Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 10 years, Beyoncé is the queen. Not only is she the queen of pop (I know that’s lofty, but it’s true), but on Thursday night when she surprised the world with the release of her latest album, she became the queen of the Internet. And now that its on track to become her best-selling album to date, despite zero promotion (yes, zero), some may even call her the queen of marketing, or lack there of.
Beyoncé’s risky, unconventional and “so-crazy-it-just-might-work” album release has already proven to be extremely successful. Beyoncé sold 430,000 units in the first 24 hours and absolutely crushed the iTunes first-week sales record with ease. She did this by announcing the release in a surprise instagram video, and letting the Internet run with it from there. Twitter went absolutely insane.
So what can brands take away from Beyoncé’s success and apply to their marketing strategies going forward? I have a few ideas…
Beyoncé’s fans don’t care about the TV spot, the radio single, or the ads; they wanted the album. So, why not just give it to them? Don’t spam your audience, give them the quality product that you know they ultimately seek and they’ll reward you. For example, next time you’re thinking about gating a piece of content, why don’t you just give it to your fans without any requirements or expectations? This will help you build your relationships and establish credibility. This timelapse of Tweets mentioning Beyoncé as her album was released helps showcase the effect of this surprise.
Are there any 2014 predictions that don’t include the rise of video and visuals? Brands are battling short attention spans, a wealth of information, and unlimited access. So, how do you capture people’s attention? Be visual. Beyoncé consisted of 14 songs, and 17 videos. This is pure marketing. Clips of the music videos flooded Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc. The video was merely a vessel for the song, and that can apply to your brand’s content as well! Create visuals that convey your message, and watch them spread across social.
Beyoncé’s album was so successful in part because of the buzz created by this new type of marketing. Although many people would argue that the lack of promotion signifies a lack of marketing strategy, Wall Street Journal’s Christopher Farley argues, “What she’s doing is not removing all promotion. It’s really making the promotion transparent.” Beyoncé isn’t a lesson in the perils of promotion or marketing, but a reminder to take risks and think outside the box.
Beyoncé announced the her album’s release in an Instagram video, causing an absolute frenzy, racking up 545k likes and, soon enough, Beyoncé was the talk of the Twitter. After the album released, the number of Twitter mentions including “Beyoncé” peaked at an incredible 199,084 tweets, which is visualized in the chart at the top of this post. Even more remarkable was the way volume sustained over the weekend, averaging an impressive 14k tweets per hour.
The album’s roll-out (if you could call it that) bypassed traditional marketing entirely, and opted for the power and amplification of social media. Expect to see this type of social media reliance for both the music industry and brands in the future.
This year has proven that people appreciate a complete product, rather than short installments. We’ve seen the power of releasing things all at once with Netflix’s Original Series, and now we’re seeing it with Beyoncé. In the digital age, where nearly anything and everything is accessible in a click, attention spans are shorter than ever. Why give them one song and make them wait 3 months for the other 13? Instead, Beyoncé gave her fans all 14, at once. Next time you’re thinking about saving a piece of content, give it all to your fans and watch them sink their teeth into it.