3 Lessons in Millennial Marketing from Taylor Swift

Eden Ames
American Marketing Association
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Key Takeaways

What? Pop star Taylor Swift can offer direction to marketing millennials.

So what? According to a study, 78% of surveyed millennials would rather invest in an experience than a product.

Now what? Marketers need to understand the “fear of missing out” prevalent among millennials in order to position products for increased effect. The priority of shared, meaningful experiences among millennials translates to a need for brands to create a sense of community among customers. This can be achieved through sincere appreciation gestures and memorable events that unite the brand to the customer and customers to other like-minded customers.

Marketers can pick up a trick or two from Taylor Swift when it comes to targeting millennials. According to Entrepreneur, Taylor Swift’s immense success results not only from her musical talent but also from how she markets herself to her fans. Entrepreneur sums up three of T-Swift’s best marketing practices for marketers looking to reach highly-prized millennials in their campaigns:

1) FOMO – The “Fear of Missing Out”

It may sound like just a silly acronym, but the FOMO— fear of missing out— is very real for the millennial generation. One method of inducing FOMO, used to full effect by Swift, is to issue limited-edition releases which induces a sense of exclusivity. Taylor Swift’s latest album 1989 included personal fan-addressed photos and messages leading to the fastest climb to $5 million in record sales within more than a decade. The added perk of a chance to win a meeting with Swift increased its value even more. 

Marketers striving for similar success need to create products, services and events that employ FOMO. Tactics for limited release and personalization will increase the value of your offerings, especially if they already attract wide interest from targeted audiences.

2) Appreciate your audience.

Appreciation goes far when it comes to fostering brand relationships. For Taylor Swift, this is no secret. Her frequent and heartfelt interactions with fans solidifies the pre-existing bond established through her music and celebrity persona— and the fact that it feels authentic also helps significantly. While inviting fans over for private pre-listening and feedback sessions definitely didn’t hurt her image, Swift effectively leaves the impression that her fans come first in these personalized connections.

Brands should follow suit in their efforts for customer appreciation. Certainly customer acquisition has its place in a company’s marketing efforts, but appreciation can be just as important. Taking after Taylor Swift, brand managers and marketers should ensure that customer appreciation is sincere and meaningful.

3) Create unique experiences.

According to a Harris study, 78% of surveyed millennials would rather spend money on an experience or event than on tangible products. The preference for experiential wealth over possessions has no doubt been harnessed by Taylor Swift and her concert tours. According to Entrepreneur, her 1989 World Tour gave attendees a unique experience for each concert with over 38 guest performers like Selena Gomez and even The Rolling Stones.

Fans don’t buy just a concert ticket from Taylor Swift, they buy into her world. They join an inner circle of like-minded peers who share in a unique experience they can always look back on.

Brands that can create valuable, unique and memorable experiences the way Taylor Swift does are on the right track. But behind every tactic, it is important to remember that millennials respond to authenticity. Ultimately, strategies that employ FOMO through appreciation or experience must be born out of more than an agenda to simply promote sales. Instead, brands who achieve the greatest success will be the ones that can establish a sense of community among like-minded audiences.


Read the full article on Entrepreneur.

Author Bio:

Eden Ames
Eden Ames is a digital content producer for the American Marketing Association. She may be reached at eames@ama.org.
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