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As a prerequisite to my upcoming articles about specific advertising platforms and techniques, first we must cover a main component of what goes into marketing. Psychology. For as long as history has had entertainment, there has always been a strong relationship between commerce and art. People are always willing to pay some sort of price or barter to acquire what they need for the stimulation and emotions art can empower.
When I was growing up my grandmother used to tell me there were only two things in this life we could always count on: taxes and death. As an adult in marketing, I’ve found that indeed she was correct, however there were a few other things that you can rely on. In order to understand human psychology, you must be objective. For a moment forget you’re a human and look at the way we react, act, and think. Small things we don’t notice about ourselves all the sudden make perfect sense as there is one other thing that will never change, and that is our primal instincts. Human nature never changes, delivery methods do. In marketing it’s our job to understand which methods will entice those instincts and encourage consumers to buy.
We are in a current era of over-informative posts about daily life and routines. We can’t rely on delivery methods remaining the same for any specified duration of time. In fact, they rarely stay the same for any set amount of time, all we know is they will change, we just never know when or by what means. Currently the big three in social media, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, are closely trailed by websites like Pinterest, Tumblr, and applications like Tinder. Within a year or two the order in which these programs list may be significantly different as our generations shift. We live in a highly charged technological age. So what’s the best way to combat that?
You know when you’re sleeping and you flip that pillow over to the cold side and all the sudden sleep seems to come so easily and you feel comfort? As we enter the transition period between these platforms, we revert back to what we knew before because it brings us comfort. We all from time to time reminisce about Myspace, Garage Band, Pure Volume, AOL instant messenger, and other applications that shaped our youth. Why do you think that is? Is it the direct correlation of memories and adolescence? Is it the simplicity those websites and networks? It’s actually simpler than that. It’s routine. It’s predictability. Every generation had this set of “common practices” that became so familiar to our being during our time of development that when something comes out we become leery. Then we reluctantly learn the new, however we never quite stray from the past. The once new becomes the security for those in that developmental stage, and thus the circle begins again.
What on earth am I saying?
Growing up, flyers were the predominant way to find out about local shows, at local venues. Not many could afford ad space on a radio, satellite radio wasn’t even popular, and the coolest thing alongside those flyers was being featured on someone’s blog. Big bands saw success with their ad mats being placed in Magazines, with all their tour dates laid out, important details included. I am not that terribly old, 28 to be exact. I was at the tail end of this incredibly expansive time for alternative genres. Sub-genres were sprouting up left and right, and being signed to a label was prestigious.
My age demographic, while entangled in Myspace when it was a thing, are more frustrated with Facebook and its algorithms than empowered by its capabilities. It makes no sense to some of us that we have to pay someone to selectively choose for us who sees our ads. And with guidelines screaming and limiting our abilities to 20% writing on our graphics, we find it pointless to not be able to post an ad mat with all the pertinent details. Instead, we have to post a link, edit the link, provide a photo that encapsulates something to gather attention, and then make sure the destination of the link provides the actual people who want to go with the information necessary. What a royal pain in the ass. We won’t even begin to discuss how my 50 bucks will only get it to maybe 3 people who are actually interested in going, and that’s assuming we enter all the proper targeting to get THAT number. Ugh. A necessary evil if we want these younger kids to go to the venue though and not wait for the bootleg shit copy to hit youtube. Trust me. I get the frustration of people in their late 20s, 30s, and beyond.
As glorious as those days were when a flyer would suffice and we could sell out a venue, or sell our CDs, we’ve come into a technological era. We have to embrace it otherwise our art will become lost. So while as tedious and obnoxious as hashtags are, sometimes we just have to #suckitup.
That doesn’t mean that this is the only medium in which we should engage. It’s not like the past, one medium will not have the profit turning abilities. We have to embrace the new methods of delivery; in the same breath, the newer generation should learn and embrace the older methods too. While having a “rad poster, bro” for your show seems absolutely necessary, it’s not. It never will be. I go to shows for the music, not the graphic designer's ability to tell me about the show. Save some of your marketing budget in physical marketing, meaning get a poster that’s aesthetically pleasing in a minimal sense. Creativity doesn’t have to be extravagant. High-contrast colors and simplicity are just as if not more interesting to the human mind. With the money you save in that aspect of marketing, you can apply a portion of your budget to social media advertising. What remains after that is digital marketing, radio ads, or television placement if finances allow. Many radio stations will gladly work with local venues and promoters to create an ad to fit many budgets. If mainstream radio is proving problematic, college and internet radio are also an effective and cost-friendly option. Where there is a will there is a way. So as you begin your marketing plan, ask yourself these questions:
- Who am I targeting?
- Why am I targeting them?
- When should I engage my target demographic?
- What are the outcomes I am looking for?
- Where is the best placement to reach this demographic?
- How am I going to approach my target demographic?
Once you’ve been able to establish those basic questions, you’ll find a bit more success in your marketing campaigns.