Info Info - Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Rick Springfield is Marketing Genius
Remember Rick Springfield? Probably not, right. Think 1982 and Jessie’s Girl, still struggling? Well it turns out that his fans remember him. Rick is working on the Nine Inch Nail’s model of connecting with fans + reason to buy = $$$ (Look up Michael Masnick’s talk here if you don’t know what I am talking about.)
Rick is so good at it he has made a documentary about his fans love for him and his love for his fans. View the trailer here - http://rickspringfielddoc.com/
Talk about connecting with your fans. Personally my favourite bit was “he can do whatever he wants to Jessie’s Girl, just so long as he keeps his damm hands off my wife.”
Rick’s site is amazing, www.rickspringfieldmerch.com the amount of merch on there is huge and he sells premium stuff, auto graphed albums and guitars, premium packing of CD’s and special concert tickets that include attending the sound check and meet and greets before and after the show. Even better than all of that – why not join Rick on a Rick Springfield themed cruise? Travel the seven seas’s, and explore new places all with Rick Springfield and his band playing all the way through.
Check out the video from last years cruise.
What’s the lesson in all of this for you?
This guy is a bona fide Rockstar and you can get this close to him. He loves the fans and he gives a lot to them. He truly connects with the fans and gives them a reason to buy. (Good luck downloading a cruise on the internet) He is giving the fans a true Rick Springfield experience. All bands can learn from this – updating your Facebook and sitting at the merch table after the gig is not connecting with fans. I not saying that taking them on a cruise is, Springfield has workout that most of his fans are 35 to 45 year old women who remember having a crush on him 30 odd years ago. You have to workout what your fans connect with you for…and meet them there.
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Info Info - Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Think about this. For the independent musician, the music you make is essentially your advertising. The product that you are trying to sell is yourself as the artist. You are trying to get consumers to buy into you as an artist, come to shows, buy a t-shirt and buy the premium package of your music, whatever. The music is just an ad to get consumers to buy in.
Think about what could happen to your outlook on the music industry if you started to think of the music itself as just an advertising message. Would you charge people to listen to or watch an ad? No way, you want to make it as easy as possible for people to see your ads and to be affected by them. Better still, you want people to talk about your ads and to share them with one another. Your ad can go viral if enough people like it, share it and make it part of their Facebook profile. Your ad helps them define who they are – now that’s a buy in!
Music videos have always been ads for the single, but did you know that in the 60s the single was really just an ad for the album. The Beatles certainly thought that way; they always saw the album as the main game. Having number one singles is just a great way to get people to buy your album and then buy into you as an artist. Artists and record companies will always rather sell albums than singles. Traditionally the single was sold just above cost price but its main aim was to get you to buy more great songs just like this one...on the album. Remember the “Cassingle” (A cassette single that contained 2 or 3 songs) It was a disposable item, sold very cheap so you could take that favorite song with you anywhere you wanted. But if you didn’t want to have to change the tape every 5 minutes…you had to buy the album.
When you think of the music as an ad for the artist you have to question the wisdom of doing anything that gets in the way of getting that advertising message to the masses. Charging for music seems crazy.
Get the music everywhere that it can be seen or heard (like any marketing message) give it away at gigs or on MySpace or via file sharing sites, wherever you can. Hope that your adverting makes an emotional connection with the listener. If it does you will have the opportunity to try to turn them into fans. Why do anything to stop your main advertising message get to the masses?
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Mark Beard - Thursday, June 03, 2010
USP: Are you only five minutes ahead of your competitor?
The term unique selling proposition (USP) is colloquialism created by advertisers to describe the process of finding (or creating) either a tangible or intangible benefits unique to a particular brand or business.
It’s popularity amongst marketers is understandable given the individualistic nature of democratic economies in which the term emerged and flourished. If we are individuals, why then should products not be individual? It seems only natural that for a product to succeed in must be different?
USP is also consistent with the idea of market positioning – a concept popularized by academics like Phillip Kotler who ascribing that products/services/brands can be created to hold a unique place in the minds’ of consumer relative to competition.
We are led to believe by marketers (and I conceded guilt on my part) that having a USP is a pre-requisite of success, as I myself write:
Differentiation is more than just adding ‘bells and whistles’ to your product, rather it is the process of developing true uniqueness. A unique selling proposition (USP) is a unique feature that establishes your market position. Strong positioning statements require that you establish differences between your products and those of your competitors. (Beard and O’Hara; 2006, pp.56)
Yet what does it mean to be unique?
Consider this definition:
“…existing as the only one or as the sole example; single; solitary in type or characteristics… having no like or equal; unparalleled; incomparable.”
Consider this anecdote:
Recently a corporate client of mine (operates successfully in a hyper-competitive price-based service industry) asked… “What do you think our USP is?”
I responded by saying… “whatever your USP is… it’s only 5 minutes ahead of your competitors”.
At play of course are deep philosophical question as to what it means to be unique, yet the “truism” of USP is so ingrained in marketing thought that rarely is it questioned – it is simply assumed to be true.
Marketers believe that if we apply USP, greater economic reward will follow. In the case of my client, after studying the “USPs” of several of their key competitors we found little difference between any of them. Success it seems relates to the personality of the customer-facing elements of that business, not in transient, easily copied and price-discounted “features”.
A post-USP world?
Differentiation and market segmentation – phenomena that underpin the idea of USP evolved as means of exacting rents from markets. Meaning, that either by adding utility or perceived value to a product one could charge a higher price for it. While normative for modern consumer, this process of differentiation was not always seen as fair.
In agricultural and commodity markets that dominated simpilier (past) ecomomies it is/was not easy to convince people to pay higher prices for greater perceived value, moreover, it is also seen as unfair. Classical economists were keen on the term “exacting rents” because it intrinsically denotes unfairness.
USP is the first casualty in the battle of web-based marketing supremacy
Every market in today’s global economy is awash with competitors who claim to be unique. Search any term in Google and watch as a plethora of competitors offering products and services with little or no discernable difference will attempt to get your click.
So how to attract customer/fans/patrons?
First of all, if you are looking for the answer, I don’t have it. All I can do is assist in helping you ask questions.
Importantly, prescriptive approaches and checklists of marketing success are oxy-moronic. If marketing phenomena were scientifically provable then everyone would have the same advantage, and thus no advantage at all.
Consider the thoughts of Kapferer
When products were rare, the USP (unique selling proposition) was the key concept. As we leave behind brand image, positioning and personality behind we enter the modern age of brand identity. (Kapferer; 2004, pp.106):
So perhaps look to brand identity, which is seen to mirror human identity by combining personality traits and cultural phenomena as a source of uniqueness.
Your uniqueness as an artist cannot be “only 5 minutes ahead your competitor” since no two people nor artist are alike.
Beard, M & O’Hara, B. “Music Marketing, PR & Image Making”, Music Sales, 2006
Kapferer, J. “The New Strategic Brand Management”, Kogan-Page, London, 2004.
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