Learning from successful marketing gurus

Gaming, friending, marketing, social media, the Internet – it’s all part of a big mashup these days. Take Lady Gaga, for instance. Recently, Mashable ran Lady Gaga First to Hit 20 Million Twitter Followers. Justin Bieber–what a slacker–only has 18 million followers on Twitter. (I just looked at my own Twitter account, where I’m edging up on 1300 followers – kaPOW, Gaga.)

Part One of the Big Mashup: Social Media and Brand Tie-ins

The article at Mashable wasn’t just about Twitter. It went on to detail everything that Lady Gaga did in marketing “Born this Way.” The list includes:

  • A Farmville-like game from Zynga called Gaga-Ville
  • A two week long scavenger hunt with Starbucks
  • Lady Gaga appeared in a Google Chrome commercial, chatting with fans
  • A one-day deal with Amazon to download the whole album for $0.99.
  • A live feed from Best Buy of Lady Gaga staying up all night in a NYC store signing autographs
  • An interview with Google executive Marissa Mayer
  • A Facebook contest involving about how money should be divided up among 5 charities
  • Lady Gaga teamed up with Gilt Groupe to sell clothing – some for charity
  • An HBO concert special
  • Rdio had a contest related to the album release with the winner getting free music for life
  • Lady Gaga posts frequently on Facebook
  • Exclusive premiers on Vevo
  • iTunes offered bonus songs with preorders of the album
  • Previews and teasers in YouTube videos
  • TwitPic photos and Twitter activity
  • QR Codes for “Born this Way” ringtones scattered about the Internet
  • Apps
  • Permission for Weird Al Yankovic to include a parody of “Born This Way” called “Perform This Way” on his own album
  • and even more minor kinds of things

Are you stunned by that list? I am. I’m also thinking it’s a free tutorial from the geniuses who market Lady Gaga in how to do marketing.

Okay, so maybe you aren’t going to get Starbucks to team up with your little blog, or Marissa Mayer to interview you for an hour and then broadcast the interview, but you can do some of what you see in that list. You can use it to start your own thinking.

Rachel Andrew, writing at The Pastry Box Project, speaks directly to web designers when she says,

If you are good at what you do you might like to write articles and books, speak at conferences, be included in discussions on subjects. To get started all you need to do is start publishing your ideas somewhere, or offer to speak at small events, and other offers will start to come in.

In this industry we don’t have to wait until the “powers that be” recognize our talent, we can put ourselves out there, and we have the skills and tools to do it.

Part 2 of the Big Mashup: Add Games to the Mix

Gaming Angels recently wrote about The Hunger Games Innovative Social Media Campaign. Maybe the movie The Hunger Games isn’t as huge a phenomena as Lady Gaga, but I’ll bet you are aware of the hype around it.

As GamingAngel points out,

It all starts on the Hunger Games Facebook page. When you login with your Facebook account, you will immediately, get placed into a District. How’s that for fans?

In addition to Facebook, there are Hunger Games related sites at The Capitol and Capitol Couture. Both have all sorts of activities, games, ways to particpate and links to purchase movie tickets. Add to that the normal releases of Official Trailers, ads, and entertainment blog posts.

That’s a lot of big movie hype. But you aren’t a movie. What can you do to generate some hype?

You could read a helpful book where you’d find some good ideas.

In the book Designing for Emotion by Aarron Walter, there is a chapter called “Emotional Engagement.” He cites several elements that can elicit emotion engagement from your users. These techniques can build excitement and stimulate lots of tweets and conversation.

  1. Surprise
  2. Anticipation, the velvet rope, and status (yeah, have you been invited to Pinterest yet?)
  3. Priming

I recommend this book if you are struggling with hanging on to your users and making them return visitors. You can read a more complete review of the book: Web Teacher Review of Designing for Emotion.

Back to Gamers, Please

With 68.7 million gamers running around the marketplace, according to Why 5 Big Brand Marketing Campaigns are Betting Big on Social Gaming, it’s inevitable that businesses are working out ideas for how to market products with games. I don’t mean market the game – I mean market something else with a game.

Examples of big brands and games mentioned in that article include the WeCity game from Century 21 that lets players build cities and the New York City Public Library’s game, Find the Future.

Games and gamers can be used to market more than products. They can also be used to market ideas and behavior. I’ll close with a mention of this 20 minute TED Talk by Jane McGonigal, in which she explains how we could harness gamer power to solve real-world problems. What could you do with a game? Or, could you give a TED Talk to promote some idea? There are many local TEDx events where someone with something to say can deliver a talk.

Big phenomenal ideas were discussed here – can you bring them to bear at the scale of your marketing project?

Note: This article was cross-posted at BlogHer in a slightly different form.

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