The music marketing plan is meant to promote a new unsigned artist who may not have enough resources to splash out extravagant marketing strategies. It defines both new and traditional techniques for marketing, taking into consideration the cost and status factor. Despite all the limitations, the plan is expected to help Slavaki and his Elusive records shape opinion, advance reputation, and improve the quality of communication in the music marketing industry. The internet, as a new tool for marketing will be emphasized, combined with other relatively less costly traditional tactics).
Other media channels like TV and radio will form an integral part of the plan. As Wee (1999, 75) aptly puts it, “the media is the message-we are now only fully realizing this visionary’s grasp of the future, where we are defined by the tools we use and how we choose to use them to reach our fullest potentials”. Practically, almost everyone has got exposure, either directly or indirectly with these new technologies.
During my niece’s birthday, I planned to give him a nice gift that would make him remember me for the rest of his life, because he believes in remembering people. I always knew he loved music very much, and that he would listen to music at any free time he had. I wanted to buy him something that ordinarily would not be like common gifts he had received in the past. Something “not traditional”, not expected for a birth day gift, an ipod, since he lacked one.
That means I knew exactly what I wanted for him and for myself; make him immensely happy with something that he would not only keep as a treasure but also put into use, and get myself recognition and reputation as the giver of the best gift. I mean a traditional flower gift or a card would be placed somewhere within the room and only remembered occasionally, an ipod would be part of him whenever he goes. That was the strategy. Could it be that I was trying to market myself socially? Well may be yes may be no, depending on ones view, because all I knew is I wanted to make someone special to me happy so that I would be remembered and recognized for longer.
This plan is meant to underline in details the use of conventional marketing & publicity plan for Salvaki and his Elusive Records. It will be useful in defining not only new but useful tools as well as techniques that will help shape opinion, advance reputation, and improve the quality of communication in the music marketing industry for the new artist. From the days when our ancestors realized that simple wheels and a lever would be a better alternative for moving the world than the backbreaking traditional force, man’s both intellectual and creative innovation has been used to make our daily lives simpler, easier, richer and of course better that it used to be (Nyagiro, 2005, p. 4).
This has been done by a combination of several tools of communication and techniques, where the internet blogs, social networking sites and other technological advancements, in combination with the modern elements of fundamental communication techniques like advertisements and public relations are used as new channels to create new perceptions and transform human behavior (Werther, 1996, p. 3). As Wee (1999, 75) aptly puts it, “the media is the message-we are now only fully realizing this visionary’s grasp of the future, where we are defined by the tools we use and how we choose to use them to reach our fullest potentials”. Logically, this is true at the present than ever before, as almost everyone has had an experience with these technological craze like advanced mobile phones and computers for internet communications, either directly or indirectly.
In 1996, the then leading airline company reputed for its low-cost strategy was subjected to a serious negative publicity as a result of an accident that made it grounded temporarily (Osgerby, 2004, p. 46). It was later allowed to fly but with the heavy burden of tarnished reputation and image, it found itself in the receiving end of economic hardship when it could not recapture enough clients, thus sustained loss (p.48).
However, with a strategic integrated marketing communication (IMC) approach intended to help it rebuild as well as redefine its brand and reputation. The first step was to change the name to Airtrain so as to isolate itself from the former name that had lost its brand identity (p.49). By making sure that all the statements and messaging for re-positioning were all integrated into one, the company launched a new branding concept, public relations, very creative advertising and promotional campaign strategies, and a powerful link for internal communication (p.52).
The IMC campaign proved successful when the company was able to reposition its brand, received positive media coverage, and most importantly redefined its market niche of low-fare air travel (p.53). Consequently, they realized a significant increase in ticket bookings, surprisingly at an unexpectedly higher price. The records indicate that AirTrain’s planes capacity were 70.4% filled, a 10.4% significant increase from the projected 60% (p.54). Most observers concur that the company’s approach of building its new brand of honesty proved a catch phrase for its credibility development (55). Today, AirTrain is not only one of the top low-fare airlines, but received the “Best Low-Fare Airline” award from Entrepreneur magazine for the third time (p.57).
Marketing Strategy Overview
Now the illustration of AirTrain may be long enough to confuse one reading this plan thus forget the actual purpose of the plan, building a brand for a new artist/ musician, Slavaki and his Elusive records. The question we are supposed to ask is, does this illustration has any significance in any form of brand building strategy, more so a new artist or a musician who wants to connect with his or her “clients”, fans? Yasin, (2006, p. 57) says that “the better the company’s reputation, the stronger the perception of its brand”, and that the long “term relationship with customers are the most profitable for a company”. Allow me to replace Ikeler words “customer” with “fan”, and a “company” with an “artist or musician” in the subsequent discussions in this paper.
AirTrain success is a typical example of how IMC campaigns can help in branding, and maximization of promotional activities. Being an interconnected process, it can be used to clearly, concisely, and consistently deliver brand name messages successfully (Thomas, 2000, p. 10). Tom Duncan, the founder of the IMC graduate program at the University of Colorado- Boulder, in his book, “IMC: Using Advertising and Promotion to Build Brands,” give an all inclusive definition of IMC as “a process for managing customer relationships that drive the brand value. More specifically, it is a cross-functional communications process for creating and nourishing successful long term relationships with publics.” (11).
However, not all the marketing strategies used by the AirTrain can apply in Slovakia and his Elusive Records’ marketing. After all, they are completely in different segment of the market. Again with increased technological advancement, it is even more critical to move fast with technology to ensure that the artist and music get maximum exposure.
An online advertisement has a grater ability of building an artist’s profile and consequently selling his or her brand, that is, it would make the artist get the much needed recognizable brand. Lathrop (2003, p.2), in his article “online critical mass” however warns that “recognizable doesn’t necessarily mean universally known, but a recognizable brand means its higher chance of competing for attention in the market space”.
According to the 2005 survey data, about 43million visited yahoo, 36 million visited AOL, 35million visited MSN, and 18 million visited Google (Yasin, 2006, p. 16). I did not get a very reliable data on how much this has changed especially with the emergence of social networks like Youtube, myspace, facebook, tagged, bado, etc. In brief, the internet is the new mass market backed by the common wisdom in marketing that reaching many consumers (millions if this data is anything to go by) in a matter of hours or days is critical in getting a brand of music to sell. Coincidentally, Slavaki has noted this and is already a member of myspace, a good progress indeed to start with. The ultimate maximize communication with the fans.
Even though online music marketing has gone a notch higher due to its flexibility- note the revolution in the cell phone industry and the internet, a new artist can not afford to ignore offline brand marketing completely.
Exposure through offline branding channels like television, radio, print, and public relations (e.g. live performances and) has proved successful for many musicians. The theory here is that it is the offline media that acts as a launching pad, then online marketing efforts reinforces the whole intention (Cunningham & Romano, 2000, p. 19). Fundamentally, there is a clear similarity between online and offline advertisements; the messaging opportunity is the same (p. 24). Their difference comes in the medium, cost, speed and range of spread and access, and ability to combine both sound and picture unlike many offline advertisements (26-27).
A million dollar question is: how can we integrate both online and some of the offline marketing approaches to get the best result for Slavaki? I am talking of “some” because of the cost factor, considering that this plan is for an upcoming unsigned artist. How can the artist grow the fan base network and create an impact on his elusive records brand identity at an affordable cost? How can the artist critically engage a particular audience segment?
According to Yeshin (2004, p.311), the latter question is even more critical since “just the way consumers differ depending on the market, so is the brands available for them to chose from”. It is thus a mean task to identify and build a consistent brand that would sweep the feelings of a particular segment of audience especially as the fan base widens and measure the level of success.
Principally, it is noted that it’s not an easy affair to predict the unstable consumers’ aesthetic preference in the music industry (Cryle, 1998, p. 79). The consumers’ preference today or in the past doesn’t assure future preference (81).
However, deliverables can be estimated with several methods of responses from listeners. The artist can get feedback especially from social network websites like twitter, mySpace (already a member), facebook, etc within a twinkle of an eye, since it would make it easy to directly communicate to the fans directly (Osgerby, 2004, p. 56). Slavaki may not be in a position to physically distribute his CDs for short term success due to the logistics nightmares associated with that. It easy to do monitoring and evaluation on these sites since most of them have track records of the number of people who are either listening to the music or even watching in a day, compared to other fellow unsigned artists like it happens in youtube (57).
With comments from listeners, the artist can get back and improve on areas that have shortfalls to enhance marketing, and at the same time reinforce areas that receive accolades. The frequency with which the music receives airplay on national TVs and radio will be important measurable criteria for publicity and awareness (Dawson, 1999, p. 8). The sales of the CDs may be a long term strategy, where the artists shall have got signed (p. 9). It is important to take this into consideration and analyze it for long term marketing strategy for Slavaki and his elusive records.
There is a common believe among traditional marketing fraternity that all market theories deal with the “intrinsic” value of the products i.e., that the value of a product comes from within itself, regardless of association with other things (Lathrop, 2003, p. 71). This could either be true or false in the music industry, depending on which context. Music itself is a “volatile” products that is different form other products in that it is not easy to identify, develop or even manage (p. 78) As Lathrop puts it, you have to manage the daily changing mood of the artist and the fans. The latter will identify with the former if he represents their lifestyle, age group (time), demographic position, media preference, and many more (92). This is referred to as market segmentation within the field of marketing.
The current music industry is flooded with youth culture as seen in the way marketers target youth to get attention from the youth. A study conducted among 600 Singapore youth between the ages of 14-19 showed that the youth develop their own culture to identify with, independent from their parents (Osgerby, 2004, p. 51). The evaluation of the 2002 MTV Staying Alive campaign inquired about the growing internet use by the global citizen, the youth approached the internet use more aggressively (76%) than the middle (42%) and the old generation (18%), especially when it comes to listening to music (p. 54).
This campaign should thus focus on the youth, who seem to have transformed the “fordist” era of mass production for a mass consumer, into, a new, “post-Fordist” epoch of flexible production for a profusion of differentiated market segments (Osgerby, 2004: 46). Slavaki should therefore strive to build his brand on youth demographic segment in order to reap the maximum much from his music.
Marketing Mix SWOT analysis
In a short term basis, the artist’s registration at social networks like mySpace is very critical (Slavaki is already a head on mayspace). This is because it makes it easier to follow or track down the responses from the potential consumer almost immediately since the musician or band can directly talk to their fans, get accolades and criticism that can establish platform for improvement (Rhodes, 2004.)
Even though there are numerous opportunities for a new unsigned artist to get much coverage form the press that would ultimately uplift his or her profile and most importantly fan base, it could prove counterproductive if the artist gets this press attention early and uses up the opportunity before the even the release of the first single (Lathrop, 2003, p. 121). If Slavaki receives lots of press coverage early, ostensibly to get signed, and unknowingly use up all his new band features, it may prove difficult to maintain the same momentum to the release of the new album. In some cases, much hype may turn off the new artist’s diehard funs whomay develop a feeling that Slavaki is just much hype with no substance (p. 127).
To create more awareness and long term success for the brand of music, it is always advisable to back up such initiatives with a strong marketing strategy, combining both direct and indirect advertisement strategies e.g. radio and TV promotions (Elasmer & Hunter, 1996, p. 49). Practically, for example, when I hear a new song played on radio, I will either like or dislike it immediately, unlike when I read about the song on a newspaper review.
How can Slavaki get the songs played on radio? According to Elasmer & Hunter, “a radio plugger will see a new live band and approach them to offer their help (p. 61). National radio and press are often more likely to play demos of unsigned artists if they know a plugger is involved as this means there will be a long term plot” (p. 62). This thus calls for much involvement in live performances for the artist to get publicity, and come out of the “underground artist” tag to the limelight (p. 63).
Strategic Marketing Initiative
The first thing Slavaki and his team should strive to accomplish is to establish a goal. What does the artist do to accomplish this goal? A new artist should not think of making quick back in record sales. Lathrop (2003, p. 56) advises that a new artist should have one main goal; to get as many people as possible to listen to the music. This therefore calls for the artist to give many of his record at low cost or even free. George (2009, p. 3) justifies the idea of giving music free or and low price when he says, “music is free, whether one wants to believe that or not. Every piece of music you can think of is available free right now a click away, so to get good will from the fans, one should be ready to give music for free and build database of fans if the artist wants to sell at higher price in the future (p. 4).
Slavaki should give away your music as high-quality DRM-free MP3. The artist should lay down a structure to collect information about the people’s emails that would allow him to start building the database of the potential fans (p.6).
The records should be organized and sold in different premium packages at a price that is based on the number of records available- with tactic of making the records available in limited edition (p.7). By making the records scarce, Slavaki will be trying to create anxiety among the potential funs (Yasin, 2006, p. 99). The music packages offered should also be made unique and special through strategies like hand-signing to invoke the fans’ interest (101). The premium download should be made available at high resolution versions sold at reasonable price, and further readily available with any physical purchase of the record (George, 2009, p. 7).
As explained earlier, it is important to get the radio coverage because it has immediate response from the listeners. If an artist organizes national tours, there is a likelihood of a regional radio and press covering the event or publicizing it before the actual event. George explains that if a person hears such live show events and its brand of music on the radio or read about it on the local press; they tend to develop combined triggers to get the artist into their consciousness (9).
A fairly large proportion of young Internet users in all entertainment sites listen to music on the Internet (68%) (11). “There are no written rules when it comes to marketing a new artist and that there are numerous tools at the artist’s disposal to do that marketing” (George, 2009, p.14). He states that internet is still one of the best channels to market a new artist (p. 15). Other than mySpace and youtube, other websites such as Drowned in sound, NME.com and Gigwise are all great areas for Slavaki to try out (17). The whole concept revolves around an initial attempt to form a strong fan base for the artist. The release for the first album should be the beginning of moving further than diehard fan base, exploring the wider global or regional market.
|Marketing/Promotional & Media Activities||Region||Date|
|2. Live shows and events||UK||From Oct 2009 to Oct2010|
|3. Radio & TV Interviews||UK||Oct 2009 to Oct 2010|
|Tours||UK||Oct 2009-Oct 2010|
- Major live shows should be limited to school holidays periods to get majority of school going youth attend. The cost factor will limit the tour within major UK cities rather than venturing markets outside of UK and at the same time not compromise the first main goal: consolidating diehard fans.
- The target audience is limited to urban youth who are more aggressive towards of new music in the market.
- Interviews on national radios and TVs will be limited to host stations’ acceptance of interview request. The host radio and TV stations may not approve of such interviews considering their program arrangements.
Most of internet services to market the artist are free and that all it takes is register group and invite people to join as members like the facebook groups. The internet is a mode of communication that all young people are familiar with and research has shown that 90% of young people have access to internet (Rhodes, 2004).
The first major expectation is to have an increase in the number of listeners of Slavaki’s music on the internet. The number of young people responding to the artist’s brand name (Elusive) and new music is expected to rise, making it a household name within the UK. Once the live shows kicks off, corporate sponsors are expected to come in, purposefully to cash in the artist’s rising popularity, and thus a possibility of getting signed with major labels.
Yasin, T., 2006, ‘Integrated marketing communications’, Chicago, Palmhorse Printers.
Rhodes, A., 2004. Market segmentation, Streetwise online.
Osgerby, B., 2004. Youth Media, New York, Routledge Publishers, p. 46-57.
Cryle, D., 1998. “Niche markets or monopolies? Regional media, government policy & the cross-media review”, Media International Australia, no. 88, pp. 79-88.
Cunningham, S. & Romano, A., 2000, “Whither Media Influence?” Media International Australia, no. 95, pp. 19-28.
Dawson, S., 1999, “News and PBL at the Productivity Commission”, Communications Update, no. 155, pp. 8-9.
Thomas, J. 2000. “It’s later than you think: the Productivity Commission‘s broadcasting inquiry and beyond”, Media International Australia, no. 95, pp. 9-18.
Lathrop. 2003. “This Business of Music Marketing & Promotion”, London: Billboard Books.
Nyagiro, T. 2005. “Using Global Media- Globalization, Technology, and Youth Culture”, YouthNet Program Report.
Werther, W.1996. “Toward global convergence”, Bus Horizons; 3-9.
George S. (2009). “Emerging Youth Cultures in the Era of Globalization: Technoculture and Terrorculture Available”. Web.
Wee, T. 1999. “An exploration of a global teenage lifestyle in Asian societies”, J Consum Mark; 16(4):365-75.
Elasmer, M. Hunter, J. 1996. “The impact of foreign TV on a domestic audience: a meta-analysis”. In Burleson BR, ed. Communication Yearbook 20 (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 47-69.