Am I really writing this article? If you would look at my Spotify play list you would find Joe Rogan (well, duh) but also lots of music of course. Mostly Punk Rock, Soul, and Hip Hop from the 90s and 2000s, the odd pop song from back then (Natalie Imbruglia 💔) and maybe a few current ones (go Miley!). Most certainly however you wouldn’t be able to find any Taylor Swift in there. So why write an article about her? Well, her success is undeniable and when somebody does something very well there most likely are some lessons to be learned. This also goes for TSwift – and here are the lessons Digital Marketers can take away from Taylor’s success.
We all know Taylor Swift not only since her latest surprise coup that got even Kanye shook but obviously because of her everlasting presence in all the music charts around the world. She quite likely might go down as the most selling (streamed?) female artist ever and might even take it to the all-time greats. So what are those digital marketing learnings I’ve been talking about? Find them below
Try something different
I can’t stress that one enough. When teaching at Uni I always tell students to BE CREATIVE. This is obviously easier said than done but eventually your creativity and boldness to try something new will be what will make you stand-out. We all know the basics of digital marketing by now, we can learn them, look them up, and internalize them but if we all just stick to what we learn from books (or great blogs) we all end up doing similar things.
Taylor Swift started out as a country music star with a completely different look compared to what we are used to seeing now (and just when I say that she’s going back to folk/country – great example of doing things differently).
Sometimes it just makes sense to change direction even if you’re doing ‘well enough’ – changing things up will get you more excited as well as your audience and enable you to find a bigger audience with your new kind of content. As long as the quality fits, people will want to hear from you.
Don’t be afraid to collaborate
Remember when Taylor became famous? She was the cute girl that wrote her own songs and played it all by herself. That was pretty cool! Over time however she worked with lots of other amazing stars that helped her to cross over to other audiences and she wasn’t afraid to share the shine with those who helped her create those always new sounding pop master pieces.
That’s a great learning we can take from her. Obviously you have to create your own content, provide great services, run successful campaigns and so on. Once you have something to show for though you shouldn’t fall into the ‘we gotta get bigger, faster, and keep all the success to myself’ trap. Sure, it feels good to have success by yourself, but how much better would it feel to a) share the success with others, b) increase your own success by reaching new audiences, and c) help others to achieve what you already mastered?
Collaborations are a great way to achieve all the above mentioned and so much more. Important however is that you always bring something to the table and don’t just wait for others to simply help you out. It’s always a give and take and you shouldn’t be afraid of giving what might seem to be ‘more’ as you never know how big the return might be in the end. So don’t just hide the steps to your successful campaign or how you made successful pitches. Share your story, share your steps, educate others, dare to go into collaborations and embrace the change and challenges collaborations bring.
Remember when Taylor Swift removed her music from spotify and everybody was hating on her? Why did she do that? Several reasons come to mind such as Spotify isn’t paying very well and she doesn’t need the ‘promotion’ spotify brings to artists as she’s got the Taylor Swift army firmly behind her on social media. Back then she gave an interview and said ‘I’m kind of just doing whatever I feel like” – and that’s what made her even more successful.
Back when she removed the content from Spotify the album still went platinum, the tour still got sold out and she obviously still dominated the charts, news, etc. The lesson here? Just because your choices aren’t popular doesn’t mean they’re not good.
In digital marketing terms: Just because everybody and their grandma are on TikTok (not for much longer if more countries start banning them though) doesn’t mean you also have to be there. Know your brand, your audience, your goals, and do what is right for you, not what others are doing. Sure it’s easy to follow the popular game plan and then say ‘hey, I did what everybody else did, it should have worked’ – but it will taste and feel so much better if you did it on your own + who’s to say that the popular choice will always work? When everybody is doing the same over-saturation among the target audience will become a thing rather sooner than later.
Haters gonna hate
That’s just a quick reminder that you can never please everyone. No matter how amazing your work is, there’ll always be people hating. Taylor Swift receives criticism basically 24/7. For he political views, for moving from Spotify, for who she’s dating (or not), and so on. She even wrote way back when the line ‘people throw rocks at things that shine’ which is a great way of looking at it. If you’re doing well, haters will come.
So if you’re running campaigns on different platforms, with different audiences, goals etc you will encounter haters. Negative comments, mean messages, etc. This also shows you that you’re doing something right though as nobody comments on posts they don’t care about
The most successful digital marketing campaigns in history faced criticism, ridicule, and threats. As long as you and your conscience (and your client / boss) are feeling good about what you do, keep going and shake it off.
And then? Back to step 1, repeat & succeed.