Switching careers can be frustrating. You may be far-removed from your binge-drinking college days, and post-grad life may not be going the way you planned. This narrative was the story of my life. After graduation, I found myself underemployed, depressed and in search of something better. But, discovering that something was hard because all I had ever known my entire life was music. I studied piano in college, and I had my heart set on only making music until I discovered the world of marketing. In the beginning, I was afraid to pursue marketing because I thought I would have been forced to give up my music goals. I was wrong! Marketing ended up being an excellent addition to my piano skills. Its given me a more balanced perspective on the music business. Often, many musicians think about their careers from only an artist's perspective. Ironically, this mindset is the best way to NEVER make any money with music but that's a blog for another day. My love for marketing has since extended outside of music. Today, I help people in many fields with their marketing efforts. I do so by finding musical ways to approach marketing.
Here is my thought process:
Pretend I'm a pianist who plans to perform a Beethoven piano concerto at Carnegie Hall. The first step of this journey is going to be practicing the piece. (duh lol). It could take four weeks or four months to learn the work depending on your skill level. Practice is the most crucial step since it lays the foundation for everything to come. Your marketing "practice" won't include scales and arpeggios but, it might involve things like reading blogs or conducting research on competitors. "Practice" prepares your mind to perform as a marketer. The more you "practice," the better you perform.
You've worked for months practicing Beethoven and finally ironed out all the rough patches. You're now ready for your big concert! All your prep work has come down to this pivotal moment. You've got to put on the greatest show of your life, or else you'll get tomatoes thrown at you as you waltz off stage! Your Marketing "concert" would be something like launching a social media plan for a local business. Will your performance captivate the audience? Or will it fall on deaf ears? (blind eyes for marketing).
Let's be optimistic and say you had a fantastic performance. The top came off the roof during your standing ovation. Congrats! As you stroll to the lobby to devour Hors d'oeuvre, You get ambushed by hoards of admirers wanting to meet you. One by one, the admirers disclose their favorite moments of the concert. Their thoughtful compliments put you on cloud 9. But, as you are leaving the room, Captain Buzzkill strolls over to deliver a negative critique! The "Captain Buzzkills" of the world will be sure to tell you everything wrong with your performance. This point of the process is like customer reviews and engagement. When something is good, people will let you know. If something sucks, people will tell you that as well. If your plan converts customers and drives engagement, you know your performance rocks. If your approach gets no engagement or conversions for two years, you may need to tweak your strategy.
Learn what you can from the good and the bad.
Get those fans!
The goal of both marketers and musicians is to get devout followers. If you put on an epic "performance", you will earn long-term supporters who will tell the world how amazing you are.
I want to give a special shoutout to Sharon Gee of Fluid for inspiring this topic :)