t have a piece right, it could jeopardize the entire campaign. It is important to continue to check and adjust your persona as you measure success.

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