Level 42 Don’t Dream Crazy

Mark King, Mr Thunderthumbs, back in the old days

I’m a massive Level 42 fan. Have been for years. One of the reasons I started playing bass is Mark King. Mr Thunderthumbs’ thumpingly funky bass lines were a constant companion in my head during my teens.

Level 42 are playing in Stockholm this week and, even though I’ve not managed to persuade anyone else at Jontus Media Towers to come along, I’ll be there grooving along to those famous basslines.

The band are playing all the tracks from their 1987 album Running in the Family; yes, it’s a twenty-five year anniversary celebration.

Apart from the fact I can’t believe the last twenty-five years have zipped by as quickly as you could say “The Pursuit of Accidents” – my favourite Level 42 albumn – there’s a marketing message in what the band from the Isle of Wight are doing.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

After the buzz of popularity began to wane for Mark King and Co, the best bassist to come out of the UK headed for home and started putting out solo stuff. Pretty quickly though Level 42 compiliations took over: live shows, best ofs, more live shows and a bit of new material. Nevertheless, it’s very clear that what’s sustained Mark King and his thumping basslines over the last two and a half decades is the quality of material produced in the 80s.

Essentially, Mark, Boon, Phil and Mike (along with silent member Wally Badarou) and then various new members created a winning communicative message that resonated with their audience.

They came up with something that simply worked.

The Link to Marketing, not Mark King !

Mark Schaefer and I recently discussed where blogging is going. We could have done the same with Facebook. Or Twitter. Or any online marketing channel really. Now although those of us who work with digital marketing and communications need to address these issues regularly, sometimes constantly looking for the new can detract what we could be doing in the now; utilizing the tools, strategies and mindset that we’ve already put in place.

Yes, I know there’s a risk in staying still. I’m not that naive. As companies we have to evolve over time; you can see that in the way Level 42 have developed new business models, largely built around their online brand, social media connections and gigging whereas once they had a record company to promote them across mainstream media.

Still, there are things we can take away from building something that works and, with minor tweaking along the way, sticking to it.


    Yes, keep up to date with new marketing strategies and techniques
  • See the value in the strategies and tools that you’re already using
  • Recognize that the communications and messages that you’ve put out in the past may well still resonate with an audience.

Just as Level 42 would know that it’s time to “Take a Look” at their own strategy should there be noone and China Teatern in Stockholm this week except me, you too will know when it’s time to do different.

In the meantime, stick to your own kind of music, marketing, and communications – if it’s working.