Katy Perry is pretty shrewd when it comes to social media. Last week prior to the release of her new movie, she offered invitations for her Twitter followers to see her movie in advance (the fans still had to pay admission). What I love about this is how fundamentally sound this promotion is. It’s a reminder that social media is a different tool set, but the rules of promotion and marketing remain the same.
Let’s be honest about Katy Perry. She doesn’t have a particularly great voice and her material while catchy isn’t groundbreaking. She is an attractive girl that sings about sex (albeit most of the time less provocatively than other pop singers). Adele she is not.
Talent notwithstanding, she is a tremendously well-marketed artist. Boasting 22.6 million Twitter followers, 44.7 million Facebook Likes, and in over 10,000 circles on Google Plus (ouch) – she has fostered a huge following and does a good job to engage in social platforms. Particularly Twitter.
So what can we learn from Katy Perry’s movie promotion:
#1 – It costs less to keep a customer than to gain a new one. For the most part Katy Perry is catering to her audience (I say for the most part because oddly her movie is advertised on the Nickelodeon network, which has provoked my daughter to ask if we can go). On the scale that Katy Perry needs to publicize a movie or album a network of millions on Twitter is pretty darn helpful, but advocate customers are golden for a small business as well. If you think about it, doing something special to make people who already like you LOVE you is sound business.
#2 – Freebies should have perceived value. I don’t mean to hurt anybody’s sensibilities by saying this, but the number of horrible e-books that I’ve been offered on people’s websites is a tad obscene. I know that people put time and effort into it, but the inherent value isn’t there for me as a casual reader. If you think about the incredible insight that Hubspot, SEOMoz or Michael Stelzner have been able to share in their free content, the common denominator is that they understand their audience and give them information that is extraordinarily helpful. Same thing with Katy Perry – if you’re a fan you want to see that movie before anyone else. There is immediate gratification in that, there is status in that, and there is novelty aspect that. Another free e-book that references a bevy of Mashable articles – not so much.
#3 – Supply and demand. Katy Perry’s movie advance played in 100 venues, with probably 150 seats, two showings, each fan buying two tickets. That’s 15,000 fans that could have seen the movie ahead of time. If Katy Perry got just the average amount of engagement on her posts around this promotion (1%), the demand for those tickets would be 220,000 fans (and my guess it was far more). The scarcity of tickets serves to reinforce the demand – as Robert Cialdini noted in Influence once someone has written something down they are more committed to it. Presume a tweet would serve the same purpose.
I just read an article projecting that the Katy Perry movie will recover all of its costs in its opening weekend. That means that every dollar the movie makes from Monday forward will be profit. It’s hard to argue against the marketing of a product when it’s in the black in five days. And there’s no reason that any business couldn’t emulate Katy Perry’s marketing success so long as they understand what their audience wants and has a means to communicate with them.
That Katy Perry has 22 million Twitter followers isn’t why she’s successful. She’s successful because she’s giving those 22 million Twitter followers what they want.