Barbara Walters had it right in 2014—Taylor Swift is the music industry.
Today, she stands tall (5’10, to be exact) as not only one of the most prominent figures in entertainment but the greatest digital marketer of our generation. After releasing 10 studio albums, selling over 50 million copies with 150 million singles, it’s safe to say that Swift’s audience is enchanted by her.
Midnights (her latest creation) is being called Swift’s “biggest album success yet.” Not to be casually cruel in the name of being honest, but Taylor Swift is a marketing genius—and we all have something to learn from her.
What Makes Swift Bigger than the Whole Sky?
Over the past 17 years, everything has changed—Taylor Swift has undergone a metamorphosis. Her willingness to change, evolve, and transform like a mirrorball has cemented her status as an icon for the ages.
This societal requirement for artists, particularly young female artists, to reinvent themselves (“Be new to us, be young to us,” Swift describes society’s demands in her documentary) is likely the birthplace of Taylor Swift’s famous marketing strategy.
From fearlessly embodying her Nashville roots on her debut to moving from country to pop with Red to her indie, cottage-core revival with Folklore and Evermore, she’s not afraid to confront the transient nature of growing up.
The story of Taylor Swift is a bildungsroman of sorts, a coming-of-age tale. If there’s a secret to her success, it’s her connection to her audience as they go through the journey of life right beside her—from 15 to 22 and beyond.
How Swift Masterminded a Revolutionary Marketing Strategy
So, how does Swift and her team channel that personal mission into a successful marketing strategy? How does she keep making sparks fly?
Pioneering Social Media
Taylor Swift was an early adopter of social media, even dedicating her 2008 CMT award to her “MySpace people and everybody who voted.” Even then, words like “digital revolution” were thrown around in the same spaces as Swift. Her knack for using social media platforms to reach her audience directly has made her uniquely accessible to her fanbase.
In other words, Swift’s success is not her own—for many fans, it’s the story of us.
The latest example is Midnights, which broke numerous sales and streaming records in its first week. Those records included sweeping the Billboard Hot 100 by taking all the top 10 spots. Even given her history of dominance, this was an epiphany—it had never happened before.
Taylor Swift and her advertising team took to platforms like TikTok and Instagram to promote the album. Her clever videos featuring bingo balls with track numbers written on them have been viewed more than 83 million times collectively. The album’s announcement post got more than 8 million likes on Instagram. But how did she get such impressive metrics?
Easter Eggs and Puzzle Solving
Thousands upon thousands of fans commented on Swift’s Midnights posts trying to decipher the meaning of outfits, word choices, accessories, and emojis (probably inspired by her use of red hearts to hint at the re-recording of Red).
Leaving these easter eggs behind for fans to figure out connected them like an invisible string; they’re more engaged with the release and feel accomplished when they solve the puzzle.
Content Marketing Is King of My Heart
Swift is a self-proclaimed storyteller. It’s at the heart of her songwriting and content marketing and the glue that holds her empire together.
You can find the storytelling in Taylor Swift’s marketing campaigns if you look at the music videos, behind-the-scenes footage, and other clever content. It’s all infused with Swift’s intimate, narrative-driven, accessible, signature touch.
An Untouchable Attention to Detail in Merchandising
Swift is known for high-quality merchandise that weaves in elements of her storytelling prowess. Not only are the items sturdy and desirable, but they also build upon each album.
For the Midnights launch, Swift created a set of four separate vinyls that can be assembled to form a clock. This unique approach to an otherwise traditional merchandise offering is a huge part of what sets Taylor Swift apart from other entertainers.
Innovate Your Marketing Strategy Beyond Your Wildest Dreams with Big Leap
While we might think entertainment is vastly different from other industries when it comes to marketing, it isn’t. There are more similarities than differences when comparing entertainment marketing strategies to business marketing strategies because, after all, even entertainers run businesses. Long story short, Taylor Swift is an incredibly successful brand.
Marketing professionals across all industries can learn valuable lessons from genius creators like Taylor Swift. Learning lessons from those outside our industries helps us think about our own strategies in new and innovative ways.
Big Leap is a trusted digital marketing agency ready to help you begin again by approaching content marketing from a fresh perspective—forever and always. Find out more about our content marketing and SEO services today.
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