4 Things We Can All Learn From Beyoncé’s Marketing Strategies

Unless you were off spelunking on the barren ice sheets of Antartica over the weekend, you probably heard that Beyoncé dropped a new album on Saturday night via a HBO special (though even then the chances are high that you still somehow heard the news). Regardless of your feelings about her as an artist, you can’t deny that she (and her marketing team) has struck gold with some brilliant branding tactics that we can all learn a few things from. Here’s a look back at her adventures in advertising, and how we can use them to step up our marketing game.

 

  1. Surprise Marketing

In 2013, in the middle of the night with absolutely zero warning, Beyoncé released a new album, complete with accompanying music videos for every track. With only one Instagram post that read “surprise”, her album spread through word of mouth. To no one’s surprise, the world went crazy the next day, equally as excited for the music as it was astonished at her wild and unorthodox tactics. No single released first? No 3 month promotion before the release? What is this madness?

What we can take away:

Now that you can get your word out in the blink of an eye (or publishing of a tweet, post or video), it could be time to reconsider long drawn-out promotions for some efforts and explore a surprise route instead. You could try a for no-real-reason discount or coupon announcement, a flash giveaway, or some other promotional piece that your customers would love to see (read: value for them). Also, experiment with breaking some of the marketing “rules” or standards in your industry. See what happens when you go rogue. Try dropping some surprises on your audience and share it (without over-promoting, of course) on your social channels.

 

2. Timing & Planning

Her 2013 album wasn’t her only jab at taking the world by surprise. On the eve of the Super Bowl this year, in which she was set to perform, once again she dropped a fresh song and video out of the blue and into the hands of the internet, and once again, the world went crazy. Her fans had a mere 24 hours with the new track before she sang it at the Super Bowl halftime show (what?!), but the brilliance of her tactic became apparent when the halftime show was over and went to commercial break. That’s where she announced her upcoming world tour, and promptly basically crashed the internet. Her team swiftly created dozens of Facebook events in the moments following, and social media everywhere was abuzz.

What we can take away:

She knew that she was going to have a massive captive audience that day, and plotted a very strategic plan around it. What milestones are coming up for your business in the next 3 weeks, 3 months, 3 years? How can you leverage upcoming events with a thoughtful and diligent plan to get the most out of your social media and overall exposure? Make a plan and get creative.

 

3. Buzz & Anticipation

Last week, Beyoncé released a teaser video on Instagram that announced some sort of special on HBO, but no one really knew for sure what it was (A music video? A behind the scenes special? An announcement?). Her fans went crazy (sensing a theme here?) with anticipation as they all speculated about what it could be. And it was everything they could ever want: an entire visual concept album, released just days before her world tour (again: what?!). Moreover, with the story line and lyrics insinuating trouble in paradise for her and her husband Jay-Z, fans everywhere wondered and speculated on the meaning, while some say creating this buzz is all part of her plan.

What we can take away:

Without over-promoting or drawing things out too much, can you create some anticipation within your brand or business? Is there an event or announcement you can tease, hint at or allude to? Is there a clever way you can utilize and leverage one social platform to it’s potential? Find some smart ways to create a buzz and then deliver. And don’t be too afraid of a little controversy.

 

4. Exclusivity

Because Beyoncé’s album was released through an HBO special, the event felt like a private viewing party to her fans across the world. She often gives perks and first dibs to her “Beyhive” fan club, which allows her fans to really feel like they’ve got VIP access.

What we can take away:

Newsletters or memberships are the perfect way to build that feeling of exclusivity with your biggest fans. Give them special deals, sneak peeks or early access to upcoming products or events, and make them feel like it’s worth it. Make your audience feel like VIPs and watch your brand loyalty grow.

 

We can all take bits and pieces of the unorthodox and outside-the-box tactics that Beyoncé has used to sell albums, seats, and overall awareness, plug them into our industries and businesses and create a big impact. Go get creative and break some marketing “rules”!

Kyle is the Founder of N2Q and makes a personal investment in the management of each project. Kyle is an SEM/social strategist with over 10 years experience in optimizing websites, finding audiences, building websites and using organic content and digital advertising to create engaging social communities. He will be your expert on social media platforms, display advertising, and marketing collateral. He has worked for large companies like Microsoft, Salesforce, John L. Scott Realty, and Farmers Insurance as well as small businesses locally and as far as Africa and Switzerland.

Kyle Willis

Kyle is the Founder of N2Q and makes a personal investment in the management of each project. Kyle is an SEM/social strategist with over 10 years experience in optimizing websites, finding audiences, building websites and using organic content and digital advertising to create engaging social communities. He will be your expert on social media platforms, display advertising, and marketing collateral. He has worked for large companies like Microsoft, Salesforce, John L. Scott Realty, and Farmers Insurance as well as small businesses locally and as far as Africa and Switzerland.

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