You know the old saying, if you can beat them, join them? That’s what Iron Maiden did.
I just read an article by Greg Morcroft, published in the international business Times, about how heavy metal rock band Iron Maiden used data from two United Kingdom firms, Growth Intelligence and MusicMetric, to identify where their music was being pirated the most.
Iron Maiden could have used this information just like Metallica did, and go after the pirates using bit torrents to download their music illegally. Instead, they looked at this information as marketing data, and an insight into their target market.
They found out that most of the pirates were in South America, so they planned a world tour and targeted the cities that were heavily downloading their music for free. The result? Massive sellout crowds. The São Paulo show grossed over $2.5 million dollars alone.
Think about it. The music is the free content that pulls people in. The show is where the real money is made. In the music industry, the majority of the money is always made on the tours.
It was a smart move for Iron Maiden to use the data that flags hackers and pirates of their music as a marketing tool. Instead of spending money to sue individuals across the globe, they took a note out of the playbook of the Grateful Dead. As more people have access to their music, the more engaged those fans will become, and when presented with an opportunity to buy, such as attending a live show, they will eagerly jump at the chance.
In the online Internet Marketing world, this is known as “pushing the free line” and back ending with “Merch.”
In your business, think about the ways you can give away free information that is of value to your consumers. The more they engage with you, and engage with your content, in whatever form it takes, the more mindshare you develop. As you become the number one source for whatever it is you do in the minds of your consumers, you can expect a healthy return on your investment. Just like the Grateful Dead, and now just like Iron Maiden.
photo credit: stratman2 (2 many pix!) via photopin cc