Relationship Marketing 2014: Put A Ring On It

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In the wee hours of December 13, Beyoncé gave everyone an early Christmas present by unexpectedly releasing a full-length visual album, Beyoncé. Four days later, and more than 800,000 albums sold, here I sit reading over-exaggerated headlines like, “Did Beyoncé Prove that Marketing is Dead?” wondering if I should switch industries.

What’s surprising is not that her album managed to go gold on iTunes in under 72 hours, but that she did it with no pre-promotion for the album, whatsoever. No gimmicks. No giant teddy bears. Just a great product–her talent.

This example can show us a lot about the current marketing landscape and what 2014 holds. Brand/customer relationships are manifesting themselves into powerful entities, and we marketers have to figure out how to adjust. The main thing Beyoncé showed us, is that If content mattered in 2012, and if content was king in 2013; it’s being promoted to a deity come 2014.

May Be a Game Changer, But It’s not a New Game
The release of a blockbuster product like Beyoncé, is usually prefaced by massive marketing campaigns based around a release date. But Queen Bey intuitively skipped all that and instead posted a single promo video to Instagram on Thursday night.

Captioned “Surprise!”, her 8 million Instagram followers quickly took to Twitter, amplifying her message through their personal social media channels. According to data from Twitter cited by Billboard, the album release generated 1.2 million tweets in just 12 hours. Social media channels have become rapid-fire word of mouth platforms. If you’re smart, you’ll start leveraging people’s ability to share instantly to attract more consumers to your brand.

Another marketing element that helped Beyoncé skyrocket to number one (which she appropriately noted in her Instagram caption) was the mere surprise of the release, and the fact that people are compelled to share news that stuns them. Nothing is more stunning to Beyoncé fans than the 17-time Grammy winner suddenly releasing a new album.

And, let’s not forget that these two tactics lead you to good ol’ fashioned relationship marketing through high-quality content, which is what truly converts consumers. With 93% of marketers already on board, this is the main dish being served up by professionals predicting hot 2014 marketing trends.

Improve your Content, Build Relationships, Be a Leader
As the traditional, interruptive approach to marketing has ultimately diminished, the customer’s desire for building relationships with a brand now controls more of the buying process than you, the seller. Creating a relationship with the consumer by building relevant content based around your target is becoming evermore important.

Content marketing involves the creation of valuable and relevant branded content for a target audience that keeps them engaged through all stages of the buying cycle, not selling to them – but communicating with customers and prospects.

What exactly makes content relevant and valuable? These solid considerations will help draw in consumers:

  • Will the opportunity advance your brand values?
  • Will this content funnel visitors to your website?
  • Is this content targeted toward the proper audience?
  • Does this content provide value, in that it will make your target convert?

While I’m sure Beyoncé didn’t go through my checklist verbatim, all of these angles were covered. As an artist, a number one album with no pre-promotion will boost her brand as both bold and innovative.

Stay Through the Honeymoon

Beyoncé’s tactics should stay in the back of your mind as you look to adjust your marketing strategies for 2014.

By cultivating a relationship with her targeted fan base and directly supplying them with high-quality content through social media channels, Beyoncé has effectively cut out interference with her message. The focus is not on gimmicks, competitors or even a single song. The focus is on building valuable content for her brand to advance consumer relationships. And those consumers–828,773 in fact–are converting.


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