AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

One-Minute MarketerAll You Need to Know About Marketing Can Be Learned from Taylor Swift

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All You Need to Know About Marketing Can Be Learned from Taylor Swift

My daughter attended a Taylor Swift concert in Chicago many years ago. It was her first major concert and she said, “I’m going to meet Taylor Swift.” I told her that doesn’t happen with 50,000 fans. Long story short: My daughter and her friends not only met Ms. Swift, they were invited backstage after the show. That is just a little of the marketing magic that surrounds Taylor Swift. She is a marketing genius.


As I watched the second night of the NFL draft, the Taylor Swift marketing machine was in full motion. There is no question her song “ME!” is going to be a huge success because it fit perfectly with the draft story.  Her story was on every press outlet, from newspapers to live Instagram feeds.

So what is the takeaway from this rollout if you’re not a superstar singer?  To me, it is strategy and planning. You don’t coincide your song rollout with the same day as the NFL draft without strategy and planning, and you don’t have a giant wings mural painted in Nashville without strategy and planning.

Strategy and planning are lost art forms. S + P are the key ingredients to storytelling. Too many want to jump to execution without taking the time to truly analyze the brand story. That story should have an enticing beginning, rising action and a payoff ending. The opening and closing should connect.

Ms. Swift’s launch became the most-watched visual from a solo or female artist in the history of YouTube with more than 65 million views in the first 24 hours. Inside are clues for fans (Easter eggs) to find, leading to social engagement. All this hype is for a July release date of the album — a three-month lag. Her hit song release coincided with a major event, not when it was convenient with the release of her album.

Taylor Swift commissioned street muralist Kelsey Montague to paint a pair of butterfly wings with “secret messages” hidden in the art. Taylor’s a marketer.

So ask yourself, if Taylor Swift were going to work on your marketing campaign, what would she do?

Strategy. Planning. Strike when it is hot. Ms. Swift is a marketing machine from which we all can learn.

Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.