What David Bowie Can Teach You About Online Marketing

2013-1-7-david_bowie_thin_white_duke-533x363I was excited by the news last Wednesday that the Thin White Duke, David Bowie, had decided to strut his stuff all the way back to planet earth in a rock & roll rocket ship, powered with a hefty dollop of stardust.

The news of a new Bowie single and album was massive.

Everywhere I looked there was Bowie. All the Swedish press were covering it. It was all over Twitter. I saw it was in the British, American and Norwegian press too. Fans were quick to celebrate and even the reviews were positive.

Not bad for a musician who hasn’t released anything in ten years.

My favourite comment on Bowie’s comeback came from British TV host and big time Bowie fan, Jonathan Ross:

“In an age when we can follow our heroes’ every thought or whim on any social network … to maintain complete radio silence for 10 years immediately puts you ahead of the pack, creating a hunger, a desire, a need for information that we can barely tolerate” (The Guardian).

You Can’t Beat a Platform

Now of course I doubt anyone would be that bothered if I didn’t release another podcast for ten years or publish a blog post. Business folks like me don’t inspire global adoration. Unfortunately that’s even something that doesn’t even occur in my wildest dreams.

The return of Bowie did remind me, though, just how important it is to have a platform. Having built all those relationships with the commitment, talent and no doubt bloody-mindedness it takes to succeed for thirty years and more in the music industry, no wonder his return was greeted with such pleasure.

Do a Bowie

Along with the marketing, analytics, strategy and actually doing the work you do, I think the import takeaway from this is that we shouldn’t undermine the importance of building a platform, striving to develop a tribe of supporters.

Twitter is a great way to build connections. I’ve noticed that anytime I’m away when I get back many of my tribe are happy to promote my posts and share ideas, just as I am if they take some down time. In many ways, this is the place I’ve invested in when it comes to building one of my most important business platforms. The other is my podcast, which drives conversations and has led to new friendships with others in the online marketing industry; again, these friends have been instrumental in raising my company profile when I’ve had to shift resources away from content marketing and social media engagement.

As businesses, and specifically small businesses, resources are tight: building a digital platform that supports your tribe is not easy because it takes time and nurture.

What are you doing to build a platform or a tribe?