In this piece we look at what a retail marketing plan is, why it's important for artists to have one, what goes into a good detailed retail marketing plan and, just as importantly, what should be left out.
The continued growth of recorded music revenue in 2018 is incredibly exciting for our industry and fosters opportunities for labels, managers, and artists to be even more creative when planning their releases. Musicians are touring more than ever, we’ve seen incredible music videos, and publicity remains an ever important part of a comprehensive marketing plan.
When pitching to accounts like Apple, Spotify, Amazon, and more would love to hear about the big picture plan labels have for an artist, but they are arguably even more interested to see a detailed retail marketing plan for a new release.
But what the ?$!% is a retail marketing plan?
At its core, a retail marketing plan is a detailed report of what a label or artist intends to do to direct a target audience to a specific service. This means that there should be a strategy for how an audience is directed to a release. In fact, our retail partners insist on it when considering placement and positioning on their platform.
Think of it this way, say someone started a company that sells the most delicious chocolate chip cookies known to humankind. The recipe was perfected, a workspace was opened for the baking, packaging and distribution and boxes are stacked up and ready to get out the door to be shipped to national grocery chains like Costco, Wal-Mart and Whole Foods.
However, none of these chains decided to order any cookies to stock their stores. Even regional and local chains turned this company down. Why? Because regardless of how great they taste, these retailers will not take a risk without having a clear, concise understanding of how the cookie company’s resources are being spent. Not only should consumers be made aware of the product, but there should be messaging by the company to encourage them to go buy some on their next snack run.
The same goes for music retail, especially in the streaming era. Here are some items to include in your retail marketing plan that will help increase the chances to potentially receive support from digital services:
A Good Retail Marketing Plan Includes:
- A social schedule -– what is the total number of posts for each service that you plan to post, and how often do you plan to share?
- Email blasts -– provide insight on any email marketing efforts in place, as well as how many subscribers each blast will reach.
- Commercials -– for larger budgets, are there any TV or radio advertisements being run at the local, regional, or national level that have a call to action directing fans to a service?
- Digital Advertising –- by using platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google AdWords, Amazon Search/Product Ads and more, you can create a comprehensive online strategy to point listeners to a specific service. Be sure to include the approximate total budget and the duration of the campaign.
- Creativity! –- consider running a giveaway or social unlock. Find a way to incorporate a service’s API into your artist’s new website builds and more to continue pushing fans from socials into the platform. Remember, the accounts want to see how you’re creatively incorporating them into your overall plans so the sky is the limit.
A Retail Marketing Plan Does Not Just Include:
- A list of tour dates.
- Links to press articles and other media coverage.
- A group of playlists to consider for pitching.
That said, this is not to diminish the importance of having a strong overall plan. Retailers still need to know about additional marketing efforts being carried out. However, it is important to note that retailers also place a strong emphasis on knowing how larger awareness will drive traffic to their platform.
If you follow these best practices, it doesn’t guarantee any results or placement, but it does gives your release the best chance to be considered when a service notes that you are making an effort to prioritize activity on their platform.