Our guest columnist, James Moore has shared another excerpt from his music industry insider book, Your Band is a Virus.
According to Wikipedia, “Guerrilla marketing is an unconventional system of promotions that relies on time, energy and imagination rather than a big marketing budget. Typically, guerrilla marketing tactics are unexpected and unconventional; consumers are targeted in unexpected places, which can make the idea that’s being marketed memorable, generate buzz, and even spread virally.”
This is ideal and it’s also one of our main goals. Get creative with all the ideas and tactics described in this book. Talk to people individually. Different tactics will work for different publications and individuals.
Independent musicians must be relentless and innovative with their marketing in order to achieve any level of success. Don’t be afraid of doing things differently, so long as it works. There is no one rule, only what works.
Remember the examples rule: What works for a metal band may not work for a classical violinist. Each musician has their own niche, multiple niches in fact to exploit and use to their advantage. Chances are if you try to follow exactly what works for another band, it won’t work. You need something that is your own or people will sense it and see through you. If it’s not your own, then you have no business marketing it. If your biggest influence is Britney Spears, if you look like her, dress like her, and sound like her, then you are simply another copycat polluting the music world. The individual approach is essential for there to be any chance of deserved success. In an industry rife with imitation, those who let go of their programming and follow their hearts will naturally stand out.
Much of Guerilla marketing is about capturing attention with your tactic – doing things radically differently from the mainstream, and potentially your competitors as well.
And keep in mind Guerilla marketing has nothing to do with spamming, which will hurt more than help. Guerilla marketing means aggressively reaching out to and covering your potential markets while leaving no stone unturned. Be thorough and believe in your work. Make sure your tentacles reach everywhere necessary!
Keep in mind that although books have been written about Guerilla marketing in the past, it is not a set, rigid thing. Guerilla marketing is absolutely as original and cutting edge as you can imagine. It’s only as creative as you are, so it may be time to channel your inner Sacha Baron Cohen and bring some attention to your music.
Sound good? Ok, now for the next tactic.
Behind-the-Scenes marketing is the tactic of manoeuvring behind the scenes to create a positive or powerful image for the buying public. Too many artists talk about themselves, whether it be on their Facebook walls or on countless message boards. It’s very rare that people care, unfortunately, because a real connection hasn’t been made.
The key to behind-the-scenes marketing is to get a high amount of other people talking about you rather than you talking about yourself.
UK pop/rock act Django Django made a major splash with their self-titled album. Do you think it was because of them entering contests and constantly posting on their social networks for their friends and fans to vote for them? Or perhaps sending out thousands of online invites to their shows? No. They generated a real, online buzz, as it was the bloggers, the radio hosts, the magazines, the podcasters, and then in turn the fans couldn’t stop talking about them. They went viral.
For example, and we will discuss this in further detail later, contacting and befriending an individual writer at a music magazine and convincing him to review your band. Sure, HE knows that you looked him up and that you are an independent band desperately in need of coverage, but all the public sees is a good review on the next big thing. And the more you do this, the bigger and better you look. This will become one of the most important parts of your strategy to create a “frontline” image for your band.
Essentially, Behind-the-Scenes marketing is a term I use to describe a shift from the very embarrassing state of the independent music industry that currently has indie bands talking about themselves all the time. They beg their fans to vote for them. They post on the Twitter and Facebook pages of prospective companies instead of contacting them properly, in the process making their pleas for coverage very public. They harass bloggers by posting their audio and video links in the comments sections of blogs that have nothing to do with music submissions, once again, making their amateur approach public.
In my view, bands should let other people talk about them and the way to achieve this is by putting in real work behind the scenes. Plant thousands of seeds. Get in touch with as many writers as possible with an undeniably amazing product. Invite writers to your shows. Provide premieres and giveaways to music blogs. Make sure everyone familiar with your genre hears your music. Once the trendsetting mouths start talking, others listen and become inspired to speak. The music media is very much like the telephone game most of us played as children.
Behind-the-Scenes marketing is all about making connections from nothing, making those connections work for you by being personal, and using the results to leverage yourself and gain new successes.
That’s the way it should be, right?
What is viral marketing? According to Wikipedia, viral marketing refers to marketing techniques that use social networks to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives. It compares viral marketing to the spread of a computer virus.
The main idea is that, as a strategy, simply marketing with generic advertisements (“You need this” style of marketing) is on the extreme downswing, and is barely working in some markets.
Viral marketing is all about getting people to sell and advertise for you: Get your product talked about in the social networks, websites, forums, and blogs – and watch the magic happen. You no longer have anything to do with it. We’ll go over a host of viral ideas in another chapter.