Jackie Huba

How to think like a rock star

Collier_cvr_alt-200x300Mack Collier is a social media strategist, trainer, and speaker who specializes in helping companies better connect with their customers and cultivate fans for their brands. His brand new book, “Think Like a Rock Star,” examines the marketing and social media strategies of actual rock stars like Taylor Swift, Johnny Cash, Jewel, Amanda Palmer and others and shares how any company can learn from them to create emotional connections with customers. Here’s a Q&A I did with Mack about the book: 

Q. What does it mean to ‘”Think Like a Rock Star?”
A. If you look at any number of studies and surveys designed to assess the top marketing goals for most companies, ‘Acquire New Customers’ is usually the top priority. This is where most companies spend the majority of their marketing dollars, and expanding the customer base is what they focus most of their efforts on.

The difference with rock stars is that they focus on connecting with their fans.  And not just their fans, but they purposely seek out their biggest and most passionate fans, and look for ways to create amazing experiences for them, and to create deeper connections with them. Of course you know this from studying how Lady Gaga has created a special bond with her Little Monsters (I have already pre-ordered Monster Loyalty, can’t wait to read it!).

The rock stars’ approach is so interesting because they are connecting with their biggest fan with the understanding that those fans will acquire new customers for them. They aren’t spending millions on crappy marketing designed to get the attention of people (new customers) that have little to no affinity for them. Instead rock stars understand that their ability to acquire new customers tomorrow depends on how they delight their existing fans today.

Q. What was the biggest surprise in writing this book?
A. Really the main reason why I wanted to write this book was to learn how rock stars can so easily create and cultivate fans, so that companies could then apply that same process, and more easily cultivate fans themselves. I assumed there was some “secret sauce” and a “trick” that rock stars did that simply made it easier for them to cultivate fans.

Instead, I learned that rock stars relentless communicate two very important messages to their fans:  1 – “I appreciate you”  2 – “I love you”.  That’s it. And as a result, their biggest fans appreciate them and love them right back. Rock stars also thrive off connecting with their most passionate customers, whereas most companies want to keep their customers at arm’s length. Rock stars look for ways to embrace their fans, and that makes it much easier for their fans to trust them, which makes it easier for their fans to advocate on the rock star’s behalf.

Q. And that makes it easier for fans to buy from that rock star right?
A. Exactly. I think most companies strive to have a transactional relationship with their customers. They want to create a product, and sell it to their customers. That’s it. I think most rock stars want to have an emotional relationship with their fans. As Kathy Sierra said in the foreword of the book, rock stars want to make their fans better. They honestly do love their fans, and they want that emotional relationship with their fans, because they understand that it will lead to sales. Rock stars understand that customers buy from brands that they love and trust. And they tell others to buy from that brand as well. It doesn’t matter if that brand is a company or a rock star.

Rock stars have always understand the value of connecting directly with their customers, whereas thanks to new social media tools, companies are having to learn these lessons the hard way. The future of successful marketing lies with the companies that learn to speak in the same voice as their customer. Think Like a Rock Star was written to help companies get to that place where they not only understand their customers, but actually cultivate fans that love them.

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