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13 Customer-First Marketing Strategies to Steal from Taylor Swift

If you need proof that a customer-first approach works, look no further than Taylor Swift. 

I know, I know. When you think B2B marketing, Taylor probably isn't the first name that comes to mind. But behind all the awards, #1 albums, and sold-out tours, there's a rock-solid marketing strategy.

She may not have a business degree displayed among all her trophies, but she's got enough good ideas and power moves to prove her marketing prowess . Here are 13 marketing strategies good enough to steal, just in case you find yourself asking "What would Taylor do?" while crafting your next campaign.

13 Taylor-approved Marketing Tips

1. Tell a story.

Not only has Taylor mastered the art of storytelling, but her narratives are quite literally woven into her product. Every time you buy a song, you're buying into her story. These stories serve as a universal language for fans and occasional listeners alike... and it's probably the reason we find ourselves asking "did Taylor Swift read my diary?" while listening.
Steal this strategy: 
As a marketer, it's your job to tie your product into your brand story. Why? People love content that they can identify with. Use your buyer persona as the protagonist and their pain points as the plot. This will help customers to envision themselves as your customer.

2. Embrace your reputation.

Taylor is nothing if not unapologetically herself. By remaining transparent throughout all her missteps and mistakes, she's built the intimate, trusting relationship with her customers that every marketer strives for.
Steal this strategy: 
Stuff happens. Instead of avoiding the elephant in the room and jeopardizing your customer's trust, address issues head-on with a genuine apology. They'll find your authenticity refreshing.

3. Speak your audience's language.

Taylor has her buyer persona nailed down. She knows what they struggle with and what excites them. As she and her fans have matured, she's stayed relevant by speaking to their pain points, from broken hearts and football players to music industry politics and gender inequality.
Steal this strategy: 
Cut any buzzwords or jargon from your copy - they might raise eyebrows among stakeholders, but they'll only alienate your audience. Try joining a Facebook group that's relevant to your customers' industry and pay close attention to the topics they care most about and how they communicate.

Need help building your buyer personas? Use this easy template

4. Reward loyalty with exclusive experiences.

The closest most people will get to their favourite musician is the cheap seats of a concert. That is, unless you're a Swiftie. Among the Swift's community, there's underground tradition of "Secret Sessions"; a listening party held in Taylor's home for super-fans to get a taste of her newest album ahead of its release. Exclusive experiences like this one are highly effective ways of: 
  • Generating buzz around a product release
  • Converting customers into brand advocates
  • Making customers feel valued, which incentivizes action
Steal this strategy: 
Launch or level-up your customer loyalty program. Set up an automated email for customer milestones and birthdays, or take it a step further by offering free upgrades.
hubspot automated birthday email

5. Keep your brand voice consistent.

From song lyrics to website copy to Instagram captions, Taylor's brand voice is distinct and unequivocally  her. Bursting with personality, her brand voice allows her to stand out from the rest by letting fans feel like they're connecting directly with her.
Steal this strategy: 
B2B companies are notorious for coming across as boring, stuffy, or overly corporate. Allow customers to relate to you by establishing a style guide around the impression you wish to create. Start by making a list of what your brand  is and  isn't.
For example:  Horseshoe + Co. is professional, but not inaccessible.

6. Leverage exclusivity. 

Despite being among the biggest celebrities on the planet, Swift is fiercely protective of her personal life. You're not likely to catch her in public and interviews are few and far between. Her elusiveness adds anticipation to her album releases, which she leverages by including exclusive posters, bonus tracks, and even diary entries with album purchases.
  taylor swift evermore album
Steal this strategy: 
Conventional scarcity tactics tend to exploit negative feelings like fear. Instead, make buyers feel like insiders by offering exclusive offers to email subscribers and using copy like "We saved you a spot". Be sure to communicate the value of your offering and the benefits of buying now, as opposed to later.

7. Make it personal.

Since the beginning of her career (we're talking MySpace days), Miss Swift has gone the extra mile to recognize each of her supporters and the role they've played in her success. While promoting the lead single for her  Lover album, a handful of fans unexpectedly received personal videos from the singer herself. Recipients were quick to share their excitement on social media and the power of social proof took over from there.
Steal this strategy:
The more we rely on digital communications, the more essential personalized messaging becomes. Tear a page out of Taylor's book and film videos for prospects and clients with Loom. Bonus points if you include their name in the thumbnail!

8. Meet customers where they are.

Taylor Swift knows that the best marketers adapt to their audience, not the other way around. She even coined the term #taylurking; a more charming way of letting fans know she's keeping tabs on her fan's social media activity. 
What makes Swift's social media presence unique? Her ability to assume the existing user behaviours of each platform. Rather than blasting the same message across all platforms, Taylor listens and learns how user interactions shift from one context to another. For example, Instagram is usually reserved for polished selfies and behind-the-scenes candids, while Tumblr is home to long-form posts and friendly banter. 
Steal this strategy:
Step one: Identify where your buyer personas spend most of their time.
Step two: Study how your ideal customers interact online and tweak your message accordingly. LinkedIn might be home to professional updates and thought leadership, while video dominates on Facebook.

9. Establish core values and stick to them.

She may go down in history as the vocalist of a generation, but Taylor uses her voice in more ways than one. Standing by her values has allowed her to reinforce her brand, even through her careers most controversial moments.
Exhibit A: In 2015, Apple Music rolled-out a free trial period with no plans to compensate musicians. Taylor wrote an open letter expressing her disappointment in the tech giant's failure to support up-and-comers, prompting Apple to change their tune almost immediately. The letter is a testament to Taylor's dedication to improving the music industry and eventually led to a longstanding partnership between both parties.
Steal this strategy: 
Call a 15-minute brainstorm session to create a list of core values with your team. Then, imagine that you have $4,000 to spend, each value costs $1,000, and decide where to allocate your imaginary budget. Use these values to inform critical decisions and reward employees that embody them. Your brand will be stronger for it.

10. Restraint is the key to relevance.

Although it seems that Taylor Swift is  everywhere, she knows exactly when to step back. Maintaining a relatively quiet personal life has allowed her product to speak for itself, without being overshadowed by trivial news stories and distracting gossip.
Steal this strategy: 
Today's buyers are already battling information overload and content fatigue as it is. Don't contribute to the clutter with irrelevant messaging. Segment your customers by lifecycle stage to ensure the right information is getting to the right audience. The last thing you want to do is send a sales email to an existing customer.
hubspot smart content CTA
Churned Free Trials? Steal these 19 ready-to-use email templates to win-back your customers.

11. Give old content new life.

Like your favourite song, great content never goes out of style. Taylor uses live performances to reimagine her hits with mashups and new musical arrangements. With re-recordings of her first five albums underway, we're certain to see a new spin on old favourites in the near future.
Steal this strategy:
Identify your best-performing material based on traffic and social media shares and brainstorm new ways to share your evergreen content. You could:
  • Combine your best blogs into an eBook
  • Share your expertise in a podcast
  • Turn a blog post into a social media-friendly infographic using Canva
  • Answer comments and customers emails in your newsletter

12. Always be evolving.

You never get the same Taylor twice. Her ability to continuously reinvent has allowed her to grow up with her fans while reaching new audiences with every album era. While other artists ride out their successes, Taylor leaves each chapter on a high and plots a strategy to  come back stronger than a 90's trend.
  taylor swift marketing strategies
Steal this strategy: 
Lean into changing buyer behaviours to fuel innovative solutions. Look for new ways to eliminate friction and empower buyers to self-educate, such as:
  • Outlining key milestones on the way to your customer's end goal so you can anticipate their needs and offer proactive support
  • Offering a clear pricing model
  • Swapping the standard "Contact Us" call-to-action with a Live Chat button 

13. Harness the power of surprise and delight.

Remarkably, Swift has yet to run out of ways to keep her fans on their toes. From crashing weddings to delivering hand-picked Christmas gifts to dropping two surprise albums within four months of each other, Taylor goes above and beyond to stay connected to her community.
Steal this strategy: 
Develop a list of creative ways to create positive experiences around your brand. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
  • Send a Starbucks gift card
  • Gift company merchandise
  • Mail hand-written thank you's
  • Make a charitable donation in your customer's name

Key Takeaways

  • Get to know your customer by developing buyer personas, engaging with their social media, and joining (or creating) a community.
  • Interact with your audience through emails, personalized videos, and phone calls. Investing in your relationships will give customers a reason to invest in you.
  • Stick to your company values. These will keep your customers (and employees) on your side for the long haul. 
Swift has already made a name for herself in the music industry and if they handed out Grammy's for marketing skills, we're pretty sure she would sweep that category too.
Nonetheless, these marketing strategies would fall flat without Taylor's commitment to continuously improving her music. Similarly, all the marketing genius in the world can't make up for a bad product. But a high quality product combined with a customer-focused end-to-end experience? That's marketing gold.
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