In 1974 Rolling Stone critic John Landau declared: "I've seen rock 'n' roll's future, and its name is Bruce Springsteen."
In the spirit of Landau and Springsteen, I make a similar bold statement: "I've Seen Marketing's Future, and its Name is Amanda Palmer."
According to Wikipedia, Palmer announced on her blog she will record a new solo album in collaboration with The Grand Theft Orchestra. The album reportedly will be recorded in Melbourne where - according to Palmer's Twitter bio - she is partially based, along with Boston and New York City.
So what's this got to do with marketing?
Everything! The independent-minded Palmer recently raised $1 million+ from nearly 25,000 backers (read: fans) via the crowdfunding site Kickstarter.com to help finance a new record, art book and tour. A pretty fair effort and something you wouldn't think possible without a strong fan base.
Palmer has been on my 'marketing' radar for a while now, thanks mainly to best-selling author David Meerman Scott who is not only a big fan of her music but also the way she uses social media to connect with her audience.
Here are three posts David has devoted to the recording artist:
- How Amanda Palmer made $11,000 on Twitter in two hours
- We are the media: Amanda Palmer and the future of your business
- Amanda Palmer freaks out to celebrate hitting $1 million on Kickstarter
Palmer tells the story of how bamboo grows, likening it to developing a community of fans around your brand:
"A farmer plants a bamboo shoot underground, and waters and tends it for about three years. Nothing grows that's visible, but the farmer trots out there, tending to this invisible thing with a certain amount of faith that things are going to work out. When the bamboo finally appears above ground, it can shoot up to thirty feet in a month."
Photo credit > Gregory Nomoora >
Palmer writes that she has been "tending this bamboo forest of fans for years and years":
"Every person I talk to at a signing, every exchange I have online (sometimes dozens a day), every random music video or art gallery link sent to me by a fan that i curiously follow, every strange bed I've crashed on...all of that real human connecting has led to this moment, where I came back around, asking for direct help with a record...And they help because they know I'm good for it. Because they KNOW me."
Palmer is in-sync with today's 'connected consumer', where multiple micro interactions over time prove more effective than in-your-face chest-beating:
"I tweet all day. I share my life. My REAL life. The ugly things, the hard things. I monitor my blog religiously. I read the comments. I ask for advice. I answer questions. I fix problems. ... I don't try to hide behind a veil of fame. I don't want to be anything more than totally human. I make mistakes, get called out, and apologize. I share my process. I ask for help SHAMELESSLY ... I'm the kind of person they WANT to help, because they know me well enough, after years of connecting, to know WHO I ACTUALLY AM. They don't just get a photoshopped snapshot of my every time I have an album to promote. They see the three-dimensional person, in motion, in real-time. Living and working."
But this is the kicker for me - there is no substitute for passion and authenticity:
"There is no marketing trick. There is human connection, and you can't fake it. It takes time and effort and, most importantly: you have to actually LIKE it, otherwise you'll be miserable."
As Palmer's tech/blog/social media support guy Sean Francis adds at the bottom of the article:
"While you were sleeping, Amanda Palmer built an army."
Great stuff! Highly recommended :)
IMPORTANTLY, WHAT CAN YOUR BRAND LEARN FROM AMANDA PALMER?
BELOW: Amanda Palmer + Neil Gaiman talk about the effect of twitter and the internet on music business A discussion at MOFO Festival 2011 Hobart Tasmania