Monday, May 01, 2006

Do you want to lead the parade, or get run over by the crowd?

If you've read BMA for any amount of time, you know that Jewel's music, and marketing, are frequent topics of mine. What I find so fascinating about both is that in the mid to late 90s, when Jewel's career was beginning to take off, both her music and her promotional efforts were exceptional. This story remains one of the best examples I have ever seen of a grassroots internet-based marketing campaign. And the fact that it happened in 1996 makes the event even more amazing.

But in recent years, it seems that Jewel's interaction and involvement with her EDAs(the mailing list members that Jewel worked with in 1996 to create and execute the Jewelstock concerts) has waned. Remembering that the release of her new CD, Goodbye To Alice in Wonderland was this Tuesday, I wanted to read the recent posts from the EDAs to see what their feelings were on the eve of the album's release. Here are some comments I found interesting:
Hey, I uploaded the Yahoo! performances onto Youtube so you all can put them o your blogs, Myspaces, and Friendsters. Let's promote this album; I think, all in all, it will be one of her best.
I know I mentioned this before, but I am so disappointed in the level
of promotion being one for this new album.
Since I haven't seen ANY and Jewelink hasn't had any missions, I made a banner. You can put it on websites or you're myspace or whatever. You can also use it as an image on certain message boards.
Actually JewelLink did send out a banner with some interactive code in mid-March to webmasters (Jewel online team), but I didn't bother adding it since it seemed like too much work at the time to get it running. Plus it had a corner of it dedicated to advertising other musical artists (looks like it would change periodically) and I didn't much care for that aspect of it. Must be others felt the same way since you said you haven't seen one anywhere.
I think there's a banner on myspace for people to use too. Though, I think they should have advertised that fact more. Also, where are the AOL Instant Messenger buddy icons?!
I just saw on iTunes that if you pre-order Jewel's CD before next Tuesday you will also receive the exclusive track "Satellite (Acoustic Live)".

The members also linked to several articles featuring Jewel, tour updates, television appearances, etc. It should be noted that these are truly 'hardcore' fans, some of which have been members of this mailing list for over a decade, no small feat, considering that Jewel's first album was released 11 years ago.

Notice that these fans are already doing Jewel's marketing for her. They are linking to every article/television appearance that they come across. They are uploading music videos to YouTube. They are lamenting the lack of good Jewel banners to add to their websites/blogs, and then CREATING ones to share with each other!

This is the perfect example of how a marketer's main function is to help a community get from point A to point B as effectively as possible.

The EDAs are huge fans of Jewel, so they are going to promote her new album. Jewel can either leave them alone and let them do the best they can, or she can give them the tools to reach their destination more effectively. As I said last month on BMA, I think it's about being smart enough to understand where the community is headed, and then clearing a path for them.

Also, many of the members of the mailing list had remarked that they had already heard most if not all of her album. Why not contact the mailing list owner and get the email addys for all the members, and email them asking for their address so Jewel can mail them a copy of the CD? And when it arrives, have them open the package to find the CD as promised, but SIGNED and INSCRIBED to the person? Why not give the list their own Jewel banner with an EDA logo? My guess is that these very simple acts of interaction with the community of Jewel's fans would result in an explosion of positive promotion for the artist. Promotion that would spread far beyond the boundaries of a simple mailing list.

If the community is doing your job for you, shouldn't you at least be smart enough to give them the tools to do so more effectively?

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