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Dancing robots: What they can teach us about marketing

Fist up, watch this mind blowing display of both technological innovation and marketing brilliance, then let's talk.

I hope your mind was as blown as mine was when I first saw this. Unlike much of what has happened in 2020, this one made me proud of my fellow humanity. We’re living in unprecedented times. There are people doing amazing things, and it’s truly inspiring.

So… Why does a robotics company spend the time and money to make robots dance? Isn’t that a complete waste of time and energy? Couldn’t the programming required to pull that off be put back into making the robots more effective at what they’re going to be sold to do?

Boston Dynamics supplies very expensive, very cutting edge technology to the few agencies on earth who can afford them and justify their use. Their target market can probably fit on a single sheet of paper. So why did they put so much time into creating that youtube video for the rest of us?

I’ll only go into a couple, but many reasons exist. The first one is just too interesting not to mention, and the second one applies to our industry. I would wager that one issue the robotics industry faces is acceptance and trust. We’re about to witness robots taking on more responsibilities than ever before. If you’ve read any of my other pieces, I talk a lot about how we as humans hold on to our responsibilities as a form of validation and self worth. The robotics industry is no doubt facing increasing pushback from humans who feel threatened. I would assume that the most effective pushback campaign mounted by humans would be to emphasize that these machines are dangerous, cold, and severely limited.

This video jumps right over the target market and lands into the hands of the humans working right alongside the robots. The song choice is no random act, but a stroke of genius. It cfonjures images of nostalgic high school dances in more simple times. Every time that iconic voice begs “do you love me?” we can’t help (even subconsciously) affirm… “Yes, yes I love you, dancing robot!”. Boston Dynamics has effectively reduced the sales cycle by reducing concerns from the target market’s employees. It’s a brilliant move.

The second one I want to talk about is more obvious, and one I think we can easily apply to our industry. Boston Dynamics figured out a way to showcase their product in an unbelievably creative way without us knowing we’re even being sold. They showed us how capable their product is and entertained us at the same time. They could have come up with a list of all the movements the robots were capable of. They could have made a brochure about the range of arm motions, the speed of movement, and how the noise levels were reduced 12 db from the last version. They didn’t, they know better. They know how to really sell us!

How do we sell things in our industry? Do we fall into the same old boring methods of selling and marketing our products, or are we doing this kind of thing? Can you imagine how much your customers would appreciate you if you could figure out how to sell them like this? What is your dancing robot? Find it, create it, and please… share it!

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