9 Lessons from Frank Underwood for Digital Marketing Professionals – WAU

The fifth season of House of Cards just debuted – yes, it did but it has arrived – and we are looking forward to seeing what we can still expect from Frank Underwood. The series created by Beau Willimon stars the incredible American actor Kevin Spacey as the ambitious politician (Machiavellian, but we hate to love) […]

The fifth season of House of Cards just debuted – yes, it did but it has arrived – and we are looking forward to seeing what we can still expect from Frank Underwood.

The series created by Beau Willimon stars the incredible American actor Kevin Spacey as the ambitious politician (Machiavellian, but we hate to love) who aims for a high public office in Washington.

By then I’m sure you must be tired of knowing! But what can House of Cards teach to us, Digital Marketing professionals?

We have prepared a list with 9 lessons that fit perfectly into our routine.

Text inspired by Monetate’s presentation: Frank Underwood’s Lessons For Digital Marketers.

Before we start …

It is important that you know some things… The first is: we don’t want to give spoilers! We know how much it can destroy relationships and that is not our goal here with you!

The second point is that, regardless of whether you like Frank Underwood or not, one thing we must admit: the guy is good! Following your political and personal journey makes anyone reflect on their own construction of character and professionalism, so we indicate the series.

For this reason, we were able to learn Marketing – and life lessons – not only from the character, but from the marketing strategies used by Netflix to advertise and promote the series during these 5 years.

So let’s move on to the lessons on what to do and what not to do!

Lesson 1: Know your audience

The starting point that we must learn from Frank Underwood is simple. Despite this, not everyone is able to execute correctly.

Instead of simply talking about you and your company, use your digital channels to know what your audience wants to know. Create personas, know your interests and do keyword research that will help you understand what your customers want to see.

Frank’s big difference – besides, of course, his lack of scruples – but what makes him stand out from his opponents is precisely because he “Think with the audience’s mind”.

Using this type of information is essential to gain the trust of your visitors so that, at the right time, they become leads. And this is the main first step that any professional needs to start investing in Marketing.

Lesson 2: Have clear goals

Another thing that definitely cannot be doubted.

Since the beginning of the series, Frank and Claire have clear goals for the future, and so we need to admire the focus and the hard work – and we know, often criminals – that these two do to win it.

The same goes for a Marketing strategy, whatever it may be. Without a goal it is very easy for you to get distracted throughout the process and end up losing track of your actions and generating average results (or no results at all).

A good Marketing strategy is guided by a clear north: where I want to go with my actions. Increase customer retention? Generate authority? Win new customers? Launch a new product on the market? No matter what yours is!

The most important thing is to know the reason why your investments in Marketing are being made and, from there, trace the best way to conquer them!

(But, please, within the law!)

And just like them, whenever you achieve a goal, you can define a new one and thus chart a successful path.

Lesson 3: Be everywhere

“Power is a lot like real estate. It’s all about location, location, location. The closer you are to the source, the higher your property value. ”

What that means, in fact, is that you should dedicate your efforts to be where your audience is and establish a relationship with them. Whether through social networks, email or any other channel that your persona is in and that also makes sense for your goals.

Think about how many times Claire and Frank went on trips simply to get in touch with voters, be in the media and make appearances to promote their image and also the relationship with the public? Now that’s a good Marketing positioning!

Also, think mobile! The growth in the number of mobile users on the internet is staggering. A good amount of your accesses can come from smartphones and tablets and your channels must be optimized for such platforms.

So create and invest in responsive blogs and websites. This is the path to success!

Lesson 4: Invest in customer relationships

Even before a bomb goes off, Francis – and I felt very Claire in saying that – is ready to go to the source, make his appearance and make room for people to debate him about it.

As much as they disagree with most of their positions, the simple fact of making themselves available is also a differential of the former congressman in his campaigns.

The idea of ​​sending out amazing offers like coupons, discounts and even unique opportunities may make sense at some point. But remember that this type of content is easily overlooked and, over time, if you don’t develop a good strategy for nutrition, those contacts will forget about you.

What is the best strategy to always be in the spotlight of your visitors, prospects and customers? Relationship. Be open to communication, answer questions from your contacts and be proactive in creating opportunities for interaction.

There is no recipe for cake, but to be remembered it is necessary to focus your efforts on strategies that create a connection with your audience.

Lesson 5: No one gets anywhere alone

Think about how many alliances Frankie and Claire have made over the course of all these seasons.

Long-lasting or not, they relied on the influence and good relations to make your goals even more possible.

Besides, what is Frank without Claire and Claire without Frank, isn’t it ?!

In Marketing, this couldn’t be more true. Firstly, it is essential to integrate actions with the work of the rest of the company so that there is consistency in the message passed on in any contact that a potential customer has with your business.

Especially between Marketing and Sales – what we affectionately call Vendarketing – this alignment is essential, as these are two sectors that complement each other: as a attracts new customers, the other works for good retention, and together they contribute to customer loyalty.

In addition, partnering with companies that speak the same language as you can help you attract new opportunities through partnerships and co-marketings, where everyone can only win!

Lesson 6: Think about different content formats

If you, like me, arrived in season 5, you will understand better than anyone how much Frank Underwood has invested, throughout the series, in different content formats: letters, announcements, public appearances, videos, audios, an almost -book…. and so on!

This guarantees for you, Marketing professional, the communication “without interference” with the most different audiences, attending to the most diverse preferences and moments of the Customer Journey.

Different channels, platforms, types and formats encourage generating value and the authority of a business, help to engage the audience and also increase your chances of assessing your audience’s behavior.

Lesson 7: Don’t be afraid to dare

We agree that Frank’s ideals and plans are, at the very least, bold. Many times during the series you think “This is not possible!” or “Who thinks like that?”, and suddenly, he is impressed with the character’s ingenuity and, let’s say, creativity.

Another absolute truth linked to Marketing, mainly to Digital Marketing.

People are bombarded with content and ads every day, and many of them are already tired of receiving them, either because there are no more timing or because it is “just more of the same”.

Remember that originality counts points and conquers people, so don’t be afraid to dare and try new formats, actions, ideas and projects, as long as, as we’ve already said, they make sense for your goals and your persona!

Lesson 8: Take advantage of opportunities

Here is a round of applause not only for Frank and Claire Underwood, but also for Netflix.

For the characters for not leaving none opportunity never passes, however much it represents something really disgusting.

For Netflix, in particular, for always taking advantage of the context of the launch of your series and making disclosures and actions that really impress!

Recently, close to the release of the 5th season, the company’s social networks made several mentions relating the series to the London political context, such as the video made by actor Michael Kelly who plays the character – as unscrupulous as – Doug Stamper.

Another example was the “subtle” tweet May 17, comparing the problems faced in the series, politically, with those faced by Brazilians:

frank underwood twitter

This goes for Netflix shares and also for your business!

It is clear that controversial topics such as politics, religion and football are not the best subject options, but taking advantage of opportunities to create Marketing actions can considerably increase your engagement – note the number of retweets that this message 3 words there was, including mine!

Lesson 9: Don’t stand still, get to work!

Planning is very important, but where would Francis and Claire be if they hadn’t got their hands dirty – sometimes almost literally – to achieve their goals?

Don’t let the insecurity and fear of failure stop you from working. Start acting!

Run according to plan – and we’ve already talked about the importance of goals – and always measure your results. This is the only way to know if your efforts are achieving what was planned and this will also be your thermometer for making decisions, guiding your next actions, just as it has guided Frank’s journey.


In addition to playing Frank Underwood, Kevin was also the keynote speaker for Content Marketing World 2014, with an incredible talk on content marketing and storytelling. You can check it out in the video below:

House of Cards is a series that, besides being very controversial, explains in a very intelligent way how important it is plan every step towards success. And Frank Underwood himself is a character that has made history and that each episode brings a new lesson, be it what to do or what – definitely – not to do!

So, if you don’t watch it, get started! If you watch, let’s go together for the 5th season and take the opportunity to comment on new lessons that this season has been teaching you!