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Look What You Made Me (Want To) Do: Event Marketing Insight from the Music Industry

Look What You Made Me (Want To) Do: Event Marketing Insight from the Music Industry

Taylor Swift Event Marketing

I can’t stop thinking about Taylor Swift.

Yes, I am a fan of Taylor Swift and listened to her last album on repeat more than a hundred times, but it wasn’t just the mention of her new music that had me on the edge of my seat for the past week. Taylor Swift has 102M followers on Instagram and 85.5M followers on Twitter. Her audience is undeniable. At the beginning of last week, she deleted all her social media posts from both accounts, an uncommon practice. Throughout the week, she slowly released cryptic videos with little explanation, before announcing the release of her new single. The marketing strategy employed by her team is brilliant. She’s helping set new rules about how to engage the internet.

Social media is one of the quickest ways to spread a message and connect millions of individuals. In the past week, Taylor Swift re-emerged from about a year of silence and launched a brilliant marketing campaign for her new album. Regardless of whether you like her or her music, there is no denying that she knows how to generate, not just a buzz, but an uproar. In a similarly shocking release, Beyoncé unexpectedly dropped her visual album on December 13th, 2013 and set the internet ablaze. After three years of flying under the radar, Frank Ocean rocked the world with the surprise release of his album Blonde in August 2016. Just last Thursday, Katy Perry released a new music video with only a week of promotion beforehand.

Throughout time, artists have shown us what the world wants, which is to be surprised, shocked, and amazed.  Elements of these marketing campaigns can be used when planning your next event. I’m not advising that you keep an event under wraps until it happens (how would anyone know where to go?), but there’s a lot to be learned about inspiring your demographic from these artists when it comes to utilizing the internet during every stage of your event to make it a success.


Flip the script. Don’t be afraid to reimagine the old and create something brand new.  Artist’s reimage themselves all the time, but companies aren’t able to pivot as quickly. Use your event as an opportunity to reach a new audience, create a new brand, or do something exciting. Taylor Swift deleted all of the content on her social media, signifying that something was going to happen. Break the rules. It may not be normal to take off all the content from your social media, but think about how you can activate your audience.


Don’t give it all away.

As much as an audience likes to know what they’re getting into, surprises can add a dimension of excitement leading up to an event. Consider using sponsorship activations to increase the hype. Create content to post around your event theme or have a competition that will engage attendees in advance. Don’t give everything away, but release just enough to get people talking. Use social media to your advantage. Incredible audio, visuals, and content can help to sell tickets. Create brand ambassadors and make your event a success.


Planning is everything. Create a clear plan for social media posts and content releases. Without a clear plan, it will all fall apart easily. Extend your marketing campaign timeline. Take advantage of the before and after of your event. The experience should start from the first mention and continue after you’ve called your Uber to take you home. Think of the event as extending past the production timeline. It doesn’t start at set up and doesn’t end after breakdown. The timeframe for building hype before your event can be weeks, months, or a year in advance depending on the size and scope. If the content is thoughtfully curated, it will engage your attendees. Release information about your event bit by bit.


Memories last longer than a singular moment, so create memories that stick. An experience is the best way to activate and engage. The time following an event shouldn’t just be used to share a few images of guests and thank attendees for coming. After the event, capitalize on using the audience as brand ambassadors to extend your message and increase your audience. Share the event by creating engaging videos, photos, and posts to induce a sense of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Don’t let the event be the end of the interaction with guests.


Look outside your organization for sources of inspiration. Don’t be afraid to make a statement. Plan everything. Engage your audience from start to finish

*For research purposes I listened to Look What You Made Me do approximately 18x’s while writing this post.

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