Taylor Swift has set the standard when it comes to artists releasing music. She has mastered the thrill of the announcement for her fans (and honestly, her foes too). But has Taylor established herself as the ultimate CMO, as well? (Disclaimer: there are so many talented CMOs that I admire and look up to – this is just a Swiftie sharing her thoughts on how Taylor and her team have become marketing pros.)
First things first — Taylor plans. I’m convinced she plans years in advance. She knows exactly what type of music she’ll be releasing, how she’ll promote it, how she’ll get her fans excited, and determines every single Easter egg she can place in a TikTok video, Instagram post, interview, album cover, Spotify image, or music video. Her fans will spend weeks dissecting what each post or video could mean. Will there be a tour? A rerelease of her past music? And what does each number 13 mean? Will it be a country album? She keeps people on their toes and wanting more.
She energizes her fans in ways that seem improbable. Rereleasing music that fans have had access to for years? No problem for Taylor. She breaks record after record by explaining her reason for rereleasing music (so that she owns it herself) and includes hidden gems in the form of never-released songs. Winning awards years after she wrote a song? No problem for Ms. Swift. And those fans are ready for literally anything. Taylor suggests they stay up until Midnight for a new album — guess what? They do it. Oh, there’s another 3 a.m. release? They are ready — credit cards in hand to make yet another investment — in their favorite CMO, T. Swift.
Taylor also knows when it’s time to bring in support. Partners, sponsors, or in her case other friends/musicians that support her and her music. That can be anything from her relationships with Apple Music and Spotify to her friendship with Selena Gomez and other artists that post almost as often as she does when there’s something new on the way. She works to make sure her partnerships are mutually beneficial, but most importantly, that they work for her fans and customers.
She has fun teasing her product, but she also builds real relationships with her fans, often commenting on their TikTok videos, throwing surprise parties, paying off education bills, or sending surprise gifts. Even when she’s quiet, Taylor is still in the background up to something. She’s built such a reputation (get it?) that her fans notice minor things like when her Instagram changes or she switches out a profile picture. Just like the CMO, she understands the need for the relationship between brand and audience. She’s always looking to enhance that relationship, engage with the audience, and have some fun along the way. Her strategy and creativity build her team and fans up and create engagement in a way that other artists have not.
But Ms. Swift hasn’t done everything right. And we saw that very recently with the ticket debacle for the Eras tour. (I’m a very upset Swiftie who is still hoping to get tickets to Chicago.) She went silent — something that she doesn’t do often. She usually comes out quickly to let her fans know that she’s working on a solution, but this time we had to wait. Her response wasn’t the usual clear solution that so many are used to from her. However, the Swifties activated, and all of a sudden Congress is looking into the issues of the ticket monopoly and the resale industry.
Is Taylor the Ultimate CMO? We will continue to watch, but her ability to adapt, build a business strategy, as well as continue to build her own personal career path is one to watch for all of us.
As far as Taylor’s next move? Well, even the best Swifties know not to try and guess.
Photo of Taylor Swift by Sarah Morris/FilmMagic
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