5 Marketing Lessons by Taylor Swift


5 Marketing Lessons by Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift has been in the limelight more than ever in the last few weeks. Her record 1989 won Album of the Year at the Grammy’s, arguably the most prestigious recognition awarded at the annual ceremony. Days earlier Kanye West had pulled a Kanye again and Swift elegantly fired back, inspiring young women worldwide. This week, she donated $ 250.000 to Kesha after a court ruling established that she will have to continue working with her producer and alleged abuser Dr. Luke.

Beyond her success, both as a musical phenomenon and as a role model, Taylor is also a very gifted marketer: whether or not you are a die-hard Swift fan, her marketing campaigns can be of inspiration to your business. Consider the marketing campaign behind her 1989 album: whilst advertising her latest record, Swift managed to achieve two of the main goals of any marketing campaign: retain existing users and attract new fans by instilling humanity, humor and interest in her brand. Sure, Swift has an enormous, pretty much unlimited marketing budget, but the following tips will guide you through being more creative in your marketing efforts without necessarily spending millions.

#1 Build a demographic profile.

Who is your target audience? Who will benefit the most from your product? If your business is operating on the web, do you know where your customers spend time online?

Defining your user personas is fundamental for you to generate a marketing plan and know where to direct your efforts. You probably have a target audience in mind – that is, you know who you want to reach – but the tricky part is to discover who wants to be reached by you. That is, who will be interested in your product? As a digital marketer for a video game company, I had a very clear idea of what my audience would be like. To my surprise, market research has taught me that mobile gaming demographics are constantly shifting, and this is the case for all businesses. Taylor Swift has been able to re-invent herself, going from Country Princess to Pop Superstar, adapting her music style to what resonates most with her past and perspective fans. As a business owner, you should think ahead and keep track of how your target audience is evolving, offering them the best product to satisfy their needs.

#2 Product Samples

A month before the release of 1989, her latest album, Swift invited groups of 89 fans, individually hand-picked by the singer herself, to listen to her record for the first time. These were known as The Secret Sessions, “little living room parties where I [Swift] am going to play my fans my album first”. Cookies were eaten, polaroids taken and Swift gave her fans a preview of her new product. Whatever your business is offering, customer retention is fundamental. Giving freebies, offering free trials or giving previews to your most loyal customers will help you thrive in today’s very competitive markets.

#3 Teasing

Thinking about your next email marketing campaign? Looking for new ways to entice new and existing customers? Teasing is a great way to attract clients before the official launch of your product or service, which enables you to create anticipation, curiosity and interest about your new business idea. This has to be done in (at least) two steps: first you deliver an enigmatic message, a hint, a clue to your audience, then the revelation of your product. Whilst Swift spent enormous budgets on her teasing campaigns following the Secret Sessions, you can achieve the same effect by using relatively cost-effective means: YouTube videos, images or email marketing. Rather than including a link to your company’s website, send your leads to your targeted landing page: the latter allows you to showcase your product in greater detail, but also to collect demographic information about your prospects you can easily study and segment.

Secret Session

#4 Partnership Marketing

Swift has famously pulled down her entire catalogue from Spotify, attracting both criticism and support from fellow artists. However, the singer has also established very successful partnerships with companies of the likes of Coca-Cola, Microsoft and its rival Apple. The popstar is an ambassador for Diet Coke, having starred in two ads for the company. Cleverly, Swift associated herself with a product her fans largely consume whilst sneaking in a preview of her album 1989. You can watch one of the two ads here.

By virtue of a strategic association, partnership marketing adds value to both brands and it’s a core marketing strategy for big companies: think of the established co-promotions sponsored by Coca-Cola and McDonald’s or the Nike and Apple partnership. Small business too should take advantage of this particular strategy: with promotional partnerships you will leverage additional value by tailoring your marketing activities to fit with those from another business.

#5 Social Media

If you’re running your business’ online presence, you will certainly appear on a number of social networks. Being present across a number of platforms can be tricky: each has its different peculiarities. Tools such as HootSuite, for example, allow you to manage all your social media profiles from one location: however, each social platform is different. Tumblr, for instance, is a crossover between different platforms where (mostly) millennials share content, but it is widely known that its users see it as a true community. Swift, who has 70 million followers on Twitter only, joined Tumblr in September and has adapted her content to her audience, turning it into a more intimate space to share with fans.

For your social media marketing strategy to be effective, you need to craft your story differently for each platform, finding new and engaging ways to communicate with your customers. Use Instagram for stunning visuals of your products, Twitter for customer support and Facebook to establish your authority through amazing content.

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