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How marketers can connect with music fans in a digital world

How marketers can connect with music fans in a digital world

By Anthony Ackenhoff, CEO, FRUKT (pictured) and Giles Fitzgerald, Editor, FRUKT Music Intelligence.

Music fans today are in an advanced stage of evolution. No longer restricted by traditional media, and spurred on by the digital revolution, they have become super consumers and an active part of the music process.

The dawn of the new music fan is hugely interesting for brands because music can now provide the mechanics for a closer connection with new audiences. Brands can facilitate the movement of music between artist and fan and between fan and product.

The question on the tip of every brand manager’s tongue is: “Do fans want us involved with their music?” The answer has for some time been mooted as yes, but increasingly this is being backed up with hard facts.

report from last year stated that 69% of the most passionate music fans agreed that brands would bring new revenue streams to the music business.

FRUKT’s research (featured in its Brands and Music Manifesto 2010) showed that 31% of nationally representative UK consumers said brand activity in music would drive them to purchase a particular brand over another. 

In order to connect with music fans online, brands need to understand their habitat, their customs and their desires to earn their trust. There are some important considerations:

1. Music is flexible

People can consume music passively or actively, independently or socially, expressively or receptively and can tune into physical, digital, live or recorded channels.

As such, the most important thing is to consider music as a cultural space. If you do this, then you’ll be able to think less about the traditional confines of music – such as format, channel and genre – and more like a consumer, who perceives and engages with music in far more diverse ways.

2. Experiential, online and mobile channels and social media are key areas for marketers to explore, as this is where music fans now congregate.

The media landscape has become fragmented, and consumers demand individual treatment. The ‘one big idea’ is no longer suitable across every medium. Media agencies are being pushed to reinvent channel planning as popular new channels emerge. Twitter is this year’s Facebook but what will next year’s or even next month’s Twitter be?

3. Today’s music fans are held together with social glue.

Around 90% of consumers value a friend’s recommendation as a driver to purchase. To fully engage with music fans you’ll need to enter into their natural habitat; be it amid the intimate conversations of Twitter or among the sweaty huddle of the mosh pit.

Music fans are hard-wired into their relative social hubs and in order to enter into an active conversation with them you’ll need to be able to position a music offering at the heart of their offline and online communities.

4. Music has been proven to be the most effective medium for communication and recall, over sight and any of the other senses.

How many TV adverts have no sound? However, marketeers in other channels have not fully exploited the power of music - an estimated 83% of all marketing communication is limited to sight alone.

Additional statistics point to a 65% chance of a mood change when exposed to a positive sound. Music creates permanent bookmarks in the brain; remember that you are making memories, not just a mere marketing message.

5. The music business is in a state of creative flux, and today’s seemingly critical music model or artist may not fit consumers tomorrow.

Keeping abreast of the changes and being one step ahead will ensure that you are not left behind when planning effective marketing budget spend.

6. Music fans want everything

They want the all-singing, all-dancing, multi-sensory festival experience; the exciting short sharp shock music campaign viral; the quick win gift with purchase; the short term VIP experience.

However, this also needs to be tempered with deeper long–term conversational campaigns, ones that fans can learn to rely on and come back to time and again. The ideal route to the heart of a music fan is to offer a selection of both.

Keep up the element of instant gratification, but maintain a discourse which develops a consistent theme. This shouldn’t stifle innovation; it is merely the process of developing a sustainable music toolkit, which a variety of elements can hinge upon.

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