Home > Engagement Marketing, Marketing Strategy, New Perspectives, Uncategorized > Marketing Lessons from Country Music

Marketing Lessons from Country Music

One busy weekend afternoon, while cleaning the house and listening to country music, a curious connection started to emerge…what country music teaches us about life AND about marketing.

Let me start with a fun list of my favorite “life lessons” as told by the great country music stars:

  1. Know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em (Kenny Rogers)
  2. Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys (Willie Nelson)
  3. She’s in love with the boy…she’s gonna marry that boy some day (Trisha Yearwood)
  4. Daddies don’t just love their children every now and then, it’s a love without end, amen (George Strait)
  5. If you ain’t lovin’, you ain’t livin’ (George Strait)
  6. You’ve got to stand for somethin’, or you’ll fall for anything (Aaron Tippin)
  7. Wherever you go, there you are (Clint Black)
  8. Here’s a quarter, call someone who cares (George Strait)
  9. I ain’t as good as I once was, but I’m as good once as I ever was (Toby Keith)
  10. God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy (Billy Currington)

Now that I’ve got the fun stuff out the way, let’s get into just how this applies to marketing.

It’s actually quite simple – country songs relate to their audience.  Let me say that again a different way, country songs are relevant to their audience.  As marketers (and yes, singers, and their posse, are marketers), we have to be relevant to our target audience. 

I’ll even go a step further and say that not only do we have to be relevant, but, taking a page from the country singer book of marketing, also that we have to be entertaining to capture the attention and, subsequently, the emotion of our target audience.

I know that this is not a groundbreaking concept – we’ve been batting this around for a while now in marketing circles.  However, I think it’s actually easier than it may first seem. 

Where we as B2B marketers may have over-rotated on marketing the next widget because, well, the engineers said it’s awesome and it does really cool things, if we just flipped the conversation and started with the idea that B2B buyers are consumers (and people) also, then we can take the appropriate measures to understand them as the individuals they are.  With this, we can start to understand how to be relevant to them as individuals and how to progress from just relevancy to emotional connection – which, we all know from brand studies, can positively impact a purchase decision and the future consumer-business relationship.

There is an agency that I’ve had the fortune to interact with, called WhiteRhino, who has articulated a nice strategy and set of tactics to achieve this as B2B marketers through what they call “B2Me” marketing. 

It’s not rocket science, but it is a shift in our approach and an opportunity for B2B marketers to put the focus back on the buyer/consumer in an engineering-driven environment.

If you have any examples of doing this in your B2B marketing environment, I’m interested in hearing about it.  I’ll keep my eyes out for good examples and share them on the blog.

Until next time, I’ll jump in my old truck, get the old dog out of the back, pick up my dancin’ partner and head down to the dancin’ hall for some good ol’ boot scootin’, while I think about how country music has done so well considering it’s stories are so sad…I guess it’s all relevant.

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  1. October 26, 2011 at 2:20 pm | #1

    Love it Ryan! This goes right back to the premise that people do not need drills, they need quarter-inch holes.

    They key song I think you left off your list goes to the heart of the biggest struggle for committed, passionate marketers … work/life balance. The song: “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” (Alan Jackson)

    Nice job on this one.

    • October 26, 2011 at 2:41 pm | #2

      Ah, you’re right about the song (and the quarter-inch holes)! It is five o’clock somewhere. Thanks for leaving a comment!

  2. October 26, 2011 at 2:44 pm | #3

    Shoot Ryan, I forgot a key comment that I wanted to add. One of the reasons that country music resonates so well with their audience — and something key for marketers to understand — is the specificity. When Kenny Rogers says, “you gotta know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em,” we don’t have to be poker players to get the head nod going. We need to use specific language that resonates with our target audience, not just throw either high-level, one-size-fits-all pablam their way or innudate them with technical speak.

    ‘Nuff said.

    Good post.

  1. August 29, 2012 at 3:35 pm | #1

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