Think Like a Rock Star: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies that Turn Customers into Fans

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Image of Think Like a Rock Star: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies that Turn Customers into Fans, with a foreword by Kathy Sierra
Release Date: 
March 26, 2013
Reviewed by: 

“. . . explores ‘why rock stars have fans (and your company has customers)’. . .”

Everyone wants to be a rock star. Well, almost everyone. The truth is that many talented performers never attract that much of an audience, let alone become stars.

Substitute marketers or professionals or entrepreneurs for rock stars and it is the same story. In psychotherapy it is the same story. So many analysts insist, “My expertise, my insights, my professional competence is certainly equal to and really so much better than Dr. Phil’s.” Yet Dr. Phil lives the rock star’s life, for he is a rock star of psychoanalysts. The other wannabes lament, “Why is he so visible and I am so invisible?”

Why are rock stars so much more successful than all of the other rock star wannabes?

Rock stars know more about marketing than do their competitors.

Rock stars go beyond bands to emphasize brands, more specifically what is involved in building that brand through fanatical attention to the interests of their most enthusiastic fans.

Think Like a Rock Star explores “why rock stars have fans (and your company has customers)” what is central to “understanding and connecting with your fans,” and what is involved in “building a fan-centric company.”

Mack Collier’s thesis is that brand marketing focuses on the aspiration to be perceived as awesome, which hopefully intersects with the brands customers’ wanting to be awesome.

Rock stars and brands, of course, want not just perception but reality. In the brand marketing world, the intersection of perception and reality is a very small subset.

Mr. Collier challenges his readers, “Think about it. When you download a song off of the Internet, do you consider yourself to be a fan or a customer of that rock star? You probably view yourself as a fan! Now, the next time you go grocery shopping, think about the items you buy. Do you consider yourself a fan or a customer of most of those brands? If you’re like me, you tend to view yourself as a fan of rock stars and a customer of most brands.”

Why is this so? Rock stars appreciate and even love their fans more than brands do.

Interestingly, rock stars market in the exact opposite way than do most companies. Most companies focus on acquiring new customers, as there are far more potential new customers new customers than any company’s existing customers. By contrast, “rock stars focus on connecting with their existing fans,” which existing fans are a much smaller group who “have extreme levels of brand loyalty.”

Why is extreme brand loyalty important? These are the fans who “not only will they keep buying your brand, but they will actually encourage other customers to buy it as well. So your brand’s fans are the special customers that love your brand so much that they will tell those customers who have some brand affinity, your existing customers, and your new customers that they need to stick with your brand. And the best part? Your fans are acquiring new customers for you.”

The author offers four ways to connect with and work with your fans:

1. Help your fans promote your brand
2. Help your fans generate more sales for your brand.
3. Help your fans provide customer service for your brand.
4. Let your fans become a feedback channel for your brand.

But as important as it is to have customers engaged with the brand, the company marketing function must retain leadership, for, “If you give everyone a say in your marketing and promotional efforts you typically end up with a bland message that doesn’t really resonate with anyone.”

The essential difference between brands and bands is that the fans of the latter know that the rock stars “love them. They feel a connection with these rock stars, and that connection isn’t built on a transactional foundation. It’s based on an emotional one. Rock stars have always understood that connecting with their fans and developing an emotional relationships with them will indirectly lead to sales. Whereas brands are focused on marketing efforts that directly lead to sales.”

To respond to the dreaded, “What’s the ROI?” question—“trying to figure out whether all of this social media stuff really works”—which has “plagued social media marketing professionals for years,” the author urges the importance of setting definite goals, structuring efforts to support those goals, employing metrics that reflect progress towards realizing the ultimate goal of your efforts.

Think Like a Rock Star blends business stories and rock star stories; marketing principles and how to tutorials. The backstage pass, let’s you in on “the magic that is happening behind the scenes.” These sections provide lots of “how to navigate the Internet” tips, tricks and techniques. In application, this involves “tips for immediately starting to utilize the concepts and ideas that we are currently discussing to better connect with and cultivate fans of your brand.”

Mr. Collier concludes, “Most rock stars do two very simple things incredibly well. They relentlessly communicate two messages to their fans: 1. I appreciate you. 2. I love you. That’s it. There’s really no secret formula, no secret sauce. Rock stars simply value and appreciate their fans.”

This book deserves the interest—beyond marketing professionals—of entrepreneurs, senior executives, and anyone concerned with selling ideas.