Taylor Switch just sold 1.287 million albums.
That is the most albums sold in one week since 2002 when Eminem released “The Eminem Show” featuring the single “Without Me”. It is the most albums sold this year. No other album has succeeded in going platinum this year and that includes releases from Lady Gaga, Maroon 5, and Florida Georgia Line. In a time of declining album sales how did Taylor Swift do it? I think it was more than musical expertise. Here are four marketing take-aways:
1. She fought the system.
Taylor made an unconventional move by removing her music from online streaming service Spotify and refusing to allow her new album to be played online for free. This is a 180 degree turn from what the music industry is doing. Is it always wise to defy convention? No. But by forcing her fans to buy the album to hear it she found a convention to defy that was in her favor. It was a low risk high reward plan that appears to have worked out for her.
2. She was everywhere. Even NPR. Twice.
Leading up to the release Taylor did appearances on all sorts of media outlets. Late night shows and early morning shows. She worked hard. Even outlets that might be on the fringe of her target market, like NPR. I caught a piece of her interview with Fresh Air and Morning Edition and was impressed by her interview skills. One of the downsides with radio is that you would have had to look on twitter to see that she even showed up on NPR dressed in costume.
3. She incentivised purchase.
To help make people purchase the album in the stores she incentivised the purchase. Taylor and her marketing team thought through the action they wanted people to take (buy an album in the store) and made a good guess on the amount of incentive customers needed to complete that transaction(3 bonus tracks, pictures, and other stuff). She turned the buying of the cd into an experience and in a world full of stuff, experiences will become more and more important.
3. She connected with fans.
Swift does an amazing job with connecting with fans on Twitter and Instagram. One particularly interesting effort was having people send her pictures of them buying her album in stores! I bet for most of these tweens it was their first album to purchase and put their hands on a physical copy (unless it was a gift). In a world where people (me included) get excited about a a mention or retweet on twitter, why not do it to your fans! What a way to connect with fans with exerting a small amount of effort. If someone tries to connect with you on social media it is to your advantage to reach back.
Taylor Swift market genius?