Components of DIY Marketing

Bobby Borg, author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musician, was featured in the spring issue of Berklee Today, the Berklee College of Music’s alumni magazine!

00124611Components of DIY Marketing

Marketing is the complete process of creating products and services to satisfy your target audience, build awareness, and make sales. It includes researching, goal setting, strategizing, and executing. In this article, we discuss three aspects of DIY marketing that are often overlooked by musicians who believe that marketing simply involves social media and YouTube videos. Here we focus on building a brand identity with slogans, testing products among fans, and measuring marketing efforts.

1. Building Your Brand Identity with Slogans

What do Apple, Ozzy Osbourne, and hundreds of other successful companies and brands all have in common? They all employ brand slogans to build their identity. Slogans provide further information about a brand, communicate an overall philosophy, and increase memorability. They can even become part of your brand’s logo or be used to market a specific product or service, such as your own album or concert tour. Cypress Hill branded its Smoke Out Festival with the slogan, “An all day mind altering event.” And Bring Me the Horizon (a British metal-core outfit) branded its album Suicide Season with the slogan, “A perfect soundtrack to a life spent on the edge.” No confusion there.

What follows are several tips for creating a slogan that can make a lasting impression with your intended audience. Remember, slogans don’t have to be grammatically correct; but they must be pithy and direct.

Reflect the identity that you want to project. To better communicate what you do and who you are, suggest the personality and culture you want to project within your slogan. To emphasize his punk roots and to pay homage to icon Iggy Pop, for example, Henry Rollins used “Search and Destroy” as a slogan to accompany his logo. In fact, Rollins even tattooed the logo on his back and uses it on T-shirts and other merchandise. The Los Angeles indie metal band Clepto, which has Saudi Arabian roots, uses the slogan “Thrash Punk Gypsies,” which sums up the band’s sound and spirit.

Speak to your audience. When creating your slogan, consider whom you are trying to appeal to. Understanding your likely target audience is crucial. Get a sense of your audience members’ age, gender, education level, and income. Also, research their activities, interests, and opinions, and understand behavioral issues and the things that motivate them. Also consider the regions where your audience is located. The band House of Pain uses the slogan “Fine Malt Lyrics” in its logo to pay homage to its home city of Boston and to the Irish community there. Harley Davidson uses “American by Birth. Rebel by Choice” to pay tribute to the proud and loyal group of riders in the United States and the free country in which the brand was founded.

Stand out from the competition. Study your competitors, who may share a similar audience, so you can highlight what makes you unique. The musical group Pink Martini, which has an expansive musical style, uses the slogan “Music of the world, without being world music” to stand out. The metal band Manowar is listed in The Guinness World Book of Records as the loudest band in the world and has had that fact as its slogan for many years.

Stress the benefits. Create a slogan that draws attention to benefits that are important to your target audience and that you can honestly provide. Apple, undoubtedly one of the biggest companies in music, used the slogan “1,000 songs in your pocket” to promote its first-generation iPod and emphasize its large storage capacity. Recently, Apple used “Any kind of file, on all your devices” to promote the cloud. And guitarist Slash recently used the slogan “With everyone, from Ozzy to Fergie” to promote his new solo album that featured numerous guests. In all cases, note how these slogans all sell the benefits. They answer the customer question “What’s in it for me?”

Make it memorable. Making your slogan rhyme can be an advantage. Big-band legend Benny Goodman used the slogan “The King of Swing” throughout his career, and it was often used to introduce him on radio and television shows. His slogan was short and catchy.

Keep it short. Limit your slogan to just one or a few simple words. Also consider what might look cool and be adaptable on your products and marketing tools, such as your business cards, websites, e-mail signatures, etc. For instance, Bruce Springsteen used “The Boss” interchangeably with his own name.

Be believable; don’t exaggerate. Your slogan should not be perceived as out of proportion. Using language like “The greatest band on earth” when you’re starting out is just silly. Yes, jazz legend Jaco Pastorius called himself “The World’s Greatest Bass Player,” and the Rolling Stones adopted the slogan “The World’s Greatest Rock Band,” but both artists could back it up.

Offer an explanation. Use a descriptive tagline that tells people exactly what you are. For instance, the classic rock band ZZ Top uses the tagline “That lil’ ol’ band from Texas” throughout its website and on other PR materials. Billy Joel used “The Piano Man” in all his publicity and released a record of the same name.

Don’t confuse your audience. The whole point of a slogan or tagline is to educate your market about what you do, so don’t make the message confusing for your audience. The members of the Beatles, four in total, whose music was no doubt fabulous, adopted the clear and direct slogan “The Fab Four” for use in their publicity posters and other media. In contrast, the band Green Jello (renamed Green Jelly for legal reasons) used the slogan “Green Jello Sucks.” The name is confusing: Did the group’s music really suck? Was it taking a stab at the makers of the Jello? Or was it something band members did on stage? Yikes! In any case, it’s not a flattering, legally smart, or clear slogan. Don’t be confusing.

Look to your fans. Ask your most-likely fans how they might sum you up in a word or phrase, how they think you’re different, and what they feel is most important to them. You could even hold a contest and offer a prize. Not only can you form a closer bond with fans by getting them involved but also you may find a cool tagline to brand your band.

Click here to read the rest!

Also, Bobby will be speaking at Berklee College on June 20th! He will be teaching “Ten Steps of the Marketing Process.” In Borg’s “Ten Steps of the Marketing Process,” students will learn about tried-and-tested concepts used by the world’s most innovative companies, including: describing a vision, identifying a market need, analyzing target fans, learning from competitors, demoing products and services, setting marketing plan goals, and finding the perfect mix of new marketing strategies ranging from branding, product, price, place, promotion, and marketing information systems. Following Borg’s keynote, he will be signing his book Music Marketing For The DIY Musician at the Berklee Bookstore.

Interview with Bobby Borg!

Csilla Muscan interviews Music Marketing for the DIY Musician author Bobby Borg!

00124611There has never been a greater need for practical DIY marketing advice from a musician who has been there and succeeded than now – at a time when new technologies make it more possible than ever for musicians to attract attention independently and leverage their own careers, and record industry professionals look exclusively for developed artists who are already successful.

Written by a professional musician for other musicians, Music Marketing for the DIY Musician is a proactive, practical, step-by-step guide to producing a fully integrated, customized, low-budget plan of attack for artists marketing their own music. In a conversational tone, it reveals a systematic business approach employing the same tools and techniques used by innovative top companies, while always encouraging musicians to stay true to their artistic integrity. It’s the perfect blend of left-brain and right-brain marketing.

This book is the culmination of the author’s 25 years in the trenches as a musician and entrepreneur, and over a decade in academic and practical research involving thousands of independent artists and marketing experts from around the world. The goal is to help musical artists take control of their own destiny, save money and time, and eventually draw the full attention of top music industry professionals. It’s ultimately about making music that matters – and music that gets heard!

10 Tips for Creating Persuasive Music Marketing Content

Bobby Borg, author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musicianprovides tips for creating persuasive music marketing content in his latest article from DiscMakers!

10 Tips for Creating Persuasive Music Marketing Content

Direct marketing is the process of bypassing intermediaries to communicate directly with fans, build awareness, and generate sales. Here are ten tips that can help you create music marketing content that sells.

Direct marketing is the process of bypassing intermediaries to communicate directly with fans, build awareness, and generate sales. Emailing tour dates, texting announcements about contests, and posting website links to your fund raisers are all direct marketing methods. Even phoning reminders about your show and mailing postcards about your record release are methods of direct marketing. In all cases, the most important ingredient needed to ensure success is persuasive content. As they say, “Content is king.” Here are ten tips that can help you create music marketing content that sells.

1. Say the most important things first

The first line of any correspondence is always the most important and establishes whether your intended audience will even pay attention. Begin your marketing messages by stating who you are, then announce the most compelling service/feature/event you are promoting. Finding an interesting hook or question that gets your target customers’ attention and draws them in is a good approach to sparking interest in your message.

2. Provide detailed information

You will hold your customers’ interest and help them decide to do business with you (i.e., donate to your campaign, come out to your show, buy your new CD, etc.) by highlighting your key selling points. It’s not enough to explain where you are playing and when: tell your audience “why” they should get in their car and come to your show. In other words, explain what’s in it for them.

3. Use attractive graphics

If the direct marketing method you’re using calls for it, use an attractive graphic that shows off your product or service, or that otherwise intrigues the viewer. Your album cover, your beautiful studio, a great live shot, or your fans beating each other up in the mosh pit are all possibilities. Whatever you use, just be sure your graphic matches your headline and promotion.

4. Include your logo and slogan

Whenever possible, include your band logo and slogan (sometimes called a “tagline”) at the bottom of end of your correspondence. Doing this can help build brand image and increase your brand recognition, which are known to lead to repeated sales.

5. Include a call to action

In any marketing communication, get your fans to act by including a polite command (aka “call to action). For instance: “To RSVP for the show and exclusive after-party, be sure to contact www.example.com/JulyParty while tickets last.” Remember the whole purpose of direct marketing is to get your fans to do something. Make it clear what it is you want them to do.

Click here to read the rest of the article!

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7 creative ways indie artists can spend their money (when they’ve got money to spend)

Bobby Borg, author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musicianprovides creative ways artist can spend their money in his latest article from DiscMakers!

From hiring a songwriting consultant to getting a sound man for your live performances, what follows are seven ways to spend your money to enhance your music career.

Most indie artists don’t have a lot of money in the bank, but if you’re going to spend your valuable savings or that money you raised crowd funding, there may be alternative (i.e. less obvious) investments you can make to enhance your music career. From hiring a songwriting consultant to getting a sound man for your live performances, what follows are seven ways to spend your money when you’ve got money to spend.

1. Songwriting consultant

Just because you can play guitar does not mean you can write a well-crafted song. Songwriting is a skill all its own that takes years of practice to perfect. A seasoned songwriting consultant can offer objective advice about your songs and improve them significantly. It makes no sense to spend zero dollars on the most important aspect of your music career—your songs—and hundreds (or thousands) of dollars recording and promoting your music.

Trust me on this one, if you don’t have undeniably great songs, it’s over before it begins. People like Robin Frederick and Jason Blume are just two people off the top of my head who may be available to work with you—in person or via the Internet. Check them out.

2. Focus group marketing

Some of the most important people related to the success of your career are the very people to whom you are trying to appeal: your fans. Yet, it surprises me how most bands don’t spend the time or money to conduct research and get feedback from them. By rounding up two groups of 30 people, inviting them to your rehearsal studio, serving pizza and drinks, performing sets of your music, and having your fans discuss/rate your songs (or sound, stage presence, look, etc.), you’ll produce some important information that can help save you a great deal of time and money in the long run. My band did this when planning a recording project and it worked great—we played 15 of our songs and let the fans pick the compositions they wanted on our record. After all, if it’s the fans who you are trying to satisfy with your music, doesn’t it make sense to see what they think before spending thousands recording your EP?

3. Photographer and stylist

Anyone with a camera phone and mirror in their bedroom can think they are a photographer or stylist. While camera phones are quite impressive these days, an experienced pro who has access to amazing locations, knows how to arrange a shot, understands proper lighting, knows about hair and make-up, and understands fashion can give your band the visual edge it needs. Look, if they say that a picture is really worth a thousand words, and you agree with this statement, then why not spend at least that much in getting some really professional photos done? Your brand depends on it.

4. Graphic designer

Your band’s logo serves as the stamp of your brand. It is what is put on your drummer’s bass drum heads, your banners, your road cases, your mercy, and it even becomes your tattoos. While you might feel fairly confident playing around with Photoshop yourself, an experienced pro can really make a difference. Hire someone who has an outstanding portfolio of band logos and several years of experience to back it up. Remember, you want to have a bad-ass logo that can become part of that bad-ass T-shirt that people will gladly be willing to pay $15 to take home. So let the pros do your logo and design.

Click here to read the rest of the article!

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Hal Leonard and METAlliance® Form Partnership to Publish Online Educational Courses

Legendary Audio Engineers and Producers

Develop Online Courses to Share Their

Expertise with the Music World

Hal Leonard and METAlliance® Form Partnership

to Publish Online Educational Courses

Hal Leonard Books, the leading publisher of books and digital content on the music business, audio technology, and related content, and the renowned METAlliance® group, an important alliance between six of the most iconic and prolific engineer/producers in the music business today, have partnered to develop a series of educational tools for a wide range of sound engineers and music producers—from the professional to the hobbyist.

The Music Engineering and Technology Alliance (METAlliance®) was founded by globally-recognized, award-winning audio engineers and producers Chuck Ainlay, Ed Cherney, Frank Filipetti, George Massenburg, Elliot Scheiner, Al Schmitt, and the late Phil Ramone. The remaining six original members continue to be active in their pursuit of excellence. In addition to actively creating great new music, this group of sonic and technical innovators has been deeply involved in establishing foundational music recording techniques and technical standards. METAlliance® is a collaborative mission, established to provide education and inspiration to music creators while promoting excellence in engineering/production and highlighting the importance of high-quality, high-resolution audio.

Next month, Hal Leonard will begin publishing the knowledge amassed by these A-list producers and engineers in on-line A/V courses as well as traditional print pro audio products. The online courses will be branded under METAlliance® Academy and available at Groove3.com. Books and other digital versions of the product will be released in fourth quarter 2015.

“We are proud to be working with this elite group of audio professionals,” said

John Cerullo, Group Publisher, Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group.

“With the METAlliance® Academy product line, we are making a very personal,

almost one-on-one, immersive experience available to every aspiring and

working music engineer and producer out there.”

“It’s been our mission to insure the art and craft of recording music is respected

and carried on to the next generations of music lovers and professionals,” adds

Jim Pace, METAlliance® Managing Member. “In an era where convenience has

sometimes overwhelmed quality, we feel that music—the invaluable art form that

it is—deserves the very best. That’s what people will experience in the

METAlliance® Academy series.

The collective knowledge of our members is unparalleled, with multitudes of

Grammy Awards and other industry recognition. After decades of engineering

countless recordings including some of the most seminal and inspiring in history,

we’re excited to work with Hal Leonard to provide these courses to aspiring and

actual producers and engineers all over the world. It’s all about the music.”

The first six releases cover drum recording concepts and techniques, and each is hosted by one of the six METAlliance® members. Presented in a casual style that feels like the student is getting a guided tour through the way that each engineer records drums, this is a life-changing series of techniques almost certain to raise the standard of modern drum recordings.

The important drum recording videos will be quickly followed up by more amazing titles on subjects including Recording Acoustic Guitar, Recording Electric Guitar, Recording Piano, Recording Vocals, Working with Artists, Mixing in the Box, and The State of the Recording Industry.

For more information about Hal Leonard, please visit http://www.halleonardbooks.com – Hal Leonard Books, An Imprint of Hal Leonard

For more information about METAlliance®, please visit http://www.metalliance.com

Coming soon: The Future of the Music Business, Fourth Edition

Coming soon from Hal Leonard Books: The Future of the Music Business: How to Succeed with New Digital Technologies, Fourth Edition by Steve Gordon!

New technologies are revolutionizing the music business. While these changes may be smashing traditional business models and creating havoc among the major record companies, they are also providing new opportunities for unsigned artists, independent labels, and music business entrepreneurs.

The Future of the Music Business provides a legal and business road map for success in today’s music business, including licensing and laws governing the online distribution of music and video. The book also provides practical tips for:

  • Selling music online
  • Using blogs and social networks
  • Developing an online record company
  • Creating an internet radio station
  • Opening an online music store
  • Raising money for recording projects online
  • Creating a hit song in the digital age
  • Taking advantage of wireless technologies
  • And much more

This revised fourth edition is the most up-to-date and thorough examination of current trends and offer special sections on:

  • What to do if someone steals your song
  • Protecting the name of your band or label
  • How to find a music lawyer to shop your music
  • How to land a deal with an indie or a major label

The accompanying DVD-ROM includes interviews with some of today’s most informed professionals working in the music business.

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The Musician’s Guide to the Complete Marketing Plan, Part 2

Bobby Borg, author of Music Marketing for the DIY Musiciancontinues his complete marketing plan for musicians in his latest article from SonicBids!

For the first three steps of your complete musician marketing plan, check out part one of this three-part series!

To many musicians, marketing is simply about promoting – setting up social media sites, buying Facebook ads, and/or creating YouTube videos. While these strategies are all important, they represent only a small part of the complete marketing process. In part one of this three-part series, I discussed everything from describing your vision to analyzing your customers. Now, in part two – steps four through six – I’ll present everything you need to know about learning from your competitors, getting feedback, and setting goals. Remember that these concepts are rather complex and covered only briefly below. For more detailed information, please check out my book, Music Marketing for the DIY Musician.

4. Learn from your competitors with a competitor analysis

Differentiation is crucial to your success, so the next step in the marketing process involves thoroughly conducting a competitor analysis. This involves picking two local artists and two national artists that have the ability to draw attention away from you, and then considering what these artists do well and where they might be lacking. 

To illustrate, if you notice that your competitors have interesting distribution techniques, like Radiohead’s recent release of their album on BitTorrent sites, then you might step up your own distribution game as well. More importantly, if you notice that your competitors are consistently weak in certain areas, such as in their live performance productions, then you might strive to really excel in this area by putting on a live performance that rivals no other. The idea is to really set yourself apart from the rest of the pack and thus gain a solid competitive advantage.

Make no mistake: in the over-flodded marketplace today, your strongest strategy for success is to be as good as the best, or to be “different while relevant” in everything you do.

5. Demo your products and get invaluable feedback

Step five in the marketing process deals with research and development. This involves developing, testing, interpreting, and refining your products and services to get invaluable feedback from your target fan. This can simply be done by writing and recording three to five songs inexpensively, asking for feedback via your social networks or your live performances, and then determining what changes and/or additional testing (if any) need to be conducted.

[Testing and Feedback: 5 Steps to Getting Approval From Your Fans Before Committing Your Valuable Resources]

As Edward McQuarrie explains in The Market Research Toolbox, market research can never provide guarantees, but it acts as an “uncertainty reducer.” It can help you predict the future and save you a significant amount of time and money, which might otherwise be spent on creating products or, in your case, songs that simply don’t sell.

Keep in mind that the key focus of this article is to help musicians like you turn your art into a more successful business. It’s about creating music that truly matters to you, but also music that gets heard, and music that sustains you and your family.

Click here to read the rest of the article!

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