As a musician we all have to market ourselves. I argue that everything we do is marketing. Our live shows, websites, social media activity, even the way we answer the phone, treat our fans in newsletters etc.
Most of the time we focus on how to present ourselves to just one market, while I say it is nescessary to think about marketing on several levels.
In addition to our fans we have to present ourselves to music industry professionals, clubowners, fellow musicians and bandmembers, teachers, students, school officials (if you’re in college or working at a school), journalists and other media people and all the different groups of people we encounter as musicians.
Each of these groups are different markets, people we would like to reach. Or, even better, people we’d like to tell our story to and whom we’d like to believe and spread that story.
So, firtsly we will have to find the story. Our story. How that works is another article alltogether. (Story here means: What experience do you want people to have when they encounter you? More than your words, people will remember the feeling they got when they met you, saw your show, talked to you on the phone. Make that feeling a remarkable one and they will come back for more. The experience they have when they hear your story IS the story!)
The million dollar question is, how do we tell that story to the many diverse markets we move in as musicians? Because, while it is essential that the story is consistant and authentic, the story has to be framed differently according to the different markets. Each market has a different worldview and the story has to framed to fit that worldview. I’m not saying that we have to tell people what they want to hear, but in order for them to understand what we’re talking about, we have to fit our story into a form they can grasp and understand.
Label owners talk, think, move and even dress differently than clubowners, musicians or people working in TV. Each of them even have their own lingo. In order for them to understand and believe your story you have to tell it in their individual language or they won’t be able to hear you. It’s not that they don’t want to listen to you (as many musicians think). It’s your responsibility to make it possible for them to hear and understand what you’re saying.
So, the question for us all to answer is:
- What are these peoples worldviews?
- What are their interests and concerns?
- What stories do they believe in, which stories do they tell themselves?
- other questions…
In other words: Get into the heads of the various markets, learn to see the world from their standpoint. Then, and only then, learn to tell them your story in their words.