Three Music Marketing Strategies and Real Opportunity

Posted By Joe Pulizzi on September 03, 2008

Marketing in music is becoming more complicated and confusing than ever before. It's creating fear for traditional marketers and great opportunity for those willing to take small, calculated risks.

Here is a link to an excellent article by Bruce Murdy in the Charleston Regional Business Journal about the major shifts going on in marketing.  Couple of important takeaways include:

  • The 1.7% increase in advertising spend (Advertising Age) in the past year is the lowest increase since 2001.
  • The lines between what is advertising and what is not is increasingly getting blurred.
  • The fastest growing areas of marketing spend are all non-traditional. According to investment firm VSS, Word-of-Mouth and Branded Content/Custom Publishing are the fastest growing areas.
  • The time and opportunity is now to get aggressive with your marketing budgets.

If you live in the marketing world as I do, none of this information is surprising...but the wakeup call is appreciated. Smart brands are starting to make some significant and aggressive moves into the music space to take advantage of the evolving marketing climate. Brands like Intel and Microsoft are leveraging user-generated content in new ways to get closer to music fans at a recent festival in San Francisco. Artists are going outside the traditional artist/label relationship and starting to partner with smart brands who need to know they must marketing differently.

All this is being done so that brands can get closer to their target customer - the music fan. They have to be more than their products and services to these fans, and traditional marketing just isn't cutting it anymore.

It's hard to blame traditional marketing. I mean, it's pretty much stayed the same for decades after feasting upon an unbelievable amount of "non-change" for far too long. Now, that lack of change is creating chaos for marketing executives that have well-worn models and long-term relationships with agencies that are still following the old code. That means a real opportunity for those that are willing to take a few risks today for a large payoff in the future.

Three Marketing Strategies for NOW

Targeting buyers in the music space is anything but easy, but changes must clearly be made in order to make an impact on the bottom line.  Here are three alternative strategies that will be thought of as second nature in the next few years.

  1. Consider "Being the Media" instead of "Surrounding the Media". Your buyers are looking for trusted, expert resources wherever they can get them.  Why can't that trusted resource be you instead of a media property? Next time you have a great idea for a story, create it yourself.
  2. "Talk with" instead of "Talk at". New campaigns targeted to music lovers and buyers need a conversation component. Buyers are getting smarter everyday and shutting out brands that don't let them be part of the branded experience. Let them in. Heck, it's not your brand anyway (it's theirs).
  3. More than your products. All brands want to create products that make the lives of their customers more fulfilling in some way. Consider doing the same with your marketing.  Ask yourself if you are helping your customers live better or work smarter simply through your communications. If you can create that kind of experience through your marketing, don't you think they'd want to buy your products?

Effective communication within music marketing is becoming more than selling. It's actually becoming human. It's less about the slick advertising campaigns and more about creating trust. Isn't that the way it should be?

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The Amplifier Blog is brought to you by the music lovers at Amplifier Content Marketing. Our ever-evolving blog offers insights reflecting the aspects of our work, the content marketing industry, and marketing to consumers through music-oriented content. Get involved!

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