Category Archives: marketing

Come on you know you’re not so young

Is it just me or has everyone been seeing the pictures on Instagram, and Twitter that have various young people modeling Duran merch?

I’m not posting them here, but you can easily find them here, here and here on Duran Duran’s Instagram page

The first time I saw one, I scrolled past and didn’t think twice. It was only later on when  one of my friends mentioned the “youngsters” that I thought to myself, “Yeah, that kid was pretty young, wasn’t he?”  

Then later, I saw another comment. This time on DD’s Instagram page, congratulating them on the “diversity of the models.” Truthfully, I hadn’t noticed. I just made a mental note, and went on about my weekend.

Later on, I noticed a few other comments that caught my eye. Most  had to do with the age of the models in the photos, as opposed to the assumed age of their fan base. These weren’t congratulatory in tone, either.

First of all, I don’t think anyone would argue that the models in the pictures are young – regardless of what kind of “link” there might be from the models to the band. Secondly, to the best of my knowledge from what I’ve noticed at the Duran shows I’ve attended, the average age of their fan base is significantly older than what is represented in those photos.

Ideally, the band wants to be relevant to a wide range of ages. We’ve written about that at length on this blog, and while I want to be fair to those, such as myself, who have been around for decades – I also get dollars and cents. The wider age range of people who like them, the more is going to get sold. It’s really that easy. On the same token, I’ve been to just shy of fifty shows now, (I know that many have been to far more, and I salute you.) and lately I have paid significant attention to the age and gender of the audience.

Their audience for their live shows is still predominantly female, although there are definitely men in attendance. That doesn’t mean there are NO men present – it means there are simply fewer.  As for age, I do think it runs the gamut now that you’ve got parents taking the second (and sometimes even third) generations to see Duran Duran, but overall, in the vast majority of cases, we’re all kidding ourselves if we really believe that teenagers are beginning to take over the fan base at their shows. I can’t tell you who is quietly buying their albums and never saying a word about it online, but I know what the average Duran Duran concert-going fan looks like.

They look like me. And probably YOU, too. 

So, back to those disparaging comments. There seems to be a lack of understanding of why management would choose to advertise the band’s merchandise using young people rather than people who accurately represent the age of their fan base. I get their feelings, and part of me does agree. But then, I say the same thing about ALL clothing ads. Or make-up ads. Or anything else. Everything is marketed for that beautifully golden demographic of which I am no longer part. It’s a miracle I buy anything at all, really.

I have a difficult time stomaching the idea that I’m over the age of 45 now and am being thrown out to pasture by the marketing geniuses of this world. I also can’t blame them, exactly. Don’t get me wrong, I’d LIKE to blame someone. Really, I would. But truly, is the band doing anything wrong by having young kids wearing their band merch? I’d love to look and feel young and vibrant, wouldn’t you?

Maybe that’s the point. Maybe it’s not about the demographic at all.  Instead, maybe it’s the feeling we get when we go to a DD show or put on our favorite Paper Gods hoodie?  Sure it’s total spin on my part, but at least it’s positive!

I’d just rather not spend the time I devote to the one thing that makes me happiest (outside of my children and dog, that is) by tearing them apart for a marketing choice. Yep, this is kind of a new thing for me. I’m not saying I’ll ignore EVERY thing they do that I don’t love, but this time – they’re getting a pass. Yeah sure, I wish they’d have real fans wearing their stuff….but maybe those kids really are. I don’t know.  On the same token, I also know the overall imagery works a lot better with young, beautiful, energetic kids wearing it, like it or not. Who wants to see me, my bifocals and my 46-year old body in a hoodie? Probably no one. I get it.

The reality is, we all know who their fans are. We know who goes to the shows, listens to their music, and buys the VIP tickets. It’s not typically someone like my oldest – who occasionally swipes my vintage Wild Boys t-shirt and wears it to school. Sure, there are exceptions out there. But on average? It’s me. And you.

And you know, maybe you’re kind and invite the kids and spouse/significant other to come with you every once in a while and share your joy. And that’s cool, because that’s how this whole fan thing works…as long as they know to get the hell out of your way once the band hits the stage, right?

-R

 

The (hidden) cost of a retweet

Amanda sent me the following this morning after seeing it on Twitter:

Screen Shot DDHQ Road and Track retweet

So let me get this straight…we’re going to RETWEET something from Road and Track magazine about how that delightful human basically made his way through Duran fans – elbowing his way through as it says here – thus standing in front of the fans so that he could get a photo of the car? We’re happy about that? Is it meant to be funny??

Listen. I know social media. I get how it all works and that if you retweet, you’re liable to get more views of that tweet and it’s all a wonderfully delightful numbers game. I understand marketing and how you have to appeal to a huge audience base….but I dare say that you don’t do that by also potentially pissing off fans you’ve had for over thirty years.  As Amanda aptly put it, if I have 200 fans but piss off 50 and gain 40 from the retweet, I now only have 190 fans. That’s not the way you want it working…new fans or not.

Perhaps the person who retweeted this didn’t really see or read the tweet – that they merely saw the @duranduran part and thought this was a great opportunity to reach more people. Maybe so. Maybe they looked at it as Duran Duran had so many fans there that this person HAD to elbow their way through just to get a photo.  I can see that.  Heck, PROBABLY so.

The thing is, it still didn’t feel quite right to see that particular tweet noticed and RE-tweeted by the band. If it weren’t for the FANS of this band, there wouldn’t still BE a band.  After all, if you’re not making money at something – it’s just a hobby, and I think that Duran Duran works too damn hard and pays way too many people to call it a hobby these days. We fans are the people who buy their records, their concert tickets, their merch…and we support them. Some of us have spent a major portion of our lives supporting them. Let’s be a little bit more respectful of that at the cost of picking up an extra fan or two.

I don’t like calling out Duran’s management. I would actually LIKE to have a good working relationship with them because I think we can help them. I really do. Actually, I know we can. We know the fans, we UNDERSTAND the fans because we ARE fans. I wish the band would USE Daily Duranie  as a resource and work with us rather than try to ignore our existence. We aren’t looking to hurt the band. We’ve never once tried to scoop management on news items. We typically don’t spread rumor on purpose. We bring the fans together. We do meet ups to increase the amount of FUN fans have so that they stick around.  We spend a great deal of time and effort planning conventions to keep the party going for everyone so that they DON’T just walk away. We try to support the band however we can on the extremely limited shoestring budget we’ve got. (that comes out of our own pockets, thankyouverymuch) We realize that fans can be seen as overzealous. Amanda and I aren’t stupid – we know there’s a business side here that can’t be ignored. We just know that someone has to look out for the fans and try to create that sense of “family”, especially at this point in our lives.  It doesn’t make much sense to me that management does everything they can to ignore us really… but then, I also don’t go around tweeting things like this that have the potential to piss off the very fans they need in order to sell tickets and survive, either.  Like I said, I don’t like calling them out, and perhaps I’m seeing this all wrong…I just know in my heart that it didn’t feel quite right to see that retweet.

I  have to think that management, or anyone who has paid attention to this blog over the years, knows that I’m fairly level-headed and that I come from a place of deep respect and loyalty…or at least I try. I make jokes, I’m sarcastic and sometimes flippant, and I don’t know how to do the job that management does.  I openly, whole-heartedly admit that. I also know that they’re not likely to ever apologize for the decisions they make OR admit that they were wrong. They can’t do that without creating a nightmare for themselves and I get that. That’s fine. The last thing I want to do is create problems, but on the same token – I think it’s worth my sticking my neck out to make myself heard. Overall, I think that management does a great job. I don’t agree with the attitude of some that because management is in the US, that somehow makes them unqualified to manage a British band.  I just wish they took a little more interest in the very people that support the band.  US…the fans. The ones who really DO make the noise.  We matter.

Food for thought.

-R

 

Bangin’ on the radio

Do you think Twitter has changed radio much?

In my endless search for new topics for the blog, particularly because Duran Duran – the band that inspired this blog, has not been much help in the news department as of late, I stumbled upon this infographic created by the good people at Mediabistro:

This infographic centers around the UK, likely because the #1 radio station on Twitter is BBC1. Stations do not really interact much with tweeters…as the infographic shows, 79% of tweets were aimed at celebrities, and just 21% at listeners, yet these tweets were still retweeted by their audience. What is most interesting though, is what this little infographic doesn’t say. For instance, it doesn’t tell us whether or not those tweets of song requests translate into more plays for specific (requested) artists. It doesn’t tell us whether or not tweeting has affected the Arbitron Rating for the station. And of course we can’t tell the affects any of this has or has not had on sales.  
From my point of view as “Rhonda, the above-average radio listener”,(above-average because I’m slightly out of the target demographic!!)  I don’t even follow my local radio stations on Twitter. I couldn’t care any less about what they tweet. I spend a fair amount of time in my car, and I do listen to the radio, but at home I listen to Spotify or my own music library as opposed to radio unless there’s something specific on that I want to catch. I don’t see the direct effects Twitter has had on radio per se. What I do see though, is that Twitter has had a major affect on marketing in general – across the board. Even my husband’s company has a Twitter handle, and they’re just a silicon chip company. It also has had a huge affect on customer service as well. Who needs a phone when you’ve got Twitter??  The other day I was having difficulty with our domain – and I’d mentioned that I didn’t know how to fix it on Twitter, never once thinking that someone from our domain host would reply with the answer for me. It was nice to see such a helpful (and friendly!) reply to something that I was really just musing about “out loud”.  
Once again, I think it all comes down to learning the new business model and how to make IT work, as opposed to companies learning how to work for IT. We live in a world where information and effect is meant to be instantaneous, and that’s a tough adjustment for those of us who grew up during a time when the media solely controlled the flow of information. The old ways of marketing and promotion just do not apply – they just aren’t enough for a public that wants everything yesterday. It’s fascinating to me that, like other areas of the music industry, land-based radio is slow to embrace social media correctly and use it to their benefit. It appears that they’re only understanding half the reasoning behind Twitter.  It’s not enough to just tweet outwardly – in order to truly be effective, there has to be that give and take.  The conversation. In today’s world, marketing and promotion is most effective on a relationship-level, so those little retweets, those acknowledgments, and those shout-outs matter. They spark that connection, even if only on a transactional basis. I might even suggest these relations matter more than a print ad, and possibly even more than a commercial these days. The celebrities, musicians, and entertainment franchises of all types who learn how to harness the energy available through direct-to-fan contact as well as social media will be (and are) among those leading the way for those still stuck in the learning curve cycle. Resistance, at this point, is futile. Lead, follow, or get out of the way.  
-R