Last week I finally went to my first Dave Matthew’s Band (DMB) concert. I’ve been a big fan of this group for the longest time – in fact, the first time I heard them was about 18 years ago when I was traveling through South Africa and their 2 big hits “Satellite” and “Crash” were getting some serious air time over there.
Its pretty shocking that its taken me 18 years to get my rear in gear and hear them live. Especially since I love going to hear live music.
It was worth the wait. The concert was excellent, but of even greater value to me was the big marketing lesson I saw unfold before me.
To date, The Dave Matthews Band is only the second band in U.S. history to have 5 consecutive #1 songs (Metallica holds the lead position). They sell out the world’s biggest arenas on a regular basis and according to one source grossed more revenue between 2002-2009 than any other band in America.
Not too shabby for a group of musicians who started out in a sweat, smoke and grime filled pub in Charlotte, VA.
But from the very beginning, Dave and his guys set about building their band, their brand and their business their own way.
Instead of trying to chase down a recording contract in the hopes of building a fan base – they built a fan base first. Pretty genius. They toured college campuses and gave away copies of their music for free. Word quickly spread and an extremely loyal fan base sprung from grassroots.
Today DMB fans are some of the most passionate, quirky and fiercely loyal fans on the planet. They regularly crash servers flooding to buy pre-release tickets and campout 24, 48, and 72 hours outside venues the band plays at.
I got to see some of this first hand at the concert.
A couple rows in front of me there was a guy wearing a make shift psychedelic headband and a home made t-shirt that proudly said DMB – My 100th Concert!
I saw a LOT of DMB tattoos on arms, legs and backs (including an extremely impressive almost full body tattoo with a picture of each band member and all their album artwork). And the line up outside the concert merchandise store had at least 100 people waiting to drop $200, $300 even $1000 on limited edition band merchandise.
Developing this kind of rabid and fiercely loyal customer base is the holy grail of marketing for ANY company.
DMB fans will devour anything and everything the band puts out.
Their revenue is only limited by their capacity to produce. They have a guaranteed market for a product even before its created.
How many companies can say the same?
So how have Dave and his guys managed to get to this supreme position?
By ardently following a few criticalmarketing rules which can be replicated by anyone.
1.) They refused to hide behind their brand and kept their personalities at the forefront of their marketing and communication with their fans. This is known as Personality Infused Marketing™ - one of the most powerful ways to build both a memorable brand and a base of raving fans in record time (covered in more detail in my Client Stampede Ultimate Marketing Toolkit).
2.) They haven’t reduced their marketing. After enjoying 15 years of sold out arenas and chart topping success, many people in their shoes would be tempted to pull back on their marketing, the number of concerts performed, the number of public appearances given because they’d “made it”. Not DMB. Despite being one of the most successful bands of all time they have never taken the foot off their “marketing gas”. If anything, they’ve actually increased it.
3.) They constantly innovate – they’re experimenting with different “looks”, different sounds, different marketing methods to reach their fans. DMB was one of the first bands to start using social media. They were also one of the first bands to introduce a customer “loyalty program” and today are one of the few bands smart enough to use direct mail to reach their most ardent fans.
Building a customer base of raving fans is the holy grail for your business – and is much easier to achieve that you might think. But it does require you going against the grain and doing those things that your competitors aren’t prepared to do!