Sometimes the most profound advice can come from the most unexpected places. Take, for instance, Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter John Legend’s keynote at Interact 2014.
At first blush, you might not think Legend would have anything to say to today’s marketers. However, the art of marketing actually has a lot in common with music. Here are three key takeaways we’d like to share with you.
Treat Being Creative Like the Job it is
At Interact 2014, Legend explained that accountability matters, whether your profession is in business or music. The singer knows he is responsible for what he creates-or doesn’t create. That’s why when he needs to write a song for an album, he doesn’t wait for inspiration to strike. He books studio time, and he stays there for as long as it takes until the song is finished. He explained, “Even though music is a fun and creative thing to do, I still treat songwriting like a job with work hours. That actually helps me be more creative.”
Marketing Takeaway: Creativity comes from discipline. Schedule the time you need to flex your creative muscles.
You Can’t Work in a Vacuum
Having worked with industry powerhouses like Kanye West and Lauryn Hill, Legend knows a thing or two about collaboration and the potential for creating something bigger than yourself.
“Quite often, chemistry between collaborators can yield something far more interesting than either of us would walk away with on our own,” he said at the event. “You don’t have all the answers. Don’t be so arrogant to think that you can do it all by yourself. Be a good listener. Be open. That pushes you in different directions you might not have found yourself otherwise.”
Marketing Takeaway: Build partnerships within your company. No more information silos! It’s the only way to send out a complete, consistent brand story to your customers.
Learn From the Greats
“To be great, I think you have to study the greats,” Legend advised. “Growing up I listened to Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Nat King Cole and Aretha Franklin. Studying the greats elevates your standards. It makes you realize what it means and what it takes to be the best.” Just as Legend listened to the masters of rock and soul music so he could learn from them, so too can today’s marketers learn from other great marketers, whether it be through best practice blogs, case studies or webinars.
Marketing Takeaway: Learn what the industry is doing by reading everything, watching everywhere and listening to everyone-this will help you blaze your own trail.
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Photo credit: Pete Foley