What David Bowie Can Teach You About Online Marketing

2013-1-7-david_bowie_thin_white_duke-533x363I was excited by the news last Wednesday that the Thin White Duke, David Bowie, had decided to strut his stuff all the way back to planet earth in a rock & roll rocket ship, powered with a hefty dollop of stardust.

The news of a new Bowie single and album was massive.

Everywhere I looked there was Bowie. All the Swedish press were covering it. It was all over Twitter. I saw it was in the British, American and Norwegian press too. Fans were quick to celebrate and even the reviews were positive.

Not bad for a musician who hasn’t released anything in ten years.

My favourite comment on Bowie’s comeback came from British TV host and big time Bowie fan, Jonathan Ross:

“In an age when we can follow our heroes’ every thought or whim on any social network … to maintain complete radio silence for 10 years immediately puts you ahead of the pack, creating a hunger, a desire, a need for information that we can barely tolerate” (The Guardian).

You Can’t Beat a Platform

Now of course I doubt anyone would be that bothered if I didn’t release another podcast for ten years or publish a blog post. Business folks like me don’t inspire global adoration. Unfortunately that’s even something that doesn’t even occur in my wildest dreams.

The return of Bowie did remind me, though, just how important it is to have a platform. Having built all those relationships with the commitment, talent and no doubt bloody-mindedness it takes to succeed for thirty years and more in the music industry, no wonder his return was greeted with such pleasure.

Do a Bowie

Along with the marketing, analytics, strategy and actually doing the work you do, I think the import takeaway from this is that we shouldn’t undermine the importance of building a platform, striving to develop a tribe of supporters.

Twitter is a great way to build connections. I’ve noticed that anytime I’m away when I get back many of my tribe are happy to promote my posts and share ideas, just as I am if they take some down time. In many ways, this is the place I’ve invested in when it comes to building one of my most important business platforms. The other is my podcast, which drives conversations and has led to new friendships with others in the online marketing industry; again, these friends have been instrumental in raising my company profile when I’ve had to shift resources away from content marketing and social media engagement.

As businesses, and specifically small businesses, resources are tight: building a digital platform that supports your tribe is not easy because it takes time and nurture.

What are you doing to build a platform or a tribe?

  • http://twitter.com/ericamallison Erica Allison

    You had me at “Bowie,” Jon. ;)
    Great analogy and like you, I take time out from time to time, but each time I return I’m met with support and pleasure from my “tribe.”. That’s a great feeling! However, I know that if I don’t cultivate it, over time, I’ll lose that support. Point well made.

    • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      Great to hear from you Erica! I saw Bowie in the early 80s. Still haven’t forgotten it but realized I was over the hill when I mentioned Bowie in a marketing class I was giving and got blank faces looking at me. “Who ?” they said!
      Hope you’re doing well and definitely include me in your tribe :=)

  • http://www.klaxonmarketing.co.uk/blog Andy Bargery

    Love this analogy Jon. I doubt if anyone would particularly care if the average marketer stopped blogging / tweeting etc for ten years, but what a great goal to aim for: inspiring that sort of loyalty and fandom from within your tribe through great content.

    • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      Cheers Andy! Even us budding podcasters can take a note from the Thin White Duke ! I’m a massive fan and what a brilliant comeback. Masterfully managed for optimum market penetration.

  • RogierNoort

    Join Triberr :) It’s where I met you!!
    Also, being active on Twitter is good, particularly when following key people.., the influencers.
    The more you give.., the more you get.

    And yes, it’s not the ten year inactivity that made the difference.., it’s the thirty years of activity which does.

    I reckon that would be cumulative… I could get away with an absence of a week.., maybe. Bowie can do ten years. A few bloggers I know could take a sabbatical for a year and they’d be welcomed back to a waiting community.

    The bigger the name and achievements, the bigger the possible hiatus.

    • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      Hi Rogier, Good to see you here.
      Yes, I agree with you. Triberr has been very useful for me too. I love the connections it enables you to make. Like this one !

  • jean121

    I reckon that would be cumulative… I could get away with an absence of
    a week.., maybe. Bowie can do ten years. A few bloggers I know could
    take a sabbatical for a year and they’d be welcomed back to a waiting

    • http://jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

      I don’t know that many. The thing is the blogosphere changes quickly. A lot of folks that were doing well two years ago seem to have used it as a platform to create a business and as the business takes off the blogging diminishes.
      But that’s entirely understandable, of course.

      Thanks for stopping by !