This past weekend, Pearl Jam played 2 epic shows at Fenway Park. It was the band’s first time playing at the legendary ball park in their 25-year history. I was fortunate enough to attend the 2nd show on Sunday and experienced not only an amazing concert, but an excellent example of customer content marketing at its finest. Below are 5 examples of customer content marketing that you can use to strengthen your brand, improve customer loyalty and exceed customer expectations.
There’s no shortage of crowd-sourced content from concerts these days. While the Grateful Dead pioneered the concept of fans recording and sharing their concerts (see @dmscott Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead), today’s fans use social media to capture micro-moments of concert footage on Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook Live in real time. However, it’s still rare for artists to share “official” complete recordings of their shows. As with many of their concerts, Pearl Jam recorded the complete Fenway Park concerts, and broadcast them in their entirety, on “Pearl Jam Radio” on Sirius XM throughout the weekend. As a fan, I was able to experience a free rebroadcast of the Friday night show, generating even more fan excitement and anticipation for the Sunday show.
Prior to the show, I overheard one fan say, “This was a once-in-a-lifetime” event. Many diehard fans have seen the band 10-15+ times (while a big fan myself, this was only my 2nd time seeing them live), and yet they knew these shows would be special. The band did too. Unlike most concerts, where merchandise stands are selling basic, tour-specific items (t-shirts and posters) that are the same at every venue for the entire tour, Pearl Jam offered “limited edition” content that was specific to the Fenway Park shows.
The Boston baseball-themed items were instant collectables, with lines out the door just to get in to one of three Merchandise shops. In fact, the “2016 Pearl Jam Fenway Park Steve Thomas Poster” was an immediate sell-out, now available on eBay with a starting bid of $250.
I attended the show with two friends and one other guy who I did not know well, but I learned was one of those diehard fans. This was his 16th time seeing the band. As we explored the activity around the park and briefly watched a local band play Pearl Jam tunes in a small bar, I learned something about Pearl Jam’s social media activity with its fans. Approximately one hour before their shows, a hand written set list (the list and order of songs they will play that night) is posted on social media, an incredibly engaging strategy for those fans attending the show, who now know which of their favorite songs will be played.
Surprise content – Exceeding Customer Expectations
Note, this was my first experience with knowing the set list in advance, which made the show even more fun. However, the entire set list was not shared. The list I saw did not include the 2nd encore, which was another 8 songs. This surprise was by far the highlight of the entire 3-and-a-half-hour long show.
Cover songs are common in live concerts, and Pearl Jam selected excellent covers while at Fenway. Some were familiar (Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb, The Who’s Baba O’Reily and Love Reign O’er Me, Neil Young’s Rockin’ in the Free World), while others complete surprises and hand-picked for the Boston crowd (The Ramones’ I Believe in Miracles, Little Steven’s I am a Patriot and Aerosmith’s Draw the Line).
Personalized Content/Localized Content
In addition to carefully choosing songs with a bit of local relevance, the band went above and beyond to personalize (or more specifically, localize) content. Friday night included guest appearances from former Red Sox players Kevin Youkolis and Bronson Arroyo (who played acoustic guitar on “Black”). On Sunday, the band replayed their cover of Boston-based Aerosmith’s “Draw the Line” and was joined on bass guitar by Aerosmith’s Tom Hamilton. Sunday also saw lead singer Eddie Vedder wearing a Red Sox jersey and hat, while bassist Jeff Ament donned a classic Bill Russell #6 Celtics jersey. The band also embraced the Red Sox venue by using the unique team font/typeface in the lettering on a variety of images and merchandise.
Customer Sentiment Analysis Evidence
As marketers, we often use social media analytics to measure the impact of our content marketing. We look for social sharing, engagement and customer sentiment measures to ensure customer satisfaction. Pearl Jam’s content marketing strategy seems to have been a huge success.
Of Pearl Jam’s Tweets, they posted publicly to their page 21 times throughout the weekend. Of those 21 posts, their fans generated a total of 4,668 retweets and 14,660 total likes. Of Pearl Jam’s 4 posts to Facebook this weekend, they generated a total of 28,000 likes.
Today, (Tuesday August 9, 2016) they posted a “Thank you, Boston” video. In the first 3 hours it had 210,000 views on Facebook and 22,000 views on Instagram.
Measuring the impact of your content marketing strategy across your customer base can provide tremendous insight into your brand, customer loyalty and engagement. Using a variety of content types and delivery channels will maximize your content reach and increase the impact it has on your customers.
Images courtesy of Pearl Jam