Professional vs. Personal Marketing

BEYONCE AND TAYLOR SWIFT.

These two women epitomize the era of an entertainer being a brand.

But they also show the stark contrast between  Professional Marketing and Personal Marketing.

Here’s what we mean…

PROFESSIONAL MARKETING KEEPS ITS DISTANCE

Professional marketers have a distance between them and the audience. For a consumer brand, this would mean their target audience. For an entertainer, it means that the 4th wall — the imaginary wall between the stage and the audience — is firmly in place.

Professional brands read about their audiences in reports. If they do see them, then it is behind a one-way focus group glass. Entertainers may sign a few autographs, but the adoring fans are always behind the ropes. You make get a backstage pass, but this is a mediated experience.

In fact, mediated experiences are the hallmark of the Professional Marketer.

They love being in the media. The Professional Brands look forward to their Superbowl ads or having a video go viral. They like their media plans. Engagement metrics. And they are giddy about Programmatic. Why? Because they like the data. It’s cleaner. It’s easier.

PERSONAL MARKETING KNOWS ITS FANS

Personal marketers know their fans. By name. They invite them over to their home for a concert. They talk to them on social media. They have rituals with them that they share. They give them extras in their music, their lives and their attention. Yes, Personal Marketing is about returning attention to the audience.

There is a reciprocal relationship.

Back in the day (yes, I just used that phrase), the shopkeeper would know their customers personally. They would buy a new dress for Laura when they went to the city because they knew she was having a birthday and that Ma and Pa Ingalls would be in to buy one.

But now business is at scale. And you cannot know the wants and needs of everyone. So, we opt to not know anyone. Not the Personal Marketer. They insist on knowing as many customers and fans as they can. If it were realistic to meet them all, then they would.

They design amazing experiences for all of them. Taylor Swift’s last concert included a different surprise musical guest in each city. Because she knew that everyone was filming the concerts and posting them to YouTube. How did she know this? Because she knows her fans.

Yes, she also took Spotify away from them. And gave them extra content in her Target CD. And she shows up on every talk show. And radio show. And Times Square. She works tirelessly. For her fans.

That’s what Personal Marketers do. It is personal to them. It is who they are. It is what they do.

IN EVERY PRODUCT CATEGORY FROM POP MUSIC TO CANS OF POP TO MOM AND POP STORES, YOU CAN FIND PERSONAL MARKETERS. AND YOU KNOW WHAT? THIS IS THEIR TIME.

THE ERA OF THE PERSONAL MARKETER HAS RETURNED

Technology allows connection at scale. Transportation allows you to travel the globe in a day. Talent allows us to create what we used to only imagine.

But it will take those who insist on making it matter. On being available. On being known by their customers – and knowing them in return. An exchange of attention. The way great business men and women have always done. They are doing it again.

And this race, I’m afraid is to the Swift.

My prediction? One personal marketer in the form of Taylor Swift will eclipse two professional marketers in the form of Mr. & Mrs. Carter within the next 12 months.

This post originally ran on LinkedIn.