He said it right about 50 years ago. ‘Times they are a changing’.? And there are many historical figures who have taught us that. People like the great Steve Jobs and his mastery of presentations and prodcuts, Dale Carnegie and his uncanny ability to interact with people, and many of our past Presidents whom have had the utmost speaking capabilities. In today’s modern world of business, times they are still ‘a changing’, rapidly. Communication is becoming a much more broader term that now includes many platforms and media that were not in play 5, 10 and 20 years ago. But somehow, I feel that the philosophies behind some of the greatest figures in American history can teach us many things about business today.
I grew up in a very musical household. My father idolized artists such as Billy Joel, Cat Stevens and perhaps above most, Bob Dylan. Some of my greatest memories as a child was learning piano as my father introduced me to these artists. In their time, the messages these artists portrayed to their audiences spoke of political influence, life experience and social movements that were storming the world. They saw opportunity to delivering these messages when they would connect best with their following. A noble concept that drives marketing today like no other time. Bob Dylan was a pioneer in the music world. A raspy vocal accompanied by a instrumental mix that was so unique, people flocked to become part of the experience. Here are a few lessons we can learn about marketing from Bob Dylan’s rise to musical stardom.
Create content that is unique to your product, and deliver it in the way of tomorrow
The 1960′s were filled with social movements. Bob Dylan created a uniqueness by defining a new way to reach audiences in a way that focused on philosophical, political and social influence. His unique lyrics were the foundation of his massive rise to stardom in his time. People craved insight to the things that directly affected them. Today in marketing, the strategy should remain similar. We must focus on creating a message and filling that message with content that touches our audience in a way that directly impacts them. Content is the fuel behind attraction. By creating content in a way that engages people, we have the ability to create a following eager to learn more, engage more, and eventually become advocates of what we do. Dylan had a method to his madness. Some of his lyrics drew criticism in masses, but still sent his message far across the the Nation in a way that no one else could.
Unique content is the foundation of marketing. Delivering it in a way that engages your audience is the different between success and failure.
Deliver your content in multiple mediums
Bob Dylan was known not only for his folk style music and unique lyrics, but he also distributed his message in a variety of mediums. Today, we have the challenge of satisfying our audiences’ urge to engage in multiple platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, E-Books, YouTube and many more. It should be a priority of us, as marketers, to engage in a variety of platforms to bring a broader message that satisfies this urge of today’s marketplace. Dylan was best known for his unique stage presence and ability to perform, however, he also had much success with turning over poetry, short stories, illustrations and more that were published and distributed to the public to further his reach and expand his message to a broader audience. People who criticized his music praised his poetry. People who remained reluctant to the counterculture that he attracted, embraced his simple illustrations on life’s hardships. By utilizing different mediums, he made followers out of critics and friends out of enemies.
Today’s culture is shifting at a speed many can’t keep up with. The younger generations continue to exploit new ways to deliver content and by ensuring multiple mediums in our marketing campaigns, we can expand reach and more personally interact with our audiences in a way that they choose.
Be where your customers are
Since 1994, some 30 years after his rise to fame, Bob Dylan has had three books published of drawings and paintings, many of which have been exhibited in major art galleries expanding his influence deeper into the art community and keeping his message alive for many more years to come. More importantly, the additional content landed in the places where his target audiences flocked. His desire to put his message in front of the art culture audience who once drove him to fame remained consistent, even with a new medium, has made him a running icon for nearly 50 years.
The biggest different between traditional and modern marketing is exactly that. Putting an ad in a magazine quickly becomes non-performing as soon after the release date of the publication. And its circulation may or may not reach your intended audience. It’s all based on who picks it up that day, by chance. Today’s platforms allow for great content to become archived and repeatedly show face to your audience when they so desire to find it, and when they desire to look. Viral YouTube videos can spend months circulating the globe. Great blog posts can be shared through Twitter and Facebook and then found months later when a search is performed. And speaking of search, let’s not forget that search engines create a lifetime of opportunity that puts your message in front of your audience every time they search for your topic.
Content doesn’t die and with today’s unique way of sharing information. Creating content focused on longevity can both expand and extend the reach of your marketing. Optimizing your online marketing efforts based on your audiences’ interests will allow you to create self sustaining marketing campaigns that live on well beyond marketing’s typical shelf life generating interest in more places where your customers are.
Don’t Appeal to Everyone
There was one thing that was for sure about Bob Dylan. He didn’t appeal to everyone. His twist on musical culture and raspy influence disturbed many, while attracting more. Bob Dylan’s unique style was often openly unappreciated at almost all of his concerts. There was even a point in time where a group of people who despised Dylan’s work followed him from city to city simply to “boo” while he performed. When interviewed in California and asked about the following, Dylan stated, “I’m just happy for their support. Last I checked they weren’t getting free tickets”. You must differentiate your message for who its meant for. One of the biggest mistakes both marketers and businesses in general make, is trying to appeal to every person possible. By doing this, you lose the personal interest of your audience. You lose the ability to appeal to the greater motives of your target audience. You can no longer create content that is tailored for your audience.
Segment your messages. If Bob Dylan would have simply conformed to his critics, he would have lost the much more massive audience that was attracted to his genuineness and uniqueness. It’s impossible to create something for everyone. Your marketing should be tailored in a way that is meant for the audience that matters most; Yours.
As times change, technology advances and society continues to conform to what is tomorrow, never forget that the human relations of people remain the same. There are many people in our great history who can teach us many things by what they did so successfully. When you think back, don’t forget that what makes many people successful still make many people successful today. The message remains the same, the way we deliver it changes.
What other lessons can we learn from great influences of our past?
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