Peter Krainik, Contributor
Recently I had the pleasure of attending Rock N Roll Fantasy camp, a four- to five-day rock camp for old musicians or wannabes to jam, form a band, practice and play with rock stars from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Since the last time I played keyboards in a band was back in college, 30 years ago, I was excited to not only see if I could remember how to play, but to find out what makes rock stars different from other less-successful musicians. As I got to know the rockers and talk with them about the secrets to their success, I realized that brands and CMOs could leverage many “rock star” strategies to improve customer engagement, motivate their teams, and lead the growth agenda for their companies.
1. Like Rock Songs, Marketing Programs are the Sum of Their Parts
At one point during the camp, Steve Stevens, lead guitarist for Billy Idol and other great bands, broke down verse-by-verse the guitar parts for their big hit “White Wedding.” Each section of the song was analyzed to determine the best guitar style to make the song more impactful. As brands, how often do we take apart each piece of a program or campaign and think about the best way to engage customers or build the brand piece-by-piece? Think of the best approach to tell your brand story at every touch point with your customers? Analyze and review each piece and timing of each piece within your branding efforts?
2. Practice Makes Perfect: Being a Gifted Marketer is Not Enough
I was fortunate to have Warren Hayes, lead guitarist for The Allman Brothers Band, stop by our band’s practice room to jam with us and share a few stories. He shared his approach and passion for practicing every day, which many times means literally picking two notes and practicing only them for two hours. I was always under the impression that the great rock bands were just gifted musicians that “winged it” in the recording studio and at concerts. This is not the case. How much time and effort are you and your team spending staying sharp and continuing to improve as marketers and leaders? Just as hours of practice and focus separate the good from the great musicians and bands, a commitment to constant improvement defines the best marketing teams as well.
3. CMOs are Recording Studio Mixers Assembling the Best Song Tracks
Toward the end of rock camp, our band went to local recording studio in LA and had a chance to record our original song with a recording expert. I was impressed by the way the studio experts were able to break out each instrument, extract the best sections, and then have a certain musician re-record their part for a specific section – all of which resulted in the best possible final recording that ultimately is shared with music fans. Intrigued, I thought about how CMOs act as that “studio mixer,” pulling all the components and team roles together to put out the best possible program, campaign or event. How often do you ask someone to share their specific role with the rest of the team, provide feedback, then try it again and again? Manage and change the “volume” of each piece of a campaign on customer engagement program instead of all campaign vehicles on full volume?
4. Treat Brand Advocates Like Band Groupies: Give Them What They Want
In an interesting conversation with one of the rock stars about groupies, he told me, “Sometimes you just need to give them what they want to keep them excited to be your groupies and help sell the band.” Think of your brand advocates as groupies, and instead of taking them for granted, give them what they want: early views of new products, special services, and personalized feedback. And don’t forget to simply thank them and told them how much you love them.
5. Look to Other “Genres” for New Ideas and Inspiration