Musician, author, educator, and music industry consultant Bobby Borg talks to Freddy Nager, a former label executive and marketing pro, about the value of creating a marketing plan and the important distinction between a mission statement and a vision statement. Excerpted from “Marketing Plan For Music Artists: You Must Do This!” this post and video will get you thinking critically about planning your future and visualizing how to get there.
Bobby Borg: Today’s topic is marketing plans. I have a great guest with me, Freddy Nager, he’s a USC adjunct professor who worked at MCA Records and also has his own marketing business.
When people talk to me about marketing, they usually are talking about promotion — you know all the glamorous stuff like fooling the algorithms, getting more attention, and things like that. But the idea is not just to do things, it’s to do the right things that are based on research and insights. So on that note, can you explain a little bit more about why marketing plans are important?
Freddy Nager: A marketing plan is your blueprint. If you want to build a house, you could certainly go ahead and grab your hammer and your nails and your plywood and start whacking away. And maybe, if you’re lucky, you might have a little lean-to shelter when you’re done, but it won’t be what you had in mind when you set out to build a house. So all the little things that you’re talking about are important, being able to fool algorithms and get search engine results, but those are tactical. And sometimes, you don’t even need a certain tactic. For instance, it seems that people impulsively create Facebook pages for whatever product or business they’re launching, but if they were to do the research and analysis, they may learn that Facebook is completely unnecessary for what they want to do and they just wasted a week or more creating and promoting a Facebook page when they should have been at an event. Or maybe the product demo works best if I’m at a conference or a trade show. So, even though it feels like you’re working when you do any marketing, by creating and implementing your marketing plan, you avoid wasting time and you’re not gonna waste money doing things that aren’t going to help you.
Bobby Borg: Another way I like to look at a marketing plan is, it allows you to get the details mapped out. If it’s not on paper, it’s only vapor. Getting all these things laid out helps you to see the intricacy involved and how the pieces of the puzzle fit together.
Freddy Nager: Sure, because there are opportunities at every stage and so many people think of the promotional angle, but that’s only one quarter of all marketing. There may be opportunities in how you create or shape the product, there may be opportunities in a unique pricing model, there may be something in where you decide to sell. So if you don’t put this down on paper, you’re only thinking, “Should I have an Instagram page? How many likes can I get?” And, meanwhile, you’re missing out on golden opportunities. Plus the whole research process leads you to figure out what opportunities there are in the marketplace, what challenges there are, what threats, what hurdles you’ll have to overcome. You will not have known all these details without doing the initial research to figure out, What are my competitors doing? How can I differ from them, or at least be distinctive? Who can I work with in the marketplace? Because, in this day and age, things are complicated and your competition is so formidable, one of the best ways to succeed is by partnering with other people and collaborating with them. Everyone thinks they can go up there fly solo and everything’s gonna work out — not even as planned, because there is no plan. They just jump off the cliff and hope there’s water was underneath them.
So, there are two kinds of statements and most people get them confused. There’s a vision statement and a mission statement, and they’re actually very different, though you’ll see many people use the two words interchangeably.
I like to think of it as: the mission is the why. Why am I doing this? What drives you forward? When you develop your mission statement, imagine you’re an entrepreneur or an executive. What gets you up at 6:00 am on a Monday morning when it’s raining outside and makes you want to leap out of bed and say, “I can’t wait to get started?” That’s the mission. That’s the why. It should be felt deeply and the mission should exist to motivate you and your team.
One of the worst missions in the world, and I see it all the time, is, “our mission is to generate a return for our investors.” Now, that’s an important aspect for a business, but who’s motivated by, “I can’t wait to jump out of bed this morning because my investors need money?” Yes, we have to return money to our investors, but the mission statement should be, this is why I started the business in the first place. It doesn’t have to do with money. There are many ways to make money — you could be a dental hygienist and be set for life. But we started this business, we took this huge entrepreneurial risk. Of all the businesses we could have started, why did we choose this one? That’s the mission. The mission is why.
The vision is where. Where are we going? And take the word “vision” literally. What do you see? If you can see five years into the future, ten years into the future, what do you see? That’s the vision. So, if you start your business and everything succeeds according to plan, where’s your company gonna be? This is a motivational tool that also keeps you on track.
Bobby Borg: I actually start with the vision statement. The way I see it is, when you know where you’re going, it’s easier to map out the directions to get there.
There’s lots more… watch the entire conversation!
Bobby Borg is the author of Music Marketing For The DIY Musician (Second Edition), Business Basics For Musicians (Second Edition), and The Five Star Music Makeover (published by Hal Leonard Books). Get these books at any fine online store in both physical or digital format. Learn more at www.bobbyborg.com.
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