If you’re like me, you’ve probably listened to Taylor Swift’s new album, “Folklore,” more times than you’d like to admit. Maybe ~seven~ to be exact?
A marvel in the music industry, the release of her new album — announced less than 16 hours before its debut — took Swifties (and the internet desperately in need of escape) by storm. Her loyal fans turned to social media, drawn to new narratives that speak to the soul with a pinch of sass along the way.
Taylor Swift engages her following and keeps them coming back for more. How does she do it? Below are five key lessons marketers can learn from the unexpected release of Swift’s new album.
- Find your window of opportunity: It’s no secret COVID-19 has altered entertainment we often take for granted. However, TSwift took the opportunity to provide a sense of comfort and normalcy to her devoted audience. And, she communicated her announcement with full vulnerability.
- It’s all in the details: Joe Jonas, Kanye West, Taylor Lautner. Known for hiding “Easter eggs” in her lyrics, she sent fans on an immediate quest to uncover clues. Who is the last great american dynasty about? Who is betty? What does this all mean? From the album cover to merchandise available to the lyrics themselves, Taylor Swift knew exactly what her listeners needed — and she delivered — down to the most minute detail. Common marketing tactics such as Instagram Live and product launches help build suspense, but leaning into Taylor’s lessons of leveraging the element of surprise can help — for the right announcement.
- Leave ripple effects: Swifties don’t stop analyzing every single lyric once they’ve completed a thorough review. The hidden meanings behind her songs leave fans pondering every word and create conversations long after the album release. Marketers should strive for a similar level of satisfaction, and mystery, among their target audiences.
- Know your audience: Millennials have grown up listening to Taylor Swift (ahem, “Teardrops on My Guitar”), but Gen Zers have been brought into the mix with crafty tactics. One to note from Taylor’s new album is the use of all lowercase text, a trend many marketers are witnessing in brands that appeal to younger audiences. Additionally, her lyrics are more explicit and encompassing, highlighting issues she once shied away from. Swift is well aware of how her audiences read and absorb content — an epiphany, if you ask me.
- Choose the best platform: Gone are the days of multiple announcements on every media outlet known. To reach the core audience, marketers and creatives initiate a buzz through targeted platforms and word of mouth versus a generic radio ad or magazine article. Swift is no stranger to this concept as her last three albums have been announced through storytelling on platforms such as Twitter and Instagram.
No matter your favorite album, lyric or genre, Taylor Swift has stood the test of time because she always delivers the unexpected. And, as marketers, we need to understand that finding ways to keep audiences' ears to the ground and coming back for more is the only way to keep them engaged, time and time again.