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What marketers can learn from Taylor Swift

October 13 2015

Sara Frey

There is no question: Taylor Swift knows what she’s doing. As an entertainer, a performer, and – most importantly – as a marketer, Swift is killing it. In only a few years, she has become one of the most beloved and buzzed about musicians in the country. With 50.5 million followers, she’s the most popular user on Instagram. She also has 64.4 million Twitter followers, nearly 5 billion video views on Vevo, and scores of awards to her name.

Swift is topping charts for music and marketing

She has mastered social media, decoded content creation, and reinvented fan interaction – all things today’s brands need to do in order to foster the kind of loyalty Swift has. Want to know how she’s done it?
Here are 7 marketing tips that brands can learn from Taylor Swift.

1. Invite people in

A lot of artists choose to maintain a certain level of distance from their fans. Swift welcomes them with open arms. As a result, the majority of content on her website is created by fans, and each concert attendee feels like they are part of the show – thanks to the light-up wristband Swift has provided.1 By giving fans a place on her website and in her show, she has done more than invite them to be a part of her world. She has created a new world in which her fans play an integral role.


Marketing tip: Like Swift’s fans, your millennial customers want to be a part of your brand. Let them.

2. Share the spotlight

In the last five months, Swift has performed with dozens of artists as part of her 1989 tour, promoted another artist’s cover of her most recent album,2 and created a winning situation for all involved. Acts are exposed to a new audience, audiences experience something unique, and Swift attracts lots and lots of attention.

Taylor Swift Nelly
Taylor Swift Mick Jagger

Marketing tip: Like Swift, tomorrow’s leading brands will find strength in the alliances they build. Find a collaborative partner you can create something unique with and share the love.

3. Be you

Swift wins a lot of points for her genuine personality. Her social media posts don’t feel contrived. They read like she – and not a member of her team – is actually writing them. She shares the good, the bad, and the awkward, covering topics like music, life, friends, and family. And as a result, Swiftees (as fans are called) feel a real connection with the performer.

Taylor Swift Cat

Marketing tip: Like Swift, brands need to communicate with customers the same way they communicate with coworkers and friends. Share organic, authentic, everyday moments rather than over-produced content.

4. Always say thanks

When fans go out of their way to show Swift how much they love her, she shows her gratitude in ways big and small. She dedicates awards to them, posts photos of herself wearing that sweater they knitted of her face,3 and sometimes she invites them to backstage dance parties.4

Taylor Swift Knitted Sweater Polaroid

Marketing tip: Swift understands that her fans have helped her get to where she is. And she knows how to make sure they stick around. Remember that your customers have other choices. Thank them for choosing you every chance you get.

5. Personalize it

There are some fans that have received extra special attention from Swift. They have been invited to her house for listening parties,5 received Christmas gifts she handpicked especially for them,6 and even celebrated their wedding with the star.7 While stories like this number in the hundreds, their impact is worth millions. Each personal connection Swift makes with one fan results in deepened loyalty with many more.

Marketing tip: As Swift has proven, it pays to treat fans as individuals. Identify your best customers, acknowledge them in a special way, and sit back as they become superfans who will happily promote your brand.

6. Be mysterious

There is an air of mystery around what Swift will do next. Who will the surprise guest performance be? What will her next album sound like? What is the point system for on her blog? Will I get invited to the next secret event? Will she get me a Christmas present? These questions keep fans engaged on a daily basis. Every day brings a new reason to see what Swift is up to.

Marketing tip: Sometimes you’ve gotta play your cards close to the vest and keep ‘em guessing. Build anticipation and interest by being a little unpredictable.

7. Have fun with it

Swift is running an $80 million a year business,8 but it never seems like it’s weighing her down. It always appears as though Swift is living her dream. She’s doing what she loves and bringing all of us along for the ride. We’re happy to sit beside her because she makes the journey so much fun.
Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 9.58.44 AM
Marketing tip: It’s okay to let loose a little bit and have some fun with your brand. Your messages should extend beyond the business side of things and create a 360-degree look at who you really are.

Your brand is so much bigger than what you sell.

From fan interaction to content creation, there is a lot to be learned from Swift and other individuals successfully promoting their personal brand. It always helps to look outside your industry, expand your perspective, and see what you can learn from those at the top of their game. Study what works for them, try new things for yourself, and maybe one day, you can teach Swift a thing or two.