In February of 2012, Lady Gaga launched LittleMonsters.com. The community site was designed to be a place/hub for her most passionate fans to come together. Gaga invested over one million of her own money into the site and even created a new company called Backplane to build out the exact site experience that she wanted for her fans.
While brands are spending millions on marketing to acquire new customers, and partnering with agencies or creating their own to help them better win new sales, Gaga is doing the same thing, in an effort to connect with the very people that are already giving her business.
Why would she go to all of this trouble to build something for the people that already love her?
Data. Good old-fashioned customer data.
“Pretty much no artist up to this point has really known who their fan base is”, explains Gaga’s manager Troy Carter. “Their fans specifically by name, age, where they live, what they do, what they like, who their friends are, which concerts they attended, which music they listen to, which songs they skip, where they skip them, just really understanding, having real data.
“And having that data helps you make better decisions as it relates to the music you release, where you tour, how big the venues are, who you invite, the price of the ticket, how much merch to carry with you. Everything. And these are all going to be data-driven decisions that we’re going to be making. It won’t be through Twitter. It won’t be through Facebook. It will be through your own sites that you build, your own communities that you build.
“This is going to be a very transparent thing that you have with your fans, and information that your fans are going to volunteer,” he said, “because they want a better experience.“
For how long have I been banging the drum of the importance of connecting directly with your most passionate customers? Since at least 2007. The reason why is simple: Because the more connected you are to your fans, the better you understand them (and they you). And the better you understand your most passionate customers, the more effectively you can market to them.
The best part? Your fans want to share this information with you! They want to connect directly with you and have a closer connection with you. One of the things Lady Gaga has noticed on LittleMonsters.com is that fans have started sharing their artwork of the rock star. Gaga then goes in and picks her favorite works, and then puts them on t-shirts and other merchandise and sells them back to her fans at concerts.
The result? Merchandise sales at concerts are up 30%. Hello! I’m not harping on connecting with your fans and I didn’t write Think Like a Rock Star simply because I wanted you to embrace your fans (although you should, literally!). I want you to connect directly with your fans because it will have a massive impact on the growth of your business if you do.
Find your fans, connect with them and connect them to each other. Watch your business grow. This isn’t rocket science. Don’t know how to get started? I wrote the book that shows you exactly how to connect with your fans step-by-step.
But speaking of rocket scientists, next Monday I’ll be headed to the city that’s home to many rocket scientists. I’ll be in Huntsville, Alabama presenting Think Like a Rock Star at the Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism. You still have time to register and the event runs from Sunday, August 18th through Tuesday, August the 20th. I’ll be on site signing copies of Think Like a Rock Star most of the day on the 19th. Hope to see you there!