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Swift Lessons in Millennial Marketing

There’s no doubt 2015 was the year of Taylor Swift. Building off the success of her 1989 album, Swift’s world tour generated over $4 million per show.

There’s no doubt 2015 was the year of Taylor Swift.

Building off the success of her 1989 album, Swift’s world tour generated over $4 million per show.

At last week’s Grammy Awards, the 26-year-old received Album of the Year. While most of the media focused on her acceptance speech, there’s more to Swift than her riff with Kanye West and much-discussed love life. Suffice it to say that Swift is an under-30 marketing master, with plenty to teach about marketing to Millennials.

The biggest T-Swift take-away? FOMO.

FOMO

FOMO, otherwise known as “fear of missing out,” is a powerful force for Millennials and stems from their intense need to belong and be part of a community.

This is why each 1989 album sold includes personalized photos and messages, and fans also receive a special code they can enter to win a personal meeting with Swift.

FOMO marketing produces social buzz and free publicity as excited fans share their exclusive purchases on social media with friends. This exclusivity is crucially important among the Millennial crowd. For this reason, limited-edition products and special offers are an effective way to invite young consumers to join your community and strengthen their allegiance to your brand.

Experiences

To further capitalize on FOMO, Swift’s 1989 World Tour concerts created the ultimate sense of exclusivity and community. With over 38 different guest performers, ranging from Selena Gomez and The Rolling Stones, Swift successfully made every concert unique and gifted fans with a special memory.

Obviously, Swift understands her generation’s appreciation for special experiences. In fact, a Harris study revealed 78 percent of Millennials would rather spend money on an experience than a product.

The best part about creating special memories? Sharing them. Fans feel empowered and excited about their special experiences with Swift and spread the word on social media. (Enter more FOMO.)

Marketers need to consider how they create similar, meaningful experiences. Customer appreciation luncheons, movie screenings, game nights, service projects, and family events are all great ideas. Think of creative ways to connect with your own fans.

Emotion

As the power of FOMO demonstrates, community has a strong influence on a consumer’s buying decisions. So does emotion.

Last December Swift and her team combed through select fans’ social media pages to figure out what each person wanted for Christmas. Presents were then purchased and delivered, wrapped by hand, and adorned with handwritten notes from the pop star herself.

Swift unveiled “Swiftmas” via YouTube, and fan reactions flooded the Internet. Clearly, a mass-produced gift of an autographed CD would not garner nearly the same reaction.

Then, Swift’s team took surprise and delight to a whole new level when carefully selected fans were invited in groups of 89 to an “amazing opportunity”. These opportunities turned out to be album-listening parties. Fans spent the day with Swift in her own home, listening to her new songs, eating home-baked cookies baked by the pop star, and posing for dozens of selfies with her.

These events provided fans with the ultimate reward of hanging out with Swift, cementing their adoration of both her and her new album.

Swift excels at connecting with her fans on a personal level, and this creates a ripple effect. With 91 percent of the Millennial generation willing to make purchases based on a friend’s recommendation, peer marketing can be a very powerful force.

The bottom line: Swift’s campaign was hugely successful. 1989 went platinum almost instantly, with 1.3 million copies sold the first week.

Furthermore, Swift is now the highest-earning musician in the world, reportedly earning more than $1 million per day in revenue.

Millennial marketing isn’t just about posts and likes and it shouldn’t be neglected or overlooked. There’s real revenue and opportunity to be discovered when you take the time to engage your youngest fans.

Sarah Sladek

Concerned about declining engagement in our nation’s membership associations, non-profits, and workplaces, Sarah Sladek founded XYZ University, the nation’s first and only generations-focused training and engagement strategy company, in 2002.

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