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Like A Virgin?

Touched for the very first time? Are you singing it in your head now? I know I am. 

Why, you may ask, are we talking about Madonna here on a marketing blog? I think Madonna is fascinating, she had her first hit in 1983 with “Holiday” and her latest track “Hung up on Tokischa” was in September 2022 – thats a career spanning 39 years. You might question whether you think Madonna is relevant in 2022 but you can’t deny she is a master at adapting to survive (and thrive?).

Change is inevitable, the problem occurs when everything around you is changing but you remain the same. Notwithstanding nostalgia, if Madonna was still flouncing around in three quarter length leggings and ra-ra skirts she would not be still clocking up the hits and getting the air time and exposure she does.

Madonna has learned to change, adapt, re-invent herself every couple of years to reflect the ever changing popular culture. At one time she was the market leader in popular culture but now she tends to “hook” onto trends and find niches in subcultures and reflect back to them.

Not only does Madonna have to push forward on new musical styles but she has to think about how her music is consumed. The whole process has changed. The way we buy and consume music is not the same now as it was in 1983. The devices used to listen to it have changed, the mediums have changed, the visual style has changed. There has even been a big shift from buying whole albums to just downloading a single track that you like.

Music is emotional, brands are emotional, they make you feel a certain way. Both can change your mood, lift your spirits or provide a nice dopamine induced hit.

Certain music is inevitably programmed into us from an emotional stance – you might relate a certain track or artist to a time in your life or a seismic event in your life (how many songs are there about break ups?). Listening to that music makes us respond emotionally – it can also be a form of time travel, taking us back to a warm, sepia seeped nostalgic event.

How about a brand or a business keying into your psyche and eliciting an emotional response? Think about all of the mainstream retailers vying for your attention now with Christmas ads, each one trying harder every year to tap into your  emotions to elicit a response – the perfect Christmas experience, maybe playing on your childhood memories.

How many of our businesses  are fighting like Madonna to stay relevant ? When was the last time you really thought about your customers and how they would like to interact with you?

Many of us reach out to customers using an internal focus. What I mean by that is that we should try to walk in our customers’ shoes in every part of what we call the “customer journey.”  To truly understand your customer , you need to break down each part of the journey and view it as a customer would. For example, many of us will build a website based on information or what we do. Really, we should be basing a website on what does a customer needs to know and what stage are they at with understanding our business?

What we present to our customers during their journey should be based on providing them with a great  experience. Let’s explore this a bit further using a more traditional model.

If we are working on the premise that our customers follow some sort of linear journey (and that’s a whole new conversation , new blog coming up!)  – in broad terms a decision making  model might look something like this  – 

  • Awareness.
  • Consideration.
  • Engagement.
  • Conversion.
  • Retention.
  • Advocacy.

So an experience on the web should reflect this journey depending on how and where you land on the website. Instead of taking the conventional approach to web design, what services do we have? Where are we based? Show the “team”, contact us etc, we should be building landing pages that answer customers questions. 

Just like Madonna taking stock of her audience, we should take stock of our customers and potential customers and provide them with the information they need in a media form they use at a time that is convenient to them.

Think of this scenario, you are opening a new restaurant in town, you are focussing on vegan food…….

Awareness, where do people who love vegan food go? Will they “Google” it? Will they look for reviews? Tripadvisor maybe? Based on my experience alone (but no I am not a vegan) probably a local search on a smart phone would be the first port of call. 

“Vegan restaurant near me”

“Vegan restaurant”

“Vegan menu”

In terms of awareness, we would need to square a few things off, a budget, an appropriate channel  – a stimulus , be that keyword, ad, social clip  – a bit of research and we could get this right.

Next, consideration  – probably like to see the menu or an example menu, some reviews . Engagement  – book online .

You get my drift? Stop thinking in terms of what we have to think in terms of what customers need at each stage of their decision making.

This brings me back to Madonna. Bless. 

The rebel in me says , good for you, still sticking it to the “man” at 64 years old and adapting, evolving.

Me? I’m tired by 9pm. Put my Walkman on and listen to some 80’s tunes.

If you would like to discuss any aspects of your marketing or explore using digital to improve your customers experience, please get in touch. I promise Papa Don’t Preach.