Most of my friends know that I have an unhealthy obsession with cover songs. You know what a cover song is right? It’s just a new take on an old song. A pepped up version of a classic like The Ataris cover of Don Henley’s “The Boys of Summer” gives you a great appreciation for the original while allowing you to rock out like a madman. While sometimes slowing a song down and changing the mood like the Johnny Cash cover of “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails can take lyrics to a whole new level.
The best cover songs do something to pay homage to the original, but also bring something new and original to the table that makes you want to listen over and over again. An example of a cover that didn’t do that is Gloria Estefan’s version of “Turn the Beat Around” which sounds almost exactly the same as the original by Vicki Sue Robinson. Not to harp on the Miami Sound Machine too much, but they didn’t put their own stamp on the song, which made it a remake (not a cover) and not special in any way.
The concept of marketing is nearly the same thing as playing music. Many people play music, few people write music, even fewer do it well. Chances are that your marketing strategy is not a completely original work. You didn’t invent the coupon, the brochure, the e-newsletter, the BOGO sale or the Labor Day Tent Event, but that’s okay. The thing you’ve got to ask yourself is “what am I bringing to the table that’s different from everyone who has done this before?” Here are a few oldies but goodies and a couple of ideas that might change the way you hear the tune.
“Manic Monday” by The Bangles (covered by Relient K)
Your one day sale feeds on the scarcity principle, meaning that people want to buy before the great deal goes away. A one-day “customer appreciation” event can do even more. Combine great sale prices with a giveaway or two (free hot dogs, drawings for a gift certificate, or a web-based scavenger hunt) and the needle will jump a bit more than when you have the run-of-the-mill clearance sale.
“Talk Dirty to Me” by Poison (covered by Reel Big Fish)
Alright let’s not get too graphic. Is your business casual? Do you wear sweat suits to work? Do you want your organization to be seen as a team of actual humans? Then why does your Facebook post or Tweet trying to sound like a big corporation is talking at the masses? Try this next time you’re going to shoot out the social media. Write the post as you would speak to your best friend and use your real name within the post. Here’s an example.
Calculator City’s Facebook Post:
We hear that there’s still a few kids out there using a slide rule! This is Mat from Calc City, we’ve got an amazing deal on the Canon TX-220 (Over 60% off). Click the link to learn more… or don’t, and continue using your abacus.
“Walk This Way” by Aerosmith (covered by Run DMC and Aerosmith)
Yes, this is kind of like covering yourself, but Run DMC brought the funk that Steven Tyler sorely lacked. So what’s a tried and true marketing strategy that you’ve used often? Do you pick up sales at trade shows or utilize a ton of print or web advertising? Jot down your best one or two pieces of “go-to” marketing and then ask a colleague, friend or even your kids what they would do to spice it up. Let them put on their “Run DMC funk hat” and see what kind of new angle they can bring to light. Maybe the answer is a Plinko game at your trade show booth or a new and different photo and tagline for your ad.
Any amount of time and money spent on marketing keys on receiving a return on your investment. So when you’re organization is about to play the next marketing tune, you better ask yourself if this is going to sound exactly like Gloria Estefan (sounding like Vicki Sue Robinson) or will it break the mold and blow the minds of consumers like the band Quietdrive did with their recent cover of Toto’s “Africa.”