• Taylor Swift Teaches Market Strategy

    5 November 2014
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    In case you were thinking that some people haven’t had to rethink their business model to the “New Normal,” Taylor Swift provided a reminder that, well, that’s true!

    While the rest of the world is gravitating toward streaming music services – which apparently don’t pay what purchased downloads do, let alone what good old fashioned CD sales used to – Taylor Swift pulled her new album from Spotify.  If Spotify’s users want to listen to Shake It Off or any other song from her, they’ll have to buy it.  (I’m a Spotify subscriber who ponies up the $10/month for the premium service, for the very reason that I want artists to be paid for their work.)

    Her leverage in this case is unusual, which gives her the flexibility to take the risk to pull her product from a major distribution channel.  Wouldn’t you like to have that leverage in your market?

    So, what has Taylor Swift done to put herself in this position:

    –          Worked hard for a decade to develop her skills, brand, awareness, and business

    –          Put out a quality product that the market wants

    –          Was authentic in her product and brand

    The various promotional strategies her team has used for each album and tour certainly made a difference – for example, I don’t think it was a fluke that she gave Spotify users access to Shake It Off for a short time, so that they could get hooked on the song.  But the core elements of hard work, wanted-product, and authenticity were the start of her success.

    What can you do to increase your market leverage by improving these core pieces?

    –          Do the hard work and tackle the hard issues

    –          Ask your customers what they want, or look at which of your offerings sell the most and do more of that

    –          Describe your company’s personality and culture and make sure those come out in your marketing (not just in what you say, but also in what you do)

    Congratulations, Ms. Swift.  I haven’t decided yet whether I’ll be buying your songs or just waiting for them to come back to Spotify (I expect they will come back), but I respect you for forcing me to make that decision.

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