MDNA, Madonna's latest album, dropped this morning and she is already shaking things up.
'Bang, bang shot you dead. Shot my lover in the head.' - Gang Bang (Track 2), MDNA
Madonna is taking out old lovers, and that includes marketing concepts that have been very good to her over the years. Sorry, David Letterman. Goodbye MTV. Madonna is out to prove that she's just as relevant in today's music scene as her referential protege, Lady Gaga.
When you want the pulse of a country and a culture, you look to its pop culture. Marketers, sociologists and historians can all agree here, can't we?!
So when the Queen of Pop (and a decidedly savvy businesswoman) decides it's time to do social-only marketing and record promotion, people ought to take notice.
Think about that. Madonna doesn't think it's worth her time to do TV and magazine promotion. She has ditched the pre-release media tour, granting just one interview to Jimmy Fallon. Oh, did I mention the interview is only available on her Facebook page?
Madonna has also paired up with Fab.com on sales, leveraging the artsy, design-focused site for album flash sales (MDNA is currently being offered up at $7.99 versus $14.99 retail).
According to The Wallstreet Journal's blog, Madonna and her manager, Guy Oseary, looked to social media to solve logistical issues within their operation. Magazine shoots, talk shows and traditional media circuits require travel and put a significant strain on Madonna's time. You may call that vanity or the statement of a spoiled superstar... or, you could just call it good business sense.
Madonna is a busy woman. Why extend all of that human capital on a medium that has dwindling ROI?
Take a look at those numbers: 8,385,451 people follow Madonna on Facebook at the time of this article's publication. 248,079 people "talking about" her at any given time. On average, she registers over 10,000 "likes" and 500 comments per post. Her camp controls the message and has 24/7 access to her fans (and friends of her fans thanks to Facebook's running comment feed).
And that's just Facebook. I'm not even going to get started on Twitter. For those of you that are interested, you can check it out yourself. Madonna will be taking questions via @MadonnaMDNAday and hashtag: #askmadonna tonight at 10:00pm EST.
Go observe how it's done. I'm willing to bet #askmadonna makes a major dent in Twitter's server. And mark my words: despite all of the turmoil surrounding the music industry, record sales for MDNA will be strong.
6/13/12 UPDATE: MDNA's first week following the release was Madonna's strongest album performance in over a decade and topped US charts. According to Twitter's brand-building platform, Mass Relevance: "Madonna’s follower count grew roughly 300% over the course of the two Q&A sessions that were a week a part. Over 179,400 approved questions were received over the two different events. At its peak, the conversation generated 1,434 Tweets per minute(TPM), with an overall average of 635 TPM. At 10:26, before Madonna had announced her arrival the TPM hit its low of 228. Just six minutes later, when she announced her arrival the conversation spiked to its peak TPM of 1,434."
Modern culture dictates media on-demand. Our terms. Our turf.
And those generalizations include Madonna too. Paradoxically - and brilliantly - social media allows Madonna to draw her fans closer, permeating their personal space online, while she removes herself from paparazzi-lined public appearances.
I think we can all agree that Madonna knows a thing or two about reinvention and staying power. Innovate or die. The mantra of progress, modern tech and America's most iconic and everlasting female pop icon.
Meredith Singer is COO & Co-Creative of Verge Pipe Media. Verge Pipe Media assists public institutions, enterprises and the non-profit sector with Imaginative Inbound Marketing strategies + campaigns. We also have a development team chock full of Marvelous Mobile Migrators, poised to help transition our clients into a mobile + social world.