7 Marketing Lessons I Learned From Beyoncé

Beyonce Marketing LessonsSay what you want about Beyoncé (actually don’t, because if you talk smack about her I will probably fight you), but the girl is a marketing mastermind. I don’t know how much she controls or if she has the worlds greatest PR team but someone knows what they’re doing. Whether you like her or not, I’ve got 8 marketing lessons that we can all apply to our blogs, businesses, and brands. They don’t call her the Queen for nothing.

  1. Have a plan – 2016 Beyoncé did not happen by accident. Every little breadcrumb we received leading up to the drop of Lemonade was part of a big marketing plan that looked a little something like this: Beyoncé is announced as part of the Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show, Formation is released, Beyoncé saves the halftime show (sorry Coldplay, but it’s true), Formation world tour is announced, we wait with bated breath for an album, #Lemonade teaser is released (WHAT IS THIS), then finally…the release of Lemonade. If you have a big project you’re working on, don’t just throw it out to the masses – have a plan. Tease them a little. Have an email campaign ready to go BEFORE you release that ebook you’ve worked so hard on. Plan out those Instagram photos ahead of time. You’ll thank yourself later.
  2. Partner up with the right people – I have to say, I’m amazed by Beyoncé’s pull at HBO. I was a little shocked when I heard Lemonade would be premiering on HBO…then it clicked: HBO was offering a free weekend for all cable subscribers + free trials of HBO Now. Literally ANYONE with a cable connection and/or email address could watch this. It was a win for HBO (you know tons of people are going to forget to cancel those trials) and it was a huge win for Beyoncé because everyone had access. Take note and make friends with the right people – then you scratch their backs, and they’ll scratch yours.
  3. Tell a story – Whether Lemonade is about Beyoncé and Jay Z’s marriage or not (I say it’s fiction), the story is one of the most compelling aspects of the album. Even if you’re not a fan, odds are you’ve heard about “Becky with the good hair.” Yes Lemonade is an amazing album, yes it resonates with tons of different people, but the story gives it even more mass appeal. People who don’t care about Beyoncé’s music or image are asking about the story. In everything you do, try to tell your story – it’s up to you whether you want it to be autobiographical or not. One great example is Ware is the Vodka’s Glitter Tales, she tells short stories each week that are not autobiographical but are VERY compelling.
  4. Surprise them – Beyoncé is officially queen of the surprise albums. The first time she did it with NO warning; this time we had a hunch but at the same time, no one really knew what Lemonade was. I know earlier I said to have a plan and to tease things before they drop, but sometimes you can totally throw a curveball. Unfortunately you’re not Beyoncé so I wouldn’t try to surprise people with something HUGE and then not talk about it. If you go the surprise route, definitely follow it up with a well-established plan because…word of mouth probably won’t work quite as well for you as it did for Beyoncé.
  5. Maintain privacy and be transparent on your own terms – For someone SO insanely famous, it’s kind of shocking how much privacy Beyoncé is able to maintain. I can’t tell you how much I screamed when I FINALLY saw footage from her wedding at the On the Run Tour last year. SEVEN years after their wedding and we finally got a glimpse. Obviously I’m not saying you need to be as private as Beyoncé – that’s up to you. But it should be on your own terms, just because someone else is doing something doesn’t mean you have to. If you want to share your whole life – great! (Just be safe.) Want more privacy? That’s fine too. Just make sure to take a cue from Beyoncé and keep them wanting more by offering little glimpses into your life here and there if you go the “super private” route.
  6. Use the platform(s) that benefit you – The most baller move Beyoncé has made in a while? Putting her album exclusively on Tidal. Granted it was only for 24 hours but at the time, no one know how long it would be! Perfect example – this conversation I had via Twitter with my friend Laura. First two tweets were before Lemonade, then her final tweet was after.Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 11.25.27 PM Of course we all know the album has since been released other places but by that time, all the Beyoncé Stans had already signed up for their Tidal free trial. And, like the HBO Now free trial, tons of people will probably either a) end up liking Tidal or b) forget to cancel their trial and have to pay for at least another month. Tidal is owned by Jay Z so using that platform is obviously a huge financial benefit for Beyoncé . Similarly, use the platforms that benefit you – financially or otherwise. Can’t figure out WordPress? Stick with the platform you’re on. Get the most traffic from Pinterest? Make sure to spend time on that platform and less on the platforms where your fans aren’t hanging out. Not making any money from that affiliate network? Drop ’em.
  7. Break the social media rules – Beyoncé’s profile picture on Instagram is a color. It’s not a color that she has branded (if Prince’s profile pic was a purple circle, it would’ve made perfect sense). In the “rules” of social media, not having a profile pic makes zero sense, but she does it anyway. She’s never on Twitter. She tweeted out her new album on 4/23 and before that she hadn’t tweeted since 2013. Note: she didn’t tweet about her self titled 2014 album. Again, you’re not Beyoncé so you should probably tweet more than once every three years, but this is just a friendly reminder that sometimes it’s okay to break the rules. You don’t have to do EVERYTHING every social media guru says. Hate Twitter? Don’t use it! Break the rules and make your own rules!

Sheesh this post ended up being much longer than I expected. But guess what…I’m NOT DONE! Since you read this whole thing (you read it all…right?) I’m rewarding you with a giveaway!

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6 thoughts on “7 Marketing Lessons I Learned From Beyoncé

  1. Thank you so much for the shout out for Glitter Tales! To even be put in the same category as sharing a tad bit of Beyonce’s genius is amazing!

  2. Beyonce came into her own when she split from her father’s management. She is a feminist icon and her marketing strategy (which of course she was 100% part of) is absolute genius. Adore the Queen B.

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