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MarCom Matters

September 2015
Issue: #59

Marketing Fusion

What do you get when you cross bluegrass music with hip-hop?

Why, you get a band called Gangstagrass.

This was just one of the groups that Janet and I listened to at a music festival this Labor Day weekend on the southern shore of Rhode Island.

In fact, they were one of several there that fused ethnic (a.k.a, roots) genres to create imaginative and brilliant sounds. Among the others that masterfully merged multiple traditions were…

    Leftover Salmon, a jam band fusing Cajun and bluegrass.

    Matuto, fusing Brazilian with several other world-music sounds.

    The Duhks, fusing celtic and bluegrass.

    Donna the Buffalo, fusing Cajun, zydeco, rock, country and reggae.

    Ten Strings and a Goatskin, fusing Irish, French and Acadien traditions.

For jazz, rock, blues and even singer-songwriter lovers, musical fusion is a decades-old idea that encourages bold experimentation and interpretation.

But most roots music audiences will gladly applaud new sounds (and buy new CDs) as long as the musical themes don’t stray too far from the underlying traditions.

It’s a mighty thin line for talented groups looking to differentiate themselves and cultivate followings from among a relatively small audience of roots music fans.

And that, my friend, sounds pretty much like the challenge we face when it comes to positioning our businesses, doesn’t it?

Especially if the products and services we offer are viewed by prospective customers and clients as commodities. Or worse, as confusing.

Traditional positioning advice goes something like this…

But once you’ve done all those things, what if competition is still on your tail? What if prospective customers still don’t notice you? What if you still need to make a stronger impression? What if you still sound like everyone else?

The answer is to reach beyond your own specialization to create and communicate clearer value for your customers.

In other words, start with the traditional roots positioning – what makes you special. But fuse it with an additional sound – a value proposition your customers and clients are longing to hear.

Here are some real-life examples of what I mean…

These companies focus their marketing energies on one specific customer pain point and offer simple, understandable and compelling value propositions.

Then they enhance their solutions with messaging about experience, personality, history, education, customer successes and awards to create unique sounds that are hard to replicate.

So if you’re looking for a new way to express what it is you do and why it’s important to your customers, think marketing fusion.

It just may get you a standing ovation.