Duran Duran, luck and marketing

Simon LeBonAt one point during my college days I wanted to be an A&R guy for a record label.  My reactions to smoke-filled clubs and early-to-bed habits caused me to rethink that career option.

But music, and the marketing of it, has remained a lifelong interest.

Last night, my wife and I saw Duran Duran at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD.  This was her 11th or 12th time and my 10th time to see the band.

When you go to a Duran Duran show, you know you’re going to see a great performance, an enthusiastic crowd and hit after hit.

What I didn’t expect was a textbook example of creating and maximizing a marketing channel, and an example of how big a part luck plays in everything we do as marketers.

Creating a marketing channel.

Opening for Duran Duran was Your Vegas, a band from Leeds, England.  We sat down early to catch a few minutes of their show and thought they were pretty good.

At the end of their set, they thanked everybody for listening and said they’d be up at the top of the hill signing autographs and giving out free posters.  I listened to their call to action and headed up the hill to see the response, and purchase a CD.

I was pleased to see no aloof rock stars there.

That call from the stage created a long line in front of the entire band, where they took their time chatting with the fans, signing the free posters and CD’s and taking photographs with the fans.  The band was gracious, appreciative, and seemed to be genuinely enjoying the interaction.  Further, their new CD was moving briskly from the stand next to them.

Will Your Vegas be the next Killers?  Luck will play a big role, but the band is doing everything right by:

  1. Creating a face-to-face marketing channel, starting with their call to action from the stage
  2. Engaging in CRM by getting face-to-face with 50-100 fans every night.
  3. Making a small investment in posters and pen ink to support the campaign.

Luck and music.

Anna Ross, Simon Willescroft and Dom Brown joined the band as backup vocals, sax and guitar, respectively.  All are highly talented and excellent performers.  Ms. Ross has been touring with the band since at least 2005 as well.

Any of these folks could be headlining a show with their own band.  Why not, then, last night?

In a word, luck.

  • Answering the right ad in a paper looking for a guitar player.
  • Sitting next to the right person in grade school.
  • Being in front of that guy in an audition.

Anna, Simon and Dom are surely doing fine touring with Duran Duran and have done everything right to prepare for success.  One or two breaks and they might be headlining.

The point of this?  The impact of luck on your marketing efforts can’t be entirely eliminated, but can be minimized by proper planning and preparation.  Also, don’t get down when things break the wrong way, as will invariably happen.  Go right back to planning for the next effort.

Summary and key takeaways.

  1. Look for unique opportunities to talk with your target audience.  Don’t necessarily think “sales channel”, but instead find unique opportunities to talk with those who are interested in your products and services.
  2. Prepare for the impact of luck.  Preparation won’t eliminate the impact of luck on your campaign outcomes, but it will position you to capture the upside when things are working well.
  3. Wear earplugs. Tinnitus (of which I have a mild case) is no fun and only gets worse over time.

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