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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Social Marketing Lessons from Neil Young

In truly one of the more bizarre impacts that Neil Young has made upon the world, here's a rather beguiling item.

From Social Marketing for Celebrities: Five Lessons from Neil Young by Andrew Cherwenka:
"He isn’t on Twitter, he has no official Facebook fan page, and his website is a Flash disaster stuck in the ‘90s. So what can Neil Young teach celebrities today about social marketing?

Canada’s legendary mutton-chopped musician was leveraging 5 key principles of social marketing decades before the internet came to be."

So yes, you too, can be a social networking genius just like Neil!

In only 5 easy steps!!! Who knew???

Obviously, we here @ TW have no clue with our twitterin', bloggin', friendin', fannin', followin', streamin', web 3.0, cross platform multi aggregatin', RSS feedster embeddin' crowd-sourcin' mashin' upin' thing goin' on.

We're just so helpless...

In the meantime -- since we can't all be cool social networking celebrities like Neil -- just be a nerdy geek and re-tweet this tweet, that's getting re-tweeted around the blogosphere. (Click that little green box in the footer below! Now.)

Thanks Chris for the RT!


At 9/15/2009 05:10:00 PM, Anonymous Mother Nature on the Run said...

I don't think Neil Young happened without consequence. And neither can you market or copy something like his career. He is an anomaly. A black swan. It's like he got stuck in a black hole and it spit him back out.

This is where he landed. On our planet.

At 9/15/2009 05:11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey thrasher - here's a cool song by Roman Candle - with a cool Neil Young reference (in an off-hand sort of way...) gotta have a sense of humor.

At 9/15/2009 05:20:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...


Lucky us!

At 9/15/2009 05:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Social market all you want, but I don't think it is possible to make a living from it. NY sold a bunch of recordings and invested well. The social marketing comes later.

At 9/15/2009 11:35:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil is an enigma and has many contradictions ... on one hand I think his greatest marketing strength is that he's in some ways indifferent to the reaction of his fan base ... in other words, he's making the music and the scene that he wants for himself whom ever wants to show up can show up ... its pull marketing vs. push marketing, its organic rather than synthetic and so that type of marketing is hard to replicate, its hard to premeditate that. Also, he happened to be an archive junky from the beginning but I doubt it was motivated by a marketing agenda ... nor do I think the first, second, or third motivation for the archives is driven by a marketing or commercial motivation. Yes he and his team have mouths to feed and bills to pay but I don't think he funded the archives project for 20 years because its a good marketing ... also, the Bridge School and Farm Aide benefits are great marketing but I also think they are happenstance for him ... they are another expression of his beliefs and they, after the fact, make for good marketing ... the same goes for his association with Pearl Jam in the 90s ... on the other hand, his ditch trilogy would at first blush seem to be the antithesis of good marketing and he's gone through more than a few phases that left some fans (maybe the 4%ers?) feeling left out in the cold.

If I had to summarize the marketing lesson that most strikes me about Neil its: Be Authentic and ironically I think that message contradicts conventional marketing wisdom ...

At 9/16/2009 09:41:00 AM, Blogger Tweck9 said...

Flash disaster stuck in the '90's?? First of all, Flash has been widely in use on musicians websites WAY into the 2000's (it is a relatively cheap and incredibly functional and versatile technology) and Neil's website both looks and functions really well.

Just because he's not using MooTools or some newfangled Javascript Interface doesn't mean he's stuck in the 90's.

And in order to be a "disaster", it should be nonfunctional or slow to load, or something, but it works beautifully and has perfectly acceptable load times.

The only problem with it that a web designer might have a problem with is the mystery meat navigation, but that's half the fun! Mousing over parts of the car to try to find all the tidbits.

So blah on this person who says it's a "flash disaster stuck in the 90's". That is not true in any sense.

Okay, I take these things too literally and personally, what can I say.

At 9/16/2009 12:28:00 PM, Blogger designschicago said...

oh, please.

Flash was in it's infancy in the 90s. The framework of Neil's Garage is basic javascript rollover technology EXCEPT for the new(er) pages NYA, FITR, etc. It's stubbornly retro without hipster pretense.

The most important factor and what keeps Neil vital and continually interesting (whether or not one likes the new songs) is the illusion of seeming not to care and caring very, VERY much.

It feeds the myth, the mystery and the artist as both very human and other-worldly.

Thank God for him.

At 9/16/2009 01:05:00 PM, Anonymous Andrew Cherwenka said...

Never thought my ridiculous post would find its way into a Neil Young fan site. Thx Thrasher!

To all, I never said this was a blueprint or "5 easy steps" to become Neil Young. That would be even more ridiculous. Just saying he did a lot of things right marketing-wise and we can learn from him. Musicians are some of the toughest entrepreneurs out there and the successful ones know how to market themselves.

People seem to get so caught up in Twitter, Facebook, whatever the latest social marketing craze is. My point here is to recognize that many of the key things that people are striving for in web marketing today existed in the '60s without the web.

Record lots, be great, be shareable, compliment others, get out there. Not saying NY was motivated by marketing or constantly thinking "how can I sell more albums." I actually think he did these things for the love of music and appreciation of others like Dylan.

To the last guy who said "be authentic" - I agree. The web has also accelerated the time between lies and discovery.

At 9/16/2009 05:28:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...


Thanks for stopping by.

As long as you like Neil's music, that's all that matters.

For most of us, the concept of associating Neil Young and marketing is somewhat of an oxymoron. ;)



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