What Paul Simon Taught Me About Marketing

[First, an announcement: Congratulations to Jill Stodola, who won the random drawing for a copy of Nely Galan's book, "Self Made". Now, on with the show.]

My Aunt Sue was a fixture in my childhood. She was also somewhat of a role model for me. She was a federal employee, she had a social life, and she was an entrepreneur. She and my mom started a DJ service when I was young. I remember helping to carry milk crates loaded with 45's and LP's from the van to the venue. I'd sit in the back of the room while Aunt Sue tested the sound equipment and we'd play my own private version of "name that tune". She'd spin a classic from an era well before my time. After hearing a song only a few times, I was usually able to guess the song and often the artist, but rarely the year. I'd get close, but Aunt Sue could almost always stump me if she asked me for the year of a song.

Thank God the Internet now helps me find the dates for all the songs in my 300 Songs project.

When I was lucky, she'd play Paul Simon's "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover" - a song I enjoy so much, me and The Damn Whippersnappers played it at our first "Front Row Sessions" online concert. The song doesn't really offer fifty options, but Paul's list of tactics was so catchy and repeatable that you could get all the guests at the wedding reception to start singing along. It was mesmerizing to watch a room of random conversations stop and transform into a singular chorus of voices when Paul offered up his 50 ways.

That or Margaritaville.

But it was Paul, not Jimmy, who gave me my first understanding of the difference between marketing tactics and marketing strategy. I've invited him back for a "guest appearance" in this week's episode of Creative Freedom - where one man's bad sales pitch turned into a teachable moment for us all.

Marketing strategy is more than just a single tactic. It has to be, or it's not a strategy. (Tweet This)

Incidentally, Des, the amazing keyboardist from The Damn Whippersnappers has enlisted, and will not return from boot camp until October, just about the time our bassist, Owen, relocates to Nashville... which is where I'm headed, too. So there's a lot of movement happening in the coming months for all of us. Say a prayer, wouldja?

Be part of the Rising Tide!

Share your thoughts comments and questions about marketing strategies and tactics in the comments. What is working for you? What have you tried that didn't work? We'd love to hear from you!


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