marketing your music

If you ain’t measuring, you ain’t marketing

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Want to increase the effectiveness of your music promotions? The importance of measuring when marketing your music can’t be ignored.

A student recently approached me with a complaint that only six people showed up to his live performance. He sent out an email to 1,000 names, posted on a few social networks, and told his friends and family. Feeling like a promotion loser (his words), he was ready to call it quits.

But after using some basic analytical tools, we quickly discovered that fewer than 10 of the 1,000 people on his list were opening his emails. We focused on re-writing his emails with catchier headlines, more benefits, and a specific “call to action.”

At his next gig, not only did 628 people open his email, 66 people showed up and paid. That’s a pretty strong increase!

So make no mistake, marketing your music – in fact, any marketing – is not about “doing things,” it’s about “doing the right things.” This is the essence of marketing measurement and why it is so important to your career.

How to measure

Measuring is the process of creating systems to collect, analyze, and act on information that is relevant to the goals of your marketing plan. These “systems” can include anything from using web analytical tools (like the ones on Facebook and YouTube that tell you the geographic regions in which people are most interested in your music), counting your sales every night and analyzing thoroughly why you experienced an increase or decrease in revenue, or just asking people at your gigs, “How did you hear about us?” In the latter case, if no one responds with, “We saw your ad in the paper,” then you had better stop placing ads in that paper. It’s that simple!

What to measure

You can measure virtually anything you want. For instance, measuring your customers’ awareness of your brand, and whether you’re at the “top of their minds” when discussing a certain category (such as “local bands in L.A.” or “studios in Nashville”) can be helpful in determining the success of your public relations strategies.

Measuring your fans’ attitudes about your products and services can help you determine their level of satisfaction with you and their likelihood to recommend you to friends and family. And paying attention and measuring how well your products and services perform in each of your distribution outlets can help you see where you’re generating the most sales and where you’re wasting the most time.

Why don’t more people measure?

Despite the benefits of measuring, a surprising number of bands and other various companies neglect to develop a measuring strategy. They argue that measuring is too time consuming and that the overlap between different marketing activities makes it difficult to measure cause and effect.

While the above holds merit (measuring is not 100 percent accurate), keep in mind that we’re not looking to develop the most complex systems. The agenda is to develop an easy-to-execute measuring strategy to help you keep score and be more efficient. A laptop computer, Excel software, index cards, and some free online tools might be all you really need.

Final words

Without a strategy in place, you can easily flush thousands of dollars down the drain marketing your music. As John Wanamaker, a pioneering marketer and merchant, is noted for saying: “Half the money I spend on marketing is wasted — the problem is, I don’t know which half!” A well-thought-out and executed measuring strategy can help you to work smarter and faster (not harder), use your time and financial resources to their fullest potential, and learn what your target audience responds to.

Simply put, if you can measure it, you can manage it. So be sure to create a marketing measurement strategy today!

Abacus image via


A renown drummer, teacher, consultant, and Disc Makers contributor, Bobby Borg is the author of Music Marketing For The DIY Musician: Creating and Executing a Plan of Attack On A Limited Budget (September 2014, Hal Leonard). The book is available on the Hal Leonard website,, or at

The contents of this post are © 2014 by Bobby Borg ( All rights reserved. Not to be posted, printed, or used in any other way without proper attribution to Bobby Borg and Disc Makers.

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5 thoughts on “If you ain’t measuring, you ain’t marketing

  1. First a fall student failed to understand his target audience. Secondly he mentioned that he send 1000 email but failed to know that who are interested in his genre and who are his most likely fans.
    It was also very important for him to do a SWOT analysis. In addition to that he could have done more research on music market and his competitors.

    I personally feel that posting on Facebook and youtube is not sufficient besides that he should have created his own website and should have distributed flyers.

    As student said “he quits” so that is not a good decision because marketing is done through practise and it takes time to be perfect in that art ( Borg 2014)

  2. It makes absolutely no sense to just throw things in the internet and expect people to respond positively if you don’t have a strategy and if you don’t track the effect somehow. I agree with Gustavo when he says that today the tools for measuring the marketing impact on the internet are very efficient. The technology is advancing so fast that very soon the ways to track and measure are going to be very accurate. It is important to use the right tools to hit the target and be careful not to lose the opportunity to achieve the goal you have set by using poor marketing actions. Looking at the business side, the marketing plan it is one of the most important thing that the artist have to pay attention to so he/she can use it to the benefit of his/her career or to a client’s career.

  3. I believe that today’s tools for measuring the marketing impact on internet are very efficient. Personally I don’t like the paid tool of Facebook, but I definitely like it when it comes to create an event and invite people to it.

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