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Monday, November 28, 2005

U2 Marketing Lessons

David Carr has a great column in today’s New York Times, “Media Business Tips From U2.” Some of the lessons on how to connect with customers are relevant to all businesses today. Here’s an editorialized summary:

Meet the consumers where they live. Know how to “feed the tribe” so they feel part of you. Five years ago U2 replaced it s fanzine Propaganda with a fan site that's constantly updated.

It’s called show business for a reason. Engage fans in the experience.

Seize the moment, but don’t steal it. Adopt new ideas, but know when to kill them.

Aim high. Make your fans think they’re part of something bigger.

Apologize, then move on. When there was a ticket problem this year with customers and scalpers, the band immediately recognized the problem and apologized.

Don’t embarrass your fans. The product needs to be great, not re-hashed product releases – or product extensions to those in the consumer products business. “Don’t embarrass your fans,” Bono said to the N.Y. Times last year. “They’ve given you a good life.”

Embrace technology: U2 didn’t fight downloading, it produced one of the first downloadable boxed sets of its music. Because that’s what fans want.

Be careful how you sell out. The Apple partnership made sense for U2’s brand. Too many other performers sell out for the money.

Embrace politicians, not politics. That’s how to get things done, regardless of the political party label.

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