Mat Chacon

Oct 8, 2020

9 min read

Why Every Marketer Should Binge-Watch Emily in Paris NOW!!!

Photo credit: Augustin de Montesquiou

Emily in Paris is no basic b*tch!

If you’re a marketing professional and not watching the breakout Netflix hit Emily in Paris, stop reading this and go binge the entire season… now! Don’t wait. Do it now! Then, after you “Netflix and Chill” come back to this article. Your future self will thank you. =)

Emily in Paris tells the story of a young American midwestern marketing executive who is transplanted to the city of lights after her company purchases a luxury marketing agency in Paris. Once there, she lives a croissant-fueled, dreamlike existence while draped in sublime styles and pursued by beautiful lovers and fast friends.

While there is no doubt that this plucky French kiss is exactly what the world needs in global quarantine right now, do not let this lighthearted feast for the eyes fool you.

Emily in Paris is a Masterclass in marketing.

SPOILER ALERT! Before you read on, know that I will disclose certain plot points of Season 1 in order to support my thesis that this show is your guide to marketing in the new millennium. Also, while I am not a Parisian, I have been to Paris many, many times and let me tell you that seeing someone dressed as Emily is in Paris is tantamount to seeing someone walk in LA… They just don’t do it!

So, say adieu to your conventional notions of how to market and embrace the Franco guide to fortune!

Know your market

Avoid the “fake it ‘til you make it” faux pas. In the season opener Emily Cooper, played by the talented Lily Collins, makes this all too common rookie mistake. Although she is a well-educated, strong and confident — albeit newly minted — marketing executive, Emily’s all-American can-do attitude is straight out of the Gary V playbook and immediately works against her. She quickly learns that a strategy built on a foundation of hopes and dreams only works if you work harder. Her enthusiasm for an exciting, new opportunity eclipses her need to learn anything about the new market and culture she’s about to dive into headfirst. This becomes painfully evident as she mumbles her way through the streets of Paris, not taking the time to learn even basic French phrases before arriving. Emily continues concocting her soup sandwich through the first day at her new job as she fumbles through her inaugural meeting with her new co-workers and boss where she tries in vain to market herself. Needless to say, she does not make a good first impression. Her only command of French culture comes from American pop-culture… and that is not good.

The first two episodes paint the portrait of someone drowning beneath a roiling sea of overconfidence, ego, and ignorant arrogance. As a professional marketer, Emily knows her craft and understands the clear benefits of a strong social media marketing strategy. But it is her enthusiasm and direct experience of employing successful tactics to collect, analyze and distribute social marketing data in an American market that hinders her success overseas. She leaps without looking. But, more importantly, she leaps without listening.

But, instead of succumbing to the tragic ending of her inner Van Gogh, she immerses herself in this new market and employs clear active listening skills that enable her to stay afloat in a life raft of trust that is earned. Simply put, Emily learns to listen first, and sell second.

This helps her truly understand the wants and needs of her clients and work with them, side-by-side, to earn their trust, develop credibility and eventually win together by employing the social media marketing skills she has mastered.

The lesson here is to never enter a new market thinking you know better than those who have existed there long before you arrived. Emily quickly learned this and stopped trying to convince her co-workers and customers with her words and, instead, just let her actions speak for her. That led to Emily earning trust and respect that did not exist prior.

This is an important lesson as a marketer. Know your market, deeply, thoughtfully, so that you can delight your customers through your actions and have them saying, “You had me at bonjour!”

Social is the new black

With every new season, there are things that fall out of fashion and others that spring up and become the one new thing people just can’t seem to live without. In our current season of marketing, that new thing is social media and it has maintained its dominance as the clear winner of all things sales and marketing for some time now. Emily knows this and her command of this new marketing medium results in immediate wins as she grows her social media following and leverages it to reach otherwise inaccessible people when she is retweeted by Brigitte Macron.

As a marketer, Emily understands that engagement with one dedicated follower is far more important the the number of followers alone. She didn’t achieve this by devising creative schemes to persuade decision makers into partnering with her. Like the proprietor of a petite boulangerie greeting customers at the door, Emily leads her social media strategy with honesty and transparency. Her growing audience responds well to her authenticity and this, in turn, dramatically expands her social reach and organically opens new doors through legitimate engagement with actual taste makers.

But, Emily also understands that the world of social media marketing is both local and global and she must balance a freer European expression with a more chased global audience. What works in France may not work elsewhere. She helps her clients understand this and works diligently to protect their brand identity while not being tone deaf to the current cultural moment. Though not everyone is convinced and just as camps are being formed to support one strategy over another, Emily successfully avoids a #BattleRoyale by directly asking the consumers which strategy they prefer in a transparent social media poll. This helps drive the decision-making process through empirical evidence conceived from direct customer input.

In a world of social media marketing, content is both King and Queen. Just be sure to balance a support of your clients with listening to your audience so as not to end up like the ill-fated King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

On influencers and influence

In today’s world of social media marketing, you must work diligently to avoid dangerous liaisons with people that will hurt your brand. After all, most of the people swimming in the public pool of your social media following are complete strangers and the only thing you know about each other is what each of you post.

It is more often the rule than the exception that so-called social media influencers are nothing more than sell-outs looking to expand their following through ego posting. They care more about free swag than they care about your company or brand identity. So tread lightly when partnering with people who have only a perceived influence and not real credibility, skills or trust.

Emily has a keen sense to separate the merde from the meaningful. As a professional marketer, she’s developed a keen understanding of the difference between social influencers and true influence. Influencers more often than not post about themselves and not the brand or product they’re supposed to be promoting. But, this is not their fault. After all, they’re not professional marketers. They’re ego posting to gain more followers and only promote their personal brand and not the brand that hired them.

While marketing today must make focused use of social media influencers, professional marketers like Emily know that they need to thoughtfully build social media marketing campaigns around highly curated brand ambassadors and not simple self-promoters. She helps her clients separate from the bad seeds and say, “C’est la vie,” to the faux amis!

It’s important to know the difference between social reach and a social leech.

As you market your brand, beware the social media influencers. Most of them are people with no real marketing skills and do nothing that you cannot already do yourself. Platforms fail, companies are acquired, and brands move on. It is an unfortunate reality that most social media influencers will one day find themselves without a social platform, lose their followers and be on the job market in their mid-thirties with no marketable skills outside of taking selfies and writing bland copy.

Pivot quickly

As Emily navigates the complexities of marketing for luxury clientele in a new region, she makes simple mistakes that have grave consequences. But, instead of viewing her failures as fatalistic, she learns from them and quickly recovers. She leverages her education and experience to instinctively go from flop to favorite.

Emily understands today’s consumer because she is today’s consumer. She knows the value of creating a truly emotional connection with real people and not merely promoting unrealistic expectations of becoming a heavily filtered Instagram model in inaccessible locales.

Now, using social media marketing to build an aspirational brand is a clearly beneficial strategy. But, that brand must also be accessible in some regard, even to the Ringarde. Otherwise, you risk closing doors to new customers who will not suffer from FOMO — the fear of missing out — but will actively seek a better option that makes more sense for them and your brand will die a slow and painful death.

Social media polls are a great way to rapidly collect customer input for product-market fit. Emily makes active use of this strategy to test her ideas and quickly navigates to deliver what consumers are, well… consuming. It is her creative use of data-driven customer feedback that helps Emily convince her clients to pursue a direction that will be mutually beneficial to them and their target audience.

Do this and, voila, everybody wins!

Embrace the unconventional

Emily consistently proves herself to be a master of embracing avant-garde strategies and tactics to help her customers win. She works hard to understand the intricacies of her client’s businesses and laser focuses on creative approaches to product marketing that slap the face of convention and say, “En garde!”

This creative approach enables her to help a struggling Champagne house on the brink of fizzling out market their bubbly surplus under a youthful new brand that doubles sales. She employs similar marketing strategies to breathe new life into a Couture house with a legacy that speaks more to the elegant Helen Mirren and Mylene Demongeot likes of the world than the up and coming Millie Bobby Brown and Raven Goodwin “Draft Class.”

But, when her customers don’t want to follow her unconventional approaches, Emily avoids an uncomfortable tete-a-tete and finds new ways to work alongside them that respects their legacy while breaking down barriers to new markets and greater success.


Emily is the epitome of a modern marketer. She’s tech-forward and actively connected to her clients and their customers through social media. She passionately dreams alongside each of them and sincerely operates in their best interest at all times. No customer is too big or small, and Emily is always thinking of ways to marry marketing and sales for big wins. She’s an unapologetic rule-breaker with a proven track record of success.

Binge watch Emily in Paris, once for pure entertainment and then again with notepad in hand. Ignore the obvious plot holes, like how a twenty-something at the beginning of her career can afford a different $5k handbag with each new outfit or the fact that she’s basically the worst friend ever as she hides a burgeoning love affair with the boyfriend of a girl who only treats Emily with a sweet and heart-felt kindness. If you can do this, then you can learn the masterful marketing of someone who just gets it and say, “Merci,” to Emily!

About me:

I’m no country mouse in the big city of marketing. I’m the founder and CEO of Doghead Simulations, a virtual reality company in Seattle, WA who studied marketing at Rutgers Business School and completed studies at Harvard Business School. I used these experiences to personally build 100% of my company’s marketing strategies and tactics that we’ve employed for the past 4.5 years. Our social media marketing strategy is the cornerstone of our customer traction and has helped us become a revenue-generating global powerhouse in immersive education and training that has attracted some of the world’s best-known companies and led to legitimate network effects. We’ve grown our entire company through social media and have spent exactly zero dollars on advertising since we started in 2016. If I had the benefit of this cheerful comedy-drama when I started out, I’d be Champagne sipping on the Seine rather than writing this article. #CestLaVie =)

For more thoughts, essays and other fun posts, you can find and directly message me on Twitter @TheVRCEO or here on Medium, using my name, Mat Chacon.

Me at my computer… always at my computer… =)