Marketing is not a department… ~ 37Signals

Marketing is not a job. Marketing is not something you need to put on your daily to-do list.

Marketing is acclimating your audience with the whole vision of your brand.

Marketing is everything that you do.

Anything that can be used to give your fans or potential fans a better idea of what your music is all about and who you are as an artist is branding…

This is marketing.

This simple concept that 37Signals presents is truly an argument for why marketing is more than just ‘spreading the word’. Every time you engage with your fans you are giving them another piece of you, and in essence you are further developing a clearer understanding of your brand.

Why is this so important?

Because a well developed brand will lead to stronger loyalty and long term sales. It is the difference between a movement and a fad.

Here are 10 important components of marketing that will help you further establish your brand:

Emails and Phone Calls

Every single email sent out and phone call taken is a direct interaction with your brand. It is an opportunity for your brand to make a lasting impression. Here are a few ways to make that happen:

– Word choices
– Demeanor
– Font

Social Sharing

Literally everything you share through social networks is a reflection of you, and you are your brand. How you represent yourself is the basis for how your brand will develop over time. A few things to keep in mind:

– photos
– Videos
– Liking pages
– Status updates
– Location-based check ins


How you live your life has quite a strong impact on the decisions you make which will ultimately effect the direction of your brand as it continues to grow. Lifestyle is one thing that many people feel very strongly about and is a great opportunity for you to create a stronger connection with fans who live in a similar manner.

– Green
– Political
– Healthy

Blog Commenting

How you comment on blogs and interact in a discussion will give others an honest look at how you approach music, your fans and the industry. However you do comment on blog posts, make sure it accurately reflects how you want others to perceive your brand:

– Honest
– Insightful
– Opinionated
– Biased
– Cynical
– Optimistic

Gigs: Before, During and After

For performing musicians, gigs are where the brand comes to life. You can do all you want through social media, blogging, videos, etc. but if people show up and your performance sucks, or you were just a complete jerk, you can kiss those fans goodbye. Especially now that albums are not selling as they used to, make sure you perfect how your brand is perceived in person:

– Networking w/ fans before and after performance
– Crowd interaction during performance
– Enjoyment during performance… no one wants to see a sponge play the guitar
– Merch booth is stocked and ready to go

Song Quality

Your approach to songwriting is a very, very important part of your marketing and how you brand yourself. How you approach the music and where you apply your focus will be THE most revealing look into your world as an artist and a person. Here are a few different ways to approach the music that seem to stick with people:

– Having GREAT songs
– Producing songs quickly and on a regular basis
– Recording only the best of the best of your material
– Deep lyrical content

What You Wear on Stage

Image is and has always been an extremely important part of branding. What you wear is a reflection of your brand image and is something that you would be foolish to overlook. People are visual in nature, so what you wear may even unintentionally be the one thing that people remember about you. Don’t underestimate how important this is to your overall brand:

– prep
– urban
– hippy
– gothic
– trendy

Any and Every Fan Interaction

This is essentially customer service. When a customer or follower interacts with a brand, they want to be treated properly or they are left with a sour taste in their mouth about the whole experience. Make sure you go about this properly so that your efforts as an artist are not undone by poor interactions with fans:

– Timely response
– Respectful
– Insightful and/ or honest

How You React To Criticism

Every worthwhile brand will run into criticism, and as a part of marketing your brand properly is maintaining strong public relationships. The worst thing you can do for your brand is to come off as defensive. Rather you should be thankful for the honest input. Simply doing so can actually turn a negative interaction into a positive experience and is a great way to maintain a strong relationship with fans.

– Positive or negative
– Defensive or thankful

Adding Value

A crucial element in the success or failure of any brand is how valuable it is perceived to be. Keeping this in mind, and adding value at all times is a great way to increase the loyalty of your brand:

– Give away free music (occasionally)
– Free UStream performance
– Exclusive music for newsletter subscribers
– Blog post focusing on something other than news or updates
As you can see marketing is truly everywhere. It’s omnipresence is what helps us to establish a brand and a culture for our fans to grab a hold of, and for potential fans to recognize. It is time that we all stop thinking of marketing as a job and as a necessary evil and instead start to focus on the goals, knowing that marketing is there if only you approach it properly.

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How Else Do You Knowingly Market To Your Fans?

These ideas just skim the surface of how you are unknowingly marketing to your fans on a daily basis. Please leave some feedback or contribute other ideas below in the form of a comment.

[Image Credit: 37Signals]