Seth Godin’s Wrong About The Beatles (Or The Importance Of Shutting Up)
I'm a Seth Godin fan. He's right 99% of the time. But his latest post about the Beatles is completely off base.
Now I wasn't around when the Beatles were born (I didn't my make my planetary appearance till 1967) and my parents weren't huge Beatles fans. They were Motown fans (except my dad hated Smokey Robinson because "he sounds like a girl.") and those are the records I heard growing up. So my view comes not from first hand experience but just from what I've read about them.
Now here's where I have a problem with Seth's analysis, and it's the heart of the post.
The next stage was brief but essential. That's when people started noticing them, started showing up, started screaming. At this moment, the Beatles didn't stop marketing. They didn't stop doing radio shows at the BBC or flying all night to play a concert in Denver (empty seats) or Kansas. During the transition stage, in fact, the Beatles and their management really poured it on.
If you plan on using this strategy today you will die.
It's the strategy of N'Sync.
Contrary to what some marketers think, times really do change. Unlike when the Beatles came to existence you are famous faster and there are wwaayy too many media outlets to control.
If you have, say, a song, that is getting traction, here's what happens.
It's not just on the radio.
Today the video is on MTV and the hundreds of other other video places.
Your song is on the internet being traded around freely.
Thousands of fans on thousands of blogs are calling you the next big thing.
Magazines are talking about you and placing you on their cover.
TV Shows are screaming for interviews.
Now Seth says that now is the time too keep marketing harder than ever.
Now is really the time to shut up.
Because if you keep talking. Keep marketing. Putting your face on lunch boxes, and appearing on whatever show that will book you. You will fade out faster than 98 Degrees.
You have to get scarce.
At some point you have to let the audience run things.
Now there are myriads of examples of folks who, when they started to get traction, pushed even harder and saw their chances of getting into the Rock&Roll Hall of Fame fade.
If you have a good product and folks are saying good things about you and you want to be around longer than 15 minutes then maybe you should consider shutting up.
The shut up strategy is for those who want to last a while.
Why is Prince still famous? Because when he got traction in the 1980's he shut the fuck up. He was scarce. Fans were eager and still are, just to hear him speak. They crave any information they can get their hands on.
Look at Apple (the computer company). They don't put out press releases everyday and talk about what's coming up all the time.
Being quiet is their marketing strategy.
In fact, that's when the Beatles really became the Beatles. It was when, after they got famous, they shut the fuck up and stop doing interviews and became scarce.
That's when the fans started craving for more information.
That's when the songs became, to the audience, more important.
And that's when they became the Beatles.
Before that they were just Seth generation's N'Sync.
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