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There’s no need to fight it, everyone has a guilty pleasure.
No matter what I do, or how old I get, I can’t seem to shake my love of boy bands.
While my walls aren’t plastered with the pages of the latest edition of Teen Beat magazine, I’ve allotted a generous amount of space on my iPod to boy band hits.
How do I justify my adoration you ask? Well, I am a firm believer that boy bands have employed some of the best marketing strategies of all time.
Think about it.
I’m already kicking myself for including them in this context, but The Beatles took the 60’s by storm. Teen girls across the map were reduced to tears at the mere sight of John, Paul, George, and Ringo.
The New Kids on The Block won the hearts of 80’s fan girls, while Hanson, *NSYNC, and the Backstreet Boys created fandemonium in the 90’s and early 2000’s.
While I spent my indoor recesses in elementary school writing snail mail to Ashley Parker Angel of OTown, modern boy bands, and their target audiences are more in-tune with technology than ever.
As a result, their marketing efforts are breaking barriers, and exceeding expectations on a regular basis.
Whether you like it or not, your business can learn a lot from the marketing practices behind these highly successful pop sensations.
Know Your Target Audience
It goes without saying; teenage girls are not a force to be reckoned with.
Recognizing that their success lies in the hands of this volatile mass of lip glossed, social media junkies, boy bands strive to deliver the type of experience their fans expect, and nothing less.
They don’t try to sing country songs, they don’t wear offensive clothing, and they don’t misbehave in public (most of the time).
Instead, they sing catchy pop hits, they’re fashion forward, and they strive to be as charming and mom-friendly as physically possible.
Aware of their target audience, they didn’t waste their time trying to market One Direction branded vodka, or even PG-13 movies for that matter. Instead they geared their marketing efforts towards more age-appropriate merchandise from the get-go.
Lunch boxes, bed sheets, graphic tees, and posters all produce a profit because they speak to the wants and needs of their target market.
You cannot sell to your target market is you don’t know who they are.
In order market your product or service more effectively, it is important to drum up the right information about whom you are trying to appeal to. Through the creation of buyer personas, you have the ability to gain customer insight, and a better understanding of the people you will be basing your business decisions off of.
Knowing your target audience will help you regulate the amount of time, money, and energy you are pouring into your marketing efforts.
Use the following questions as a guideline for establishing a clear concept behind the direction of your marketing strategy:
1) Who are your customers (age, gender, demographic..)
2) What are you trying to sell them?
3) Why should they buy it from you?
The more you understand your target audience, the easier it will be for you to delight them.
Have a Plan for Growth
A ripe group of teenage fan girls won’t remain ripe forever. Eventually they’ll land their first part-time job, head off to college, or move on to the next trend.
What boy bands are doing right is recognizing what growth means for their brand.
Rather than accept their fate, many boy bands are a few steps ahead of us, hard at work crafting a plan to expand their shelf life as they mature alongside their fans.
Whether that means testing out a new sound, or exploring a solo career, they usually have a backup plan in their queue to employ before things get stale.
I think it’s safe to say that Justin Timberlake’s success can attest to this notion.
By maintaining relationships with industry insiders, and staying in tune with his loyal fan base, JT was able to carry out a nearly seamless growth-induced transition.
While many people will urge you not to count your eggs before they hatch, when it comes to your business it’s a good idea to have a plan for growth.
With so much going on it the now, many businesses lose sight of how their current marketing efforts will pan out in the future.
Take the time to make note of any changes that may occur, both big and small, that have the potential to alter the way you are carrying out your current marketing efforts.
It is important to look ahead and consider what type of changes in your industry may force you to modify your strategy.
Don’t let transitions sneak up on you, instead focus what effect growth will have on your business, and what you can do to ease any necessary transitions.
Leverage social media
With a vast majority of their fan base regularly posting and interacting on social media sites, boy bands have mastered the art of social engagement as a way to remain relevant.
Social networks like Twitter provide them with the opportunity to establish a sense of familiarity between themselves and their expanse of followers.
In an attempt to make themselves appear as dreamy and accessible as possible, they use social media as a vehicle to drive engagement and increase fan loyalty.
Facebook posts, tweets, and Instagrams help to satisfy their fans desire to remain in tune with what their favorite band members are up to, while securing their heartthrob image across a multitude of platforms. But they don’t stop there.
Boy bands leverage their social media efforts, by hosting giveaways and contests that have the ability to elicit an impressive response.
Last year, for example, the British super group One Direction issued a Twitter contest that encouraged their fans to organize city “Twititions” (Twitter petitions) and collect as many signatures as possible in order to bring their city one step closer to hosting a One Direction event.
Genius. The Twittersphere was a buzz with all things One Direction as eager fans poured their efforts in social media with their eye on the prize.
Social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools that you can employ.
Serving as a direct line for two-way communication with your target audience, your business has the opportunity to build stronger connections while humanizing your brand.
With the influx of social media platforms sweeping the marketing landscape, the standard for customer service is ever-changing. People expect 24/7 access, and social media makes it easy for your to monitor your customers comments, questions, and concerns in a timely manner.
Aside from content creation and distribution, social media is an excellent place for your business to host a promotional contest or giveaway.
Your goal is to create a promotion that provides value to both you and your customer. For example, ask your customers take a personal photo of them using your product or service and tag it with a relevant branded hashtag for a chance to win a prize. This type of customer engagement will improve their customer experience, and make it clear that you value their business.