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November 17, 2012
The making of a word of mouth-worthy keynote: WOMMA Summit 2012
"Give them something to talk about."
That's one of the lessons from Lady Gaga that I shared in my keynote, based on my upcoming book Monster Loyalty: How Lady Gaga Turns Followers Into Fanatics (formerly Monster Business) (May 2013), at the WOMMA Summit earlier this week in Las Vegas. It's also something I tried to apply to my keynote. And that is how this happened:
After I spoke about Gaga's strategy of focusing on just 1% of her fans --the diehard superfans -- to engender passionate loyalty, and shared the six lessons of how she engages them, Gaga herself took the stage to perform a few numbers. Ok, it wasn't really Gaga, but it was the next best thing. It was Derrick Barry, female impersonator extraordinaire. Derrick has been a Top 40 finalist on America's Got Talent for his Britney Spears impersonation, but he also does an amazing Gaga. I heard later that some people thought, impossibly, that Gaga herself might actualy be there because of the "special entertainment" tease in the session description and because WOMMA President Suzanne Fanning told the audience earlier in the day that "the session will be talked about for years." And other attendees told me that they had no idea that our Gaga was a man, until I introduced him at the end of the performance as "Mr. Derrick Barry."
I am a huge fan of RuPaul's Drag Race and to have a drag queen/female impersonator of Derrick's level be part of one of my keynotes was amazing. Thanks to Brad Fay of the Keller Fay Group for challenging me to make this talk one of the most talked about I have ever done and brainstorming this idea. And thanks to Virginia Miracle and Jim Rudden of Spredfast, who sponsored the talk, and helped make this whole thing happen. Thanks to Suzanne and the WOMMA staff for supporting the idea.
Gaga is one of the best word-of-mouth marketers I have ever seen. She gives her Little Monsters and the rest of us lots to talk about. I have been so inspired by Gaga's creativity and risk-taking in all of her endeavors. Examples in my upcoming book of how she has gotten people talking include:
- The meat dress that she wore to 2010 MTV Video Music Wards to draw attention to the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell,"
- The egg-shaped "vessel" that an alien-looking Gaga emerged from at the 2011 Grammy Awards show to draw attention to her new song and album, Born This Way. The performance was meant to symbolize the birth of a new race of people who are free of predujice and judgement.
- Her perfume, Fame, that she insisted had to be different from anything in the market. She pushed Coty, the fragrance manufacturer, to invent a new technology that would allow the perfume to be black in the bottle but spray on clear.
So the lesson here is to look at everything you do in your business, from the product to the marketing to the customer service, and push yourself to make it word of mouth-worthy. Make sure you are giving your best customers lots of reasons to talk about you to others. After all, they are your best sales force.
BONUS: See more pictures of the keynote and Derrick on the WOMMA Facebook page.Tweet
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It was an outstanding keynote address Jackie. Thanks for sharing your lessons from Lady Gaga with WOMMA Summit attendees. You added to the buzz of the conference at a very high level.
Thanks Rod for the kind comments. And thanks for being a good sport and telling your "rock star" story to the audience.
Great post! I've been talking about how the best artists were also the greatest marketers for years! Lady G is definitely a marketing genius. The Madonna for the 2000's. What do you think was a better marketing stunt:
Madonna getting together with Dennis Rodman
Lady Gaga's "Meat Dress"