What do CEOS, market makers and Lady Gaga all have in common? The wisdom to know that to get ahead, or stand out, you need to drop any instincts of being reactive in favor of innovation.
In the world of technology, that means getting creative about how you use the network. Not just to keep business humming, but to create experiences. Take Lady Gaga, for instance. As Forbes reported this past week—and the New York Times reported recently—Lady Gaga is using the network to create a seamless and compelling experience for her fan base from online to offline, wherever they are. In fact, as Lisa Arthur reports in Forbes, “ Lady Gaga was the first artist to reach 1 billion views on YouTube. She has about 35 million Facebook fans. And, most recently, she made headlines as the first Twitter user ever to reach 10 million followers.” And the impact? According to Arthur’s article, Gaga sold 1,108,000 copies of her latest album in the US in its first week; 60 percent of those first week sales were digital downloads.
When you consider, as I mentioned in a recent blog, that the number of devices connecting to the Internet will climb to 25 billion by 2015, that’s a lot of potential fans or customers.
In TechCrunch, Andrew Keen reported that Suzanne Vega is also an avid believer in the power of the network. “She is a big fan of Twitter and particularly Facebook where she goes ‘eight or nine times a day.’” Keen’s article quotes Vega as saying, “The audience is the most important thing,” as she explained the new reality of the business, telling young musicians that it’s much more important to build a loyal following than get a record deal.
Jeri Jones from the band Blame Sally agrees. “If you’re smart about how you use technology, you can get a whole lot further today than in the predigital era,” she says. According to Jones, Blame Sally has cultivated an international following that spans Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, MySpace, and of course the band’s website. “I think our fans would say that we’re pretty accessible, and that’s in large part due to the sense of community we try to create with our online presence.”
In other words, whether you’re a retailer, a band, or any other kind of business, if you’re not focused on establishing an online experience for your customers—one that makes them feel like they’re involved with the brand (or the band), you’re missing a huge opportunity.
As Troy Carter, Gaga’s business manager said in the New York Times, “In order to continue the growth we have to go back to embracing technology and the way that people choose to consume music.”
I can’t think of a better note to end on.