The Goonies for grown-ups

Aug 28th, 2015

The Goonies has the dual accolade of having been a box office hit and enduring cult classic, and this year celebrates its 30th anniversary. But what’s that got to do with search marketing?

The story is about a group of kids who set out on an adventure to unearth pirate treasure in order to save their neighbourhood from destruction by developers. The gang must pool together all of their skills and ingenuity to triumph against the adversity they inevitably meet – which is where I spotted solutions for some of the challenges presented by search marketing…

Know your audience

In the early 80s, Steven Spielberg was already renowned for his knack of creating big screen blockbusters that appealed to all the family, having had previous hits with ET and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Audiences (and studio execs) were expecting smart, fast-paced, funny and exciting and that’s exactly what Spielberg gave them with The Goonies.

Hidden treasure: You may not have Spielberg’s magic or a budget of millions, but you can emulate his success in your marketing efforts by identifying what it is your customers want and making sure you consistently deliver it. Whether you’re focusing on SEO, display advertising or content marketing, the best way to get insights into how to engage your target audience is through thorough customer research and market analysis. Our blog goes into further detail on best practices for connecting with customers and prospects through inbound marketing.

Tell your brand’s story to build trust

With each of the Goonies, Spielberg develops characters that kids of all ages can relate to, despite the outlandishness of situations in which they find themselves. Each is resourceful in their own way, but also has disarming frailties, concerns and habits that bring them to life.

Apparently, the child cast improvised much of the film’s dialogue, which meant they interacted like real teenagers, making their on-screen relationships feel authentic.

Hidden treasure: People respond when you engage with them on an emotional level. That’s when you capture their attention and, if you can hold their interest, that’s when you inspire them to take action and convert. Make them want to keep coming back or make contact with you to find out what happens next in your story.

Have a map…

goonies map


While rummaging in Mikey’s attic at the beginning of the film, the kids find an ancient treasure map and an intriguing old news article about a pirate named One-Eyed Willy. Legend has it that his long-lost loot is hidden nearby and the Goonies set out on a mission to find it, kickstarting their adventure of a lifetime…

Hidden treasure: Like the Goonies, have a map. You need a marketing plan that defines your objectives and plots a route to achieving them. Like with all good adventures, there will be obstacles thrown in your way, outside interferences  and circumstances you can’t plan for, so your map needs to be flexible enough to allow you to remain focused when circumstances threaten to throw you off track. Your plan needs to plot out an actionable strategy, with the flexibility to refine your tactics as you go. That’s all part of the adventure.

Convince and influence

The Goonies gang is made up of different characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses: a group of individuals with a range of complementary skills and qualities who work together to achieve their mission.

Mikey’s the leader with a vision who keeps the others inspired and motivated; Data’s a resourceful if accident-prone gadget genius; Chunk may be a compulsive liar but he’s a loyal friend; Mouth’s got the gift of the gab, and popular cheerleader Andy proves she’s as tough as the other Goonies.

Hidden treasure: Search marketing is a multi-stranded discipline and no single factor guarantees success. You need a combination of approaches and a team with a range of complementary skillsets and qualities.

Have a clear call to action

Source: YouTube

Baddie-turned-good-guy Sloth knows he can always get the Goonies’ attention by shouting: “Hey, you guys!”.

Hidden treasure: Ask yourself what you want your readers to do once they’ve read or consumed my content. Whether you’re looking to generate sales, have your article shared across social media or drive more traffic to other content, having a strong call-to-action is crucial.

Keep an eye on your competitors

The Goonies aren’t the only gang out to find One-Eyed Willy’s treasure: they had to stay one step ahead of the Fratellis, a ruthless criminal family. But the kids outsmarted the baddies and even learnt from their mistakes to ensure the success of their own quest.

Hidden treasure: By monitoring your competitors’ activity you can learn how to differentiate your own business, exploit their weaknesses and get great ideas to improve your own strategy. Read our blog on 10 things your competitors can teach you about content marketing.

Arm yourself with gadgets

inventions of data


Data always had a trick up his sleeve (or in his shoes), such as the Pinchers of Peril or the Bully Blinders, no matter what obstacles were thrown the Goonies’ way. His gadgets may have defied the laws of physics and logic, but the passion and ingenuity Data put into each of his inventions saved the whole gang from the jaws of danger throughout the film.

Hidden treasure: Thankfully, technology’s got lots better in the past 30 years. We advocate using widgets that help you use your time most productively, such as Sprout or Hootsuite for social media scheduling; Google Analytics for tracking web stats and reporting; or SEMrush to make your marketing slicker. There are loads of tools, both free and paid for, to make your life easier, amplify your message a few notches further and increase your reach.

Collaborate for mutual benefit

After he’s kidnapped by the Fratellis, Chunk and Sloth form such a close bond that Sloth decides break allegience with his criminal family to join forces with Chunk and his friends and is even willing to sacrifice himself to save them. Both characters gain strength from the connection they create – and their bond is pivotal to the plot and in shaping the film’s happy ending.

Hidden treasure: Building relationships with well-respected bloggers and social influencers who can link back to your site will help you to build an ethical backlink profile which, in turn, will help to strengthen your site’s position in search results. Read about our Outreach service to find out more.

Be creative and unique

Chunk doing the Truffle Shuffle is one of the things people remember most from the film. Why? Because it was weird, unusual, unique. It was funny and a bit pathetic at the same time. The Truffle Shuffle still features prominently on cult merchandise.

Hidden treasure: Be memorable. Be remarkable. Be a little contraversial if it works for your brand. Differentiate. Work your USP.

Source: YouTube

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