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When You Are Taylor Swift, Blowing Your Nose Becomes a Marketing Strategy


It’s just impossible to miss Taylor Swift this summer. With her The Eras Tour making its way to stadiums around the country – there has been a frenzy to get tickets through the lottery. Then madness to get them from re-sellers. Finally, the jubilation and masses of photos from Swifties (Taylor’s fans) posting their concert experiences.

I fully admit to liking some of Taylor’s music. But I wasn’t a part of the concert frenzy this summer. No one in my household was desperate to see her live. But, she did make her way to my Netflix profile this summer. Netflix served up her concert film Reputation Stadium Tour and her documentary Miss Americana. So while feeling a little left out of the Swift Mania that descended in the summer of 2023 – I decided to get my fill of Taylor from my couch this summer. I went in with curiosity and the desire to be entertained. What I walked away with was a marketing lesson from a master.


After spending a 20+ year career as a journalist, public relations practitioner and marketer – I feel pretty confident about the number one basic premise of all these disciplines – Know Your Audience. Tactics come and go. Social media channels and ways of communicating evolve in our digital world – but understanding whom you are talking to is important to anyone who is trying to make a sale, influence a group, win an election, build their following on social media, change a mind, or even get someone to attend your party.


Why Blowing Your Nose is Marketing Genius


I believe in today’s world of spinning, messaging, perfect photos for posting, and being “on” 24/7 AUTHENTICITY is ATTRACTIVE.


At one point in her Reputation show – Taylor finishes a number and is talking to the audience. She asks one of her dancers to bring her a tissue. She politely turns her back to the audience and blows her nose. She turns back to face the audience and comments about sometimes we all have to blow our noses. The audience screams and cheers for her relatability.


She’s right – everyone does have to blow their nose sometimes – and I’m sure it happens to superstars like Swift live on stage. But I’m not watching the live show – I’m sitting in my pjs watching this unfold on Netflix. Why didn’t they edit this out I wonder for a second. But no – editing it out would remove Taylor’s relatability with her fans – who are in love with her ability to be a super goddess on the stage and the red carpet and to be vulnerable about her sinus issues.


She has this ability to perform and transform for her fans into a singing, dancing, sexy, bad girl in a sequined leotard, and when the song ends and the dancing stops – her eyes gaze to the top of the stadium and the smirk on her face lets you know that was all an act – she is really just Tay-Tay – the girl next door who is just like you with the same hopes, fears and dreams as her fans.


If you think this is all by accident and part of the staging – it’s not. This is the persona Taylor Swift has crafted and mastered because she understands her fan base intimately. Maybe better than any musical act of her time. During her concert, she talks to the audience in between numbers. She tells them how much she loves them and has walked in their shoes. She doesn’t take them for granted and thanks them for spending their Saturday night with her instead of the million things they could be doing with their time.


Taylor Swift has been able to crawl into the minds of her fans and addresses their thoughts, fears, pain, and desires and lets them know they are understood. From 10-year-olds to their 37-year-old-moms – Taylor gets you. Tapping into those feelings has amassed a massive social media following, filling stadiums night after night, album sales, song downloads and much, much more. Swift, at the age of 33 has had nearly 20 years in the spotlight - a longevity that few musicians experience. It seems she has no signs of stopping anytime soon.


So how do you take Taylor Swift’s marketing genius and apply it to your sales, social, publicity and more?


· Understand Your Customers: Not just a little – a lot. It doesn’t matter if you own a car wash or are selling insurance. What makes them tick? Why have customers bought your product/service before? What value do they get? What pain point does it solve? Does it solve a security issue or create an image for them they want to show to others? Can what you offer to make them more successful, satisfied, or important?


· Get Curious: So how do you find out this information about your customers? Talk to them. Get really curious about their lives, interests, jobs, hobbies, etc. Where do you connect with them? How can you leverage that connection in your marketing, branding, sales content and materials?


· Embrace Vulnerability: Show them who you are and why you are in business. Tell your story. Take them behind the scenes of what you do and why. Why are you passionate about the work you do? We all need personal and private lives – even Taylor Swift. But sometimes showing a little bit of ourselves – our successes and challenges in business – might just turn a customer into a raving fan.


Understanding your customers is a constant journey that never really ends. You have to learn to move with their needs, wants, and desires and modify your offerings accordingly. But if you need a bit of inspiration from a master – go watch a Taylor Swift concert and take some notes.


Back Porch Communications helps businesses and nonprofits with marketing, communications and public relations strategies. Need some help in sorting through what works and what won't for your organization? Send me an email at Jen@BackPorchCom.com


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