In a traditional model, businesses had different departments with different responsibilities. Research & Development determined what products to make; Design & Engineering figured out how to make them; Manufacturing actually made them; Marketing decided what would be said or how to position products; Sales ensured the products got sent through distribution channel; all while Operations worked to keep things moving smoothly. And so-on and so-on.

This model hardly works any more; so I look to the music industry for inspiration.

Here is a scenario that has happened to me on more than one occasion.
A friend with different musical taste turns me on to a new band and I am quickly interested, find them on YouTube and play several videos to get a good sampling of their sound.

After following them on twitter, they soon inform me of an upcoming date in my city. I decide to attend, but until tickets are available; simply purchase a few songs and add them to select playlists.

2 weeks before the show; excitement drives me to buy the entire album and maybe their lesser-known first one as well. I don’t want to be one of those fans who only appreciates the songs that are played on the radio.

Day of show: I might tweet my seat numbers with a link to a favorite video and a hashtag or two. While keeping some degree of composure at work; my focus is on the show.

I get to the show early enough to listen to the opening band – after all, they have been getting some good reviews as well. More than once; I was so impressed that I signed up for their mailing list as the transaction of purchased CD is processed.

The main event delivers all that was promised – an incredible performance that was well worth the price.

We experience the event from the perspective of an enthusiastic fan. But as we go to bed recalling the memories of the event; the band and crew are tearing down, loading up, and heading to another city to play again tomorrow. For them it was just another ‘day at the office’; albeit a cubicle free office that produces 100 decibels.

While this fits perfectly into the model of a growing rock-n-roll act; here’s how it can be applied to any business or product.

Instead of finding customers and convincing them to buy products; create fans. Fans expect a performance, so be sure to create and deliver one. Your presentations are like their songs, make them something we will be repeating in the shower or on morning commute.

While revenue is generated through purchases of songs, cds, tickets, and merchandise; bands really seek to make connections with their fans. These connections are what drive the purchases.

Build excitement through engagement. Fans are more likely to open their wallets when you make them smile. Make stuff that puts a smile on faces, and is easy for your fans to share with others.

Along each step of the journey, offer a variety of price-points that deliver different levels of experience. YouTube videos are free, but often serve as the foundation for a viable tour. A free e-book in exchange for contact information can build your fan base and help you better see the geographic or demographic trends developing.

Musicians are start-up businesses that, in some ways, serve as great examples of how to use technology to infuse marketing into their operations. Click the picture below for a link to hear original music from my band St Johns Wort.

SJW on stage