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Marketing Like Taylor Swift: Six Tactics from the Eras Tour

It hasn’t been a cruel summer for the Swifties. Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour generated 5 billion dollars in consumer spending. I was lucky enough to attend her concert in Denver, and as I walked into Mile High Stadium, it dawned on me that marketing lessons abound from all the glittery outfits, love songs, and heart makeup.

Here are six marketing tactics that start-ups can learn from the Eras Tour:

1. Offer exclusive items

People will go through hoops for exclusive items. I waited over two hours in the merchandise line for the coveted blue crewneck, which can only be purchased in person at her concert, and it was sold out when I got up to the front. This wasn’t an anomaly either; this same piece of clothing sold out after the official merch stands opened early at Levi's Stadium ahead of the weekend shows.

Put exclusive items into action by hiring a great designer or partnering with a trendy merchant for a special item associated with a launch or event. Only buy limited quantities to generate a need and buzz.

2. Follow organic community trends

Recreating the wheel is unnecessary when you can just hop on it. Fans seek ways to share their love–cue the friendship bracelets takeover. While I was in Denver, people traded bracelets downtown on the street with strangers; you didn’t even need to be at the concert itself. While there’s one song lyric about friendship bracelets, no one told Switifies to dive into 90s-inspired accessories, let alone trade them with strangers on the street miles away from the stadium.

Community Trend: Eras Tour Friendship bracelets

If you see your community posting about an activity they do with your service/product or use case, create an official brand activity doing the same action.

3. Listen to your fans

Due to a high demand on Ticketmaster, Taylor Swift added more tour dates. Moreover, after her opening number, she acknowledged all the loopholes and stress fans endured to find a ticket.

If your followers/fans complain on social media or write public reviews, start mapping and segmenting to fix the problem. Your marketing team can use tools or hire a contractor (hi, I’m the problem solver, it’s me) to organize sentiment and deliver a comprehensive report with a solution–which likely happened to Taylor Swift.

4. Leave Easter Eggs

Before a major announcement, share some clues. Taylor Swift is known for leaving Easter eggs in her music and videos, and she did the same with the Eras Tour. For example, Taylor’s team crafted a cryptic message about the 1989 era on her website. This kept fans engaged and excited about the tour and helped build anticipation for them correctly predicting 1989’s recording release. Additionally, Taylor Swift hid Easter eggs in her setlists and stage designs. This made fans feel like they were part of a secret club, creating excitement and anticipation.

To put teaser content in action, post content on social media with minimal context and let the engagement run rampant.

5. Lean into side events during the main event

The truth is very few people could purchase tickets to the Eras Tour. 31 million people registered, and only 2.4 million tickets were sold. The same applies to other events like SXSW, EthCC, Mobile World Congress, Web Summit, etc. Many tech events are exclusive or have a high ticket cost–yet people still show up to the host cities, even if they can’t get a ticket, because that’s where their community is. Likewise, for the concert, many bars hosted Taylor Swift album listening parties with drink specials inspired by songs, stores hosted friendship bracelet-making gatherings, and downtown areas hosted spaces where fans could convene with local vendors ready to supply with goodies.

Host a side event to engage and build your community if your start-up can’t afford a booth space or many employee tickets to attend a main event. And if overwhelmed by the thought of event planning, contact wyldmynd; they know how to build experiences that foster connection in tech communities.

6. Spread out the social love

There are phases for any campaign or tour, and each can be distributed as a piece of content. For the Eras Tour, people had get-ready-with-me videos, outfit reveals, setlist guesses, numerous Instagram stories from the concert, and a TikTok or Instagram photo carousel days after.

Taylor Swift Example: Spreading out social posts
~A few screenshots of my weekend posts~

Quality activations are rich with content. In practice, start-ups can spread out a campaign or announcement with user-generated content, press mentions, founder/c-level messages, infographics, and memes. Gone are the days of one-and-done and don’t just dump; each social platform has its specific algorithm and audience.

Every startup has early followers who already sing its praises. Apply Eras Tour techniques for user-generated content, increase loyalty, connect with your community, and build brand awareness.


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