Yippie! On Monday, I got an exciting e-mail from my hero, Trent Reznor! I had this entire post planned about the survey that Trent Reznor sent out to registered fans at NIN.com, and how DIY marketing is a sign of things to come in the music industry, and that connecting with and engaging your base is better return on investment than the old school approach of trying to demand loyalty from a large number of casual fans, but Bob Lefsetz did it for me, so I’ll just let the man speak:
Hold on to what you’ve got. Maximize what you’ve got. Pleasure your regular customers. At least you know they’re interested. Trying to convert someone new is oh so difficult. That’s one of BMW’s successes. The number of people who buy ANOTHER BMW! Are you gonna buy another album by lame-o act if the first one only had one good track out of ten? Are you going to buy the new single if the act never made it beyond the first single? Are you going to go see an act live that only has one hit single?
Record labels still believe it’s the nineties. They’re in cahoots with the major media outlets. But radio’s tanking, newspapers are in free-fall and MTV doesn’t play any music. These are your modern partners? Ridiculous. Your partner is your AUDIENCE! It’s easy to reach your audience, if you’re good, if they like you.
Hell, YOU can’t even convert a new audience member. Usually A FAN has to do this! If I get one more loser e-mailing me a link to his MySpace/YouTube page, or worse, committing the crime against humanity known as e-mailing an unsolicited MP3, I’m gonna PUKE! I don’t want to hear it from you! I want to hear about it from the underground, not someone with an investment! … Old line marketing is dead. And who knows what’s truly going on in the present? NOBODY! Which is why Trent Reznor is ASKING HIS FANS!
Let me piggyback on that. I will add, as always, it’s not just the music industry that could stand to learn from this, and not just the entertainment industry but most companies, organizations that are engaging their fans online. But it’s the entertainment industry who needs the biggest fire lit under their asses, because marketing execs never seem to listen to what people want. That’s how we end up with movies like Ghost Town.
Yes, it’s a survey, you may say. Big deal. We sent out a survey last week! That’s nice, but do you really want to find out what your base thinks, to really get input from your fans or do you just want an ego stroke, to get the success of your existing marketing strategies confirmed by your survey results? That’s a losing battle.
Seriously, just ask what your fans want. What they really, really want. And like the Spice Girls, they will tell you. There may be answers you don’t necessarily want to hear, but you can learn from it.
Bob Lefsetz may be a bit in love with the CAPS LOCK key, but he is on the money with this. If you are using traditional marketing strategies to get your message across online, you fail. Ask, and then listen, listen listen. Engage, and be honest.
And while I’m at it, can I just say, as a fangirl, it took at least 20 minutes for me to figure out what my favorite NIN song is. I am still not fully sure of my choice. Why did I care so much? Because this survey gives me the impression that I have am a stakeholder, and that my answer may lead to some kind of action that affects me as a fan. (Maybe my favorite song will get played live, perhaps my favorite album will get re-released in Surround Sound! Hint, hint.) I don’t get anything tangible from this survey except the feeling that I’m being listened to. Sometimes for a loyal supporter, that’s enough. Think about it.