Brands and musicians can learn a lot from each other.
As new digital and e-commerce platforms emerge, these two groups are constantly looking for ways to reach new audiences and make their voices heard.
To talk about this unique intersection of music and marketing — and the changing cultural landscape — Taboola founder & CEO Adam Singolda joined Translation + UnitedMasters founder & CEO Steve Stoute in a recent discussion at the Digital Marketing Expo & Conference (DMEXCO).
As Singolda said, “It’s hard to get attention if you’re an emerging business, an emerging brand, someone who’s just getting started. You don’t have the budgets to advertise on Google, Facebook, and other distribution platforms. You have to kind of reinvent ways to be discovered.”
One piece of advice? Look to the music industry for guidance.
“The music industry is driven by understanding what’s coming next,” said Stoute. “If a brand is thinking about future-proofing themselves, they really need to listen and read the tea leaves of the music industry because they’re always the one out in front.”
With that in mind, here are the biggest takeaways for how brands, musicians, and artists of all kinds can break through the noise and tell their stories.
Take control of your data
Advertisers and artists can use social and streaming platforms to reach millions of people. The problem is that they don’t actually own those audiences or the data they collect from them.
That was done by design.
“When music went digital, there was no way for artists to understand exactly who was streaming their music, who was the digital consumer,” Stoute said. “Record companies realized, if the artists knew where their fans were directly, the artists would no longer need record companies.”
Only by collecting and activating their own data can emerging artists and brands truly control their audience relationships.
“The advantage of the digital economy is that you actually know who bought the product so you can remarket to them in a very frictionless way,” said Stoute. “[We’re] bringing CRM tools to the artists so that they wouldn’t be beholden to needing to find this new consumer every single time. They would know who their fans are.”
Build connections through storytelling and culture
When targeting new audiences, it’s important not to get caught up in simply ticking boxes like “men aged 18-24″ or “women in Ohio.” Rather, it’s about creating a culture and value system around your brand.
As Singolda put it, “You have to build an experience that people want to invite into their lives more than just selling them a product.”
Stoute even wrote a book about this phenomena called The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy.
“There’s a black kid in Compton, California who’s 17 years old that has so much in common with a white kid in Greenwich, Connecticut who’s 17 years old, but the world of marketing doesn’t understand the connection,” Stoute said. “They actually spend too much time focused on their differences.”
The only way to move forward is to break down those silos and focus on shared values among your audience.
“You see it in music, film, art, and sports,” Stoute said. “None of these things are built specifically for African Americans or white people or anything like that. They’re built for people who have a passion for that subject or for that product.”
Find your niche, loyal audience
In a similar vein, brands can use their audience data to access those truly loyal customers and advocates, and then reach them with their unique viewpoints and propositions.
“Find that lane that’s not being occupied by your competitor, and then go hard down that lane,” as Stoute said. “This idea that we have to be everything to everybody is over.”
So, it’s not just about reaching people who like your brand, but reaching those who love what you have to offer.
“You go deeper, you’ll find growth,” Stoute added. “And you also won’t get caught up in the sea of sameness … I think that’s the way.”