How To Promote Music – 3 Lessons From Daytrotter

How To Promote Music - 3 Lessons from

Daytrotter, yer doin it right. Also, I <3 you.

For those of you unfamiliar with Daytrotter, here’s how it works: they bring kick-ass bands to The Horseshack recording studio in Rockford, IL, record the bands live, and put the recording on Yesterday, they announced a brilliant promo called Daytrotter Presents #1. Buy a membership (for you or someone else) and they’ll send you the 12″ split record with The Civil Wars and The Lumineers for free. Both are fantastic bands.

But let’s look past the music. I think there are three lessons on how to promote music, from Daytrotter.

  1. Limited physical quantities: Daytrotter is only going to press as many records as are pre-ordered. Simple. People will still buy something if it’s special enough. Bonus: they’ve drastically reduced their risk by only pressing what’s ordered, vs trying to guestimate how many might be ordered. How could you limit your inventory exposure and make your customers feel special?
  2. The music is (essentially) free: buy an annual membership and get The Civil Wars and The Lumineers 12″ split for free on top of all the other great stuff behind the paywall. The membership is only $2/month for unlimited consumption of Daytrotter sessions. You probably spend more than $2 a day in gas driving to and from work. Crazy cheap. It’s more like payfence than a paywall.
  3. They’re targeting current members: current Daytrotter members can get the album for free if they buy a membership for someone else. This appeal has three parts: look cool for tipping a friend off to rad new music, be nice by giving the friend access, and get something tangible for yourself. Put some brightly-colored Ray-Bans on it and it’s the ultimate hipster trap. Plus, current customers should be your best evangelists. How often do you empower your customers?
  4. Bonus point! It’s actually a limited-time promotion. They’re taking orders until July 3rd. That’s it. If this one goes well, I’m sure they’ll do a Daytrotter Presents, #2. Are you one of those companies that always has some sale going on? Quit it. It takes the special-ness away.

What do you think? What’s your favorite example of somebody doin it right?

Top 5 Reasons I Hate Marketers

First, let me be clear: I’m talking about what you do, not about you as a human. Second, I’m a marketer, so I’m just as guilty as you from time to time. Speaking of which, you should listen to some of my music or even come to the Columbus Songwriter Circle. See what I did there? Anyway, here they are, the top 5 reasons I hate marketers:

  1. You typically over-promise and under-deliver. It’s like you’re afraid nobody will want your product unless you make outrageous claims. The consequence: nobody believes the marketing claims, and you have to make even more outlandish claims next time to catch attention. You’re making my job harder every time you stretch the truth. Stop it. Learn the difference between True stories and Truth Stories, and tell the latter.
  2. You typically don’t have a shred of actual empathy for the user. Sure, you’ve got your demographic research, feedback from vocal sales people. Stuff like that. You have generalities. Averages. The problem is, there actually is no average user. What if you flipped that thinking on its head? There are no average customers, but there are common trials and triumphs– understand those and your marketing will improve exponentially. Please do this one, k?
  3.  You hock stupid stuff. Let’s face it, most of the products you develop strategies, ads, and PPC campaigns for are pretty mediocre. That’s why they need you– they’re not good enough to spread through organic referrals. Or they are, but only to a niche market… and your client is bent on total world domination. Stop it. I understand needing a paycheck (and I’m fortunate enough to love what I do and get paid for it). I understand that you have to take clients that you’d rather not. But what if you refused to do work for 1 out of 4 new business prospects that you thought kinda sucked? Maybe some of you already do. Maybe more of us should.

Have you spotted the irony yet? A Top 5 list that’s actually only a 3 point rant (over-promise, under-deliver) about how there is no average user… directed at the average marketer. Look, I don’t actually hate you. I hate what you (and I) do from time to time. I’d just like to see more product marketing treat users like human beings.

Truth(iness) In Advertising

Pacific Ocean Sunset
Pacific Ocean Sunset via jxb345 on Flickr

I had a poetry professor tell me once “don’t tell. Show.” We were supposed to write a poem about the color blue. I picked a trip to the California coast. She wanted me to show what that smelled like, felt like, looked like, sounded like. She didn’t want a true story– she didn’t want me to simply inform her. She wanted me to tell a story about the peace I felt watching the sun slink into the Pacific. She wanted a story about Truth. She wanted me to inspire.

When you tell stories about your product, are you informing or inspiring?

If you’re informing, you’re telling true stories about the product. But you’re not telling me why I should care.

If you’re inspiring, your product is telling stories about Truth. You’re making meaning, and connecting me with it. That’s way better than some lame feature dump.

The best stories inspire and inform.

P.S. If you’re not quite sure, you’re probably telling Truthiness stories– the kind of stories that give all marketers a bad name. So stop it.

P.P.S. Check out Tom Nies excellent Change This Manifesto about True stories, Truth stories, and storyselling.

Pharmaceutical Marketing Strategies

Often, we marketers are accused of creating needs that never existed– and often, this is true. But that power can be used for good or evil.

I’m not a doctor. Obviously. But this is the Internet, so I have an (uneducated) opinion based on 2 minutes of searches and blog reading. I saw a commercial the other day for a new drug that helps alleviate the symptoms of an ominous-sounding syndrome: Peripheral Arterial Disease (P.A.D.).  Now, according to the Internet– and I believe everything I read*– you can get rid of P.A.D. by exercising and/or giving up tobacco. Also, it’s typically a sign of a larger problem: arteriosclerosis.

The evil marketing strategy at work here is that pharma companies (among other types) recognize that we want to keep our lifestyle the same. Exercizing is hard work. And, if you’re a smoker, giving up tobacco is hard work (although there are plenty of drugs to help you quit!). So pharma companies respond to that want (it’s not a need). Their evil marketing strategies create and promote an increasing array of diseases, disorders, and syndromes– like P.A.D.– that need drugs to alleviate our suffering.

But pharma can’t take all the blame. I also blame us for being lazy, gullible, and selfish. Now that you’re done reading this rant, go. Do something physical. Step away from the screen and go for a walk. Oh. And if you’re a marketer? Don’t be evil.

*in case you didn’t pick up on it, I was being sarcastic.

Trend: Rediscovering Real Life

Drive Thru Wedding
"Drive Thru?" by snailo86 on

Maybe you missed it, but that’s understandable. I’m talking about Society and Social Media, of course. Wedding of the century, and they friggin eloped back in ’08. After two and a half years, though, the honeymoon is over. It was great for a while. All they wanted to do was spend time with each other. They were so cute… all shiny and new. But in the process of falling madly in love, they lost their sense of self. They lost their personal identity. Can’t really bring much to a relationship if there’s no “you” anymore. And that’s natural. It’s part of any healthy relationship. So, Society is reconnecting with her roots while Social Media reconnects with his.

Seriously, though, I’ve noticed more and more stories about people rediscovering real life. Some great examples:

3 Implications/recommendations for businesses:

  1. Your shiny new Facebook/Twitter/Foursquare presence doesn’t matter as much as you think it does. Yay! You made it to the party. But did you bring sales brochures or bratwurst? Be helpful first. The sales will follow.
  2. Experiences are more important than ever. All this new tech stuff is supposed to make it easier for your customers to interact directly with your employees. Kill your phone tree. Seriously. Think about the immediate connection with, education about, and empathy for your customers you’d have if every single one of your employees had to answer the phones. Make it random. Related note: get rid of metrics based on length of the call.
  3. Simple is powerful. Simplify your product offering & pricing strategy: good, better, best, works pretty damn well.

What do you think? Do you see Real Life as the next Twitter?

By the way, I’m pretty sure Social Media is sitting on his couch in his underwear playing GTA.