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7 Marketing Secrets Lady Gaga Can Teach You for FREE

“I’m your biggest fan, I’ll follow you until you love me
Papa, paparazzi
Baby, there’s no other superstar, you know that I’ll be
Your papa, paparazzi”

 

 

 

In today’s challenging business environment, customers demand more from the products and services they buy—they want what they want, when and how they want it.  And if they do not get it from you, they can and will obtain it from one of your competitors. Therefore, creating raving fans—customers who love what you do and are willing to follow, listen and respond to your call(s) to action —can give you a significant strategic advantage and improve your bottom line.

Now some of you may be wondering “what does Lady GaGa have to do with best business and branding tactics?”  She’s never attended business school nor does she have a history of entrepreneurship.  While it is easy to question her outlandish costumes, her repetitive child-like lyrics, and her over-the-top media stunts, it is hard to ignore her obvious musical talent and her ability to be at the right place at the right time with the right tune.  Whether you love or hate her (and 99% of you are definitely in one camp or another), it is difficult to ignore the tremendous achievements of this branding genius.

Less than 18 months ago, she was virtually unknown – and today she has two platinum selling albums and is the envy of artists that have been in the business for decades.

How did she do it? 

Think about it… in an industry cluttered with talented artists and interesting material, somehow SHE has managed to rise above almost everyone else and command our undivided attention.  From her meteoric rise, we can glean 7 simple, yet powerful secrets that any business can use to create raving fans and dominate their market niche.

Secret # 1: Be Memorable

Every newspaper, radio station and TV program in the world reported and talked about the “meat dress” that Lady GaGa wore to the 2010 MTV Music awards.

To be frank, it was so bizarre and scandalous, you could not help but notice her.

Similarly, in business, it’s all about grabbing attention – about creating anticipation, capturing awareness and making customers notice your products and services. The aim is to inspire customers and potential clients stop in their tracks and pay attention to your offer, service, product, or information.  In order to achieve this, you need to ask yourself what it is [exactly] about your offering (tangible or intangible) that will capture attention?

If you’re not truly memorable in business, it means you will have to work harder to get the sale.  And every time you have to work harder, it costs you time and money.

Case in point – does anybody even remember (or care) what Myley Cyrus or Britney Spears wore to the MTV awards?

No.  That is exactly my point – the # 1 secret is to be memorable.

Secret # 2: Repeat Repeat Repeat

Lady Gaga has got some really interesting songs but when you actually look at the lyrics — they are incredibly child-like and simple.  In fact, she often repeats the same words or sounds over and over again.

“Rah, rah, ah, ah, ah
Roma, roma, ma
Gaga, ooh la la
Want your bad romance

I want your ugly, I want your disease
I want your everything as long as it’s free
I want your love
Love, love, love, I want your love”

 

Ok Gaga, we get it already, you want our love.  And love [to her] likely means HUGE album sales or — money, money, money!  After all, didn’t ABBA teach us in the 80’s that it’s a rich man’s world?

So we all know that repetition works in music but why is it so powerful in business?

Each and every day, your target audience would be bombarded with hundreds of thousands of marketing messages.  In order to create cut through and present a clear and coherent brand message, your message has to be the same every single time someone experiences it.  To be effective, you cannot afford to be all things to all people.  In this case, you actually want to be a broken record – “ tell them what you are going to tell them; then, tell it them, and finally tell them what you have told them.”

Once you have determined what your unique message is, the key is to repeat it over and over and over again – in your telephone greeting, brochures, business cards, website, Twitter account, Facebook page, Linkedin profile, press releases, thank you cards, customer feedback surveys etc.

Rarely will a customer act on your message the first time he/she sees it.  If you want to earn their love and their business, you need to ask over and over again.

Secret # 3: Cultivate Excellence

If what you do is “just ok”, you might as well forget about being truly successful.  Technical competence is the cornerstone of every thriving business.

Even Lady GaGa – as strange as she may seem – is a technical genius in her area. At the age of 4 she learned to play the piano by ear.  By age 14, she’d written her first ballad and played at open mike nights in various New York clubs.  At the age 20 (long before her own debut album was released) she had already written songs for many other well known artists.

Think about the most successful businesses and brand names in the World – Apple, Microsoft, Toyota, Proctor and Gamble, GE and 3M – they ALL place a huge emphasis on technical expertise and acumen.  When what you do is superior to your competitors in terms of quality, service, aesthetics and durability, customers will flock to your business and price will not be the determining factor in their decision to purchase from you.

Secret # 4: Encourage Fanatics

Lady GaGa initially focused on and won over the gay community and turned them into brand evangelists.  Her music has now gained mass appeal with people of all ages and all walks of like.

Her strategy mirrored that of another well known brand icon that most people are very familiar with – Apple.  If you think back a few years, Apple was very specific about who they were targeting –  graphic designers, technical specialists, the music industry etc.  Few people outside this narrow scope even considered owning one because it was thought to be more difficult than a PC to operate (for the average person).  Now with the domination of other Apple products like the iPhone, iTunes, iPad and the iPod, almost every one of us has bought or used something that Apple produces.

If you want your business to be successful and endure the test of time, you will need to choose your demographic wisely and cultivate their fanaticism vigilantly.

Secret # 5: Focus

Are you clear about HOW your product/service makes life better for your customer?

It’s not enough to focus on being the #1 provider of this or that or the largest producer of X or Y.  Success is less about size and more about companies who put the needs of their customers first.  Focus first on what you can be best in the world at doing and then second on how you can deliver that world class product or service to your clients.  There’s no point being bigger if what you do just isn’t that great in the first place.

As strange and outlandish as Lady GaGa is, it’s pretty clear what her focus is – delivering catching dance tunes and simple, memorable melodies.  There is no tricky math here – she’s not trying to deliver deeply profound political statements or become the world’s most prolific artist.  She’s just trying to do one thing – to be memorable and infectious — and she does that one thing very well.

Secret # 6: Package wisely

I have no idea how much time and effort would be spent producing the tracks that Lady GaGa releases but I would hazard a guess that almost as much is invested in developing her elaborate costumes.  We all know that in life, “size matters”:  In business, “packaging matters”.  In fact some brands have such distinctive packaging, that they have changed the way that the entire industry displays its wares.

Think about how McDonald’s switched from Styrofoam boxes to plain wrap paper back in the early 90’s and the rest of the industry followed suit.  What about the clean, vivid, minimalistic and colorful packaging of Apple?  Haven’t many electronics competitors tried to mimic that highly compelling look and feel?

When is the last time that you took a step back and really looked at your packaging?  Does it present your goods and services in the best light possible?  If you changed its fit, shape, size, color, directness or ease of use, could it make it easier for your customers and lift sales?

Secret # 7: Be Relentless

There are very few one-hit wonders in the music industry.

However, the world is littered with businesses that have had initial success with a product/service and then failed to do much of anything else. The advent of the internet and global trading has meant that competition is fierce in most industries and the market is inundated with new products and innovations. In order to be successful, businesses must constantly improve what they do and move forward, not only to thrive, but also to survive.  To do this, you need to constantly ask yourself “what do we need to do today in order to WOW our customers and maintain their loyalty?”

Lady GaGa does continuous improvement better than anyone. Just when one of her hits starts to taper off, she is quick to introduce us to another song that we just can’t seem to get out of our heads. In order to keep her name and brand on our minds, she carefully and consistently plans to release a new song every three to four months.

Let’s be frank, I doubt Lady Gaga will ever be invited to lecture at an Ivy League school on business success but these 7 secrets –  that she does better than almost anyone else – apply to any and all businesses looking to be successful in today’s highly challenging and demanding marketplace.

ImagineeringNow
About The Author
Rhondalynn's life changed forever after the loss of her mother due to a senseless tragedy in 1992. She decided that despite her formal training and a promising career as a lawyer and chartered accountant, she wanted to do something more. So despite the fact she had already invested 10 years of her adult life in university and articling, she did the unthinkable. She left her high paid job as Commercial Manager for one of the largest corporations in the country, she re-trained herself in the sciences of the mind and she discovered a passion for writing and sharing her knowledge with business owners and executives. Rhondalynn has distilled the secrets to business success - that she learned from her life experience and working in GM level roles with Price Waterhouse Coopers, Max Factor, Village Cinemas, and Coles Group Ltd. - and produced a simple step-by-step process that you can apply to your business to boost your sales and bottom line. Rhondalynn can help you put strategies in place to grow your bottom line and ensure that your customers would never think of going elsewhere. She is the leading expert on harnessing the power of your brain and using it to improve your financial results in business. Rhondalynn is the author of On The Shoulders of Giants, Imagineering Your Destiny, Sobre Hombros deGigantes, Financial Foreplay, and Sales Seduction. She has appeared on CNN, Bnet/CBS, Channel 7, Channel 9, Kochie's Business Builders and 3AW, and writes for Yahoo, MYOB, Fast Thinking, Sunday Life, Dynamic Business, Business Spectator and Australian Retailer.

30 Comments:


  • By Nick 06 Oct 2010

    Rhondalynn, absolutely loved reading this article… You’re so right about her… To be honest her music is great but what’s even better about her is the monster brand she’s created. This article reflects exactly what I’ve been telling my friends about her… That although GaGa can be very strange, outrageous and weird at times, she’s a very clever woman, because she’s a true artist and designer in what she does with her talent!

    • By rhondalynn 06 Oct 2010

      Thanks Nick. I never used to be a fan of her or her music. I will admit that she is so strange and outlandish it initially put me off. However, I spent some time listening to her music and then began watching HOW she went about promoting her brand and business. No one can deny that she has come from nowhere (in a short period of time) and now absolutely dominates the airwaves. It is reminiscent of how Madonna built herself up in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Strange she may be – but she is also clever and purposeful. Everything she does has a point/reason. Fascinating stuff!

  • By Carson Nicholson 06 Jun 2011

    Your blog was recommended to me by a friend at Comm Bank. Glad I checked it out – original and really well written. Some great content here for business owners.

  • By Rupert Kopec 07 Jun 2011

    Great post! MY favourite is #4. Mind if I repost and pass this along? I will give you full credit in the footnote.

  • By Laurel Mingrone 07 Jun 2011

    I have to make the comment that it’s very pleasing to discover an original blog such as this one, good job. I hope to be dropping by again soon and I’ll be keeping an eye out for your next comment then.

  • By North Dakota Attorneys Society 08 Jun 2011

    Nice post….

    […] Very well said, even though this particular document is not newly posted on your blog. I recognize and concur with the greater part of all of your individual points, only thing I would probably supply is a handful of her photos. Thanks. […]…

  • By Naomi Innes 08 Jun 2011

    Original blog – great effort. I expect I’ll be dropping by quite often and I’ll be keeping an eye out for your next comment then.

  • By Angela McIntosh 09 Jun 2011

    Nice post….

  • By Vance Garsia 09 Jun 2011

    It actually stuns me when folks who own a business can continuously think up more terrific marketing options. Who would have thought a business service thats been around as long as printing could be promoted from a totally different angle all together. Excellent, creative ideas here.

  • By Andres Earlman 11 Jun 2011

    I can’t stand Gaga or her music but you make some very useful and salient points. She has marketed herself to superstardom and there is no denying that. Her latest song and clip however, seem a bit mainstream… nothing too catchy or interesting about them really. I wonder if she was a 1-2 album wonder???

  • By Xavier Palter 14 Jun 2011

    Great post – I enjoyed your twist an insight on this one. I’ll be back. Thanks for sharing some great insights that I can actually use in my business.

  • By Wesley Seykora 15 Jun 2011

    I saw another article/blog on bNet about Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber – so funny, that author must have seen your post and been inspired to write their own. 🙂 Great idea – you’re onto something…

  • By Jacki Clooney 15 Jun 2011

    I love her and this post is so relevant to business. Not too sure if she might be letting herself down with her latest stuff though. It lacks punch. I guess her brand is no different to the many brands that were featured in Good to Great. A few of the superstar companies in that book hit the skids during the GFC – it just goes to show that innovation and leadership are fluid things. You can never take the foot off the accelerator of your business, else the competition will pass you on the outside lane.

  • By Robbie Neville 15 Jun 2011

    Ha ha – laughed out loud when I saw this. I was expecting something totally different when I saw the headline – you make some good points and I agree that this stuff is often overlooked in university settings. This is good practical business advice – as opposed to some of the stuff I had to do/read when getting my MBA. Perhaps some of the newer neuromarketing programs are better preparing graduates and entrepreneurs for the real world of business?

  • By Caleb Bonnor 16 Jun 2011

    I have no idea how she has done this well selling records – I find her whole image/persona distracting. She can sing – the whole meat dress thing was disgusting though. Maybe this sort of thing only appeals to a certain audience? In my own business, I can definitely say that your comment about – repeat, repeat, repeat – is gold. It takes a while for messages and claims to really sink in with potential customers. They seem to need to hear it over and over. Why is that?

  • By Carley Steffen 17 Jun 2011

    Do you think her strategy to align with the gay community is part of her marketing vehicle or something she actually believes strongly in. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between marketing spin and reality.

  • By Alonso Wedman 20 Jun 2011

    I like how she put’s it out there & you’re right, the stuff is catchy. Maybe music is easier to market than some consumer goods because it is sexy and you can remember the tune – even if you can’t remember the name or who sang it?

  • By Rodrick Ceccarelli 20 Jun 2011

    I like the parrallel with her and Apple. Altough Steve Job’s himself might not see the 2 brands as having much in common. LOL

  • By Fredricka Kochka 20 Jun 2011

    Well, such a nice experience its been looking over a blog such as this. So I thought I should offer some feedback. This blog was recommended to me by a work collegue so I thought I’d ‘trot on over’ & have a look and yes, I agree… great work. It is a shame but there is an endless number of sites on the net which are just plain boring & it is heartwarming to see someone putting in the effort to get it right, don’t stop doin’ it.

  • By Maryalice Stites 21 Jun 2011

    … great work. There are so many blogs out there which are dull and it is cetainly refreshing to see someone shooting from the hip, don’t stop doin’ it.

  • By Luis Hoffelmen 21 Jun 2011

    Gold! So “not what I expected” but Gold nonetheless. Still smililng…

  • By Isidra Hollinshead 22 Jun 2011

    Great point – hey, did you used to live in Canada? I think we might have been neighbors…

  • By Christopher Teller 22 Jun 2011

    I attended Harvard…and you’re right Lady Gaga never came up. We did however talk about a lot of esoteric stuff that in the real world isn’t always as effective as what some celebrities are doing. Musicians seem to have a unique and effective take on marketing, don’t they?

  • By Jessika Haskovec 22 Jun 2011

    Hey I saw another post online the other that is quite recent – I think he “borrowed” your idea or work a bit. You might want to check it out. I think the title had Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber in it. I guess you should see it as a form of flattery! 🙂

  • By Tobias Coldiplay 23 Jun 2011

    Do you also write for Yahoo in the States? I like your stuff, you should syndicate more of your posts to magazines over here. Your posts are practical and useful… plus, you put a twist and have a bit of fun.

  • By Carlos Karmann 23 Jun 2011

    Hey, terrific effort. Keep it up.

  • By Evie Banton 26 Jun 2011

    It never ceases to amaze me how these businesses can continuously dream up great marketing options.

  • By Mirta Munroe 27 Jun 2011

    I think her success primarily comes down to being different. She’s unlike everyone else and thus she stands out. How many consumer products are in that category? Not many in my estimation.

  • By Jorge Maher 27 Jun 2011

    #2 is the most powerful. So many businesses want to put there message out there once and they expect the consumer to accept it and buy straight away. This is insane. How many iPad ads did Apple need to bombard us with before we felt we had to have it? We see ads every single night on the TV building up desire… and the store shelves are still empty. You can’t even go to the store here and buy one because there is no stock. Coincidence? I think NOT!

  • By Claudette Hageman 28 Jun 2011

    I think Gaga has borrowed a lot from Michael Jackson and Madonna. She is no more unique than each of them were back in “their day”… However, compared to all the other musicians out there, Gaga is still a thousand miles ahead in knowing how to stand out.

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