Lessons In Marketing From a Beyonce Concert


Beyonce in concert
Beyonce the master marketer in concert

Last night I had the pleasure of seeing Beyonce in concert at the The O2 Arena in London. It’s been a while since I have gone to a big brand concert and here were a few lessons from seeing a marketing genius at work.


Back when I was in High School in the 1990s many concerts would have big signs that prohibited you from filming the concert. At the Beyonce concert however I looked around me and almost everyone had their mobile phone out. They were either taking pictures or filming. You can for instance see the full concert here for free that some fan uploaded: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swx5oM013QA)

I also took out my phone to remind myself of a good memory. And now look at the amplification of marketing. Beyonce’s concert was sold out (we paid $150 per seat). Capacity is 20,000 people. Paying an average of $100 per ticket and you have $2,000,000 revenue from the night. Beyonce was on from 9 pm to 11 pm. Not bad for two hours work.

But it’s not two hours work. It takes years to build the brand. To get the following so that so that many people buy the tickets instantly. The social media helps. I have posted this pic out to my facebook (5,000 people + 500 followers). Around 10 % of them would see the post on their news feeds (if you want to see my posts you need to put me on notifications otherwise it might ignore you). That’s 500 people that found out that Beyonce is on tour from me alone for free (and if they hit like or share than it amplifies).

Now take 20,000 people that were there on the night. Am sure that 80 % of them took a picture or a video at least for themselves. Probably 10,000 would have tweeted/uploaded/liked the concert.

An average person on facebook has 190 friends. If they posted or tweeted at least 50 people would see their photo/tweet etc.

So my back of the envelope calculation says 10,000 facebook posts * 50 people on average see the post = 500,000 impressions. Now normally Cost Per Mille (CPM) costs around $10 (for you aspiring webpreneurs you need to understand terms like CPM: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_per_mille). So this is $5,000 of free publicity that she did not have to do anything. Other marketers pay that much to get that reach.

Now remember that you hearing about Beyonce from me (your online “friend”!) is much more powerful than an ad you might see on the right side on your newsfeed or hearing about it from a stranger on the radio or television.

I am sure my numbers are way off but you get the point (more experienced marketers correct me with your calculations so I can update!).

Now look at how many people get to find out that Beyonce did a concert and now how many more are likely to want to go to her next one?

The Beyonce tour is called the “Mrs Carter” tour. In reference to her husband Shawn Corey Carter (AKA Jay-Z). Jay-Z also made an appearance for one of the songs on the night. Jay-Z is also a huge celebrity net worth is estimated at $500 million. Beyonce is at $350 million.

David Beckham became an even bigger brand when he married Posh Spice Victoria Beckham. When brands cross-fertilize they amplify themselves. Jay-Z picks up a few more fans from Beyonce and Beyonce picks up fans by being associated with Jay-Z.

Corporate brands also do this. When you walk into a McDonalds you will be served with a Coca-Cola. Toys will be from Disney movies. An Apple Mac will be seen in the background of many Hollywood movies.

In the era of celebrity people get smarter of who they connect up with. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie amplify each others brands.

The show was called Beyonce and we bought tickets for her. But when you go to the show you see what a large amount of team works behind the concert. From the ticket sellers. To security. To sound. Electrician. Dancers. Band. Marketers. Her record label. Production. Set.

You might only see the “stars” but really they are just one aspect of a team. We knew Steve Jobs or Bill Gates but they are merely one aspect of the symphony of Apple and Microsoft. There are literally thousands of people working behind them to let it look like it is only them. Although the brand of Beyonce is created there are many people that help someone like her get as famous as she does (including E!, Hello, MTV Awards etc).

You can buy Beyonce fragrance (http://www.beyonce.com/fragrance). She drinks Pepsi. You can buy the Beyonce concert tshirts. I remember being in a Debenhams store in Dubai and seeing Kylie Minogue pillow cases and bed sheets. What Kylie has to do with pillow cases or bed sheets I don’t know and I am sure she is no expert either but if it convinces some kid or adult out there to buy the Kylie Minogue pillow cases and some marketer can differentiate their products from others than she can keep the extra percentage of sales.

Why Americans are the wealthiest country in the world is they know how to differentiate, brand and market better than almost any other country!

Beyonce and Jay-Z’s kid is called Blue Ivy. David Beckham and Victoria Beckham’s kid is called Brooklyn. Tom Cruise’s daughter is called Suri (named before Apple’s Siri came out!). Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s kids names are Maddox, Zahara, Shiloh, Knox and Vivienne.

Celebrities know that everything is about brand and even their names and their kids.

For many years I’ve enjoyed Beyonce’s tunes for free. Either on radio, YouTube or free music downloaded on friends computers. Last night she finally made some good money from myself and my brother! Freemium is the business model around the internet. Most people use skype for free and never pay anything but a few people pay for outbound calls and so Skype makes the money.

Although she now makes money through YouTube partnership on advertising it is not nearly at the level that she does through her live concerts.

281 million hits on Single Ladies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4m1EFMoRFvY
(although you might prefer the Chubby versionhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eidpOdDX8Qg)

The 200 million hits on Halo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnVUHWCynig

127 million views on If I were a boy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWpsOqh8q0M

98 million on Crazy in love: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViwtNLUqkMY

The lady who sang “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” had her whole backup and band of women. Women will dominate the internet economy. The concert was full of women in the audience spending their hard earned money to drive the British and American economies forward. Messaging throughout the gig was around the choices of the woman (career, men etc).

To a hammer, everything looks like a nail. As I got into the world of marketing, to me even a concert is to be analysed to see what lessons can be learned (the life of a nerd is hard!). In the internet economy we have ALL become celebrities. You might not be on as many magazine covers as Beyonce but you are on facebook. Beyonce and other celebrities like her have become A-list celebrities. Facebook has made you and I into M-list celebrities (depending on how many followers etc you get you might be up or down the scale).

When you see a master, appreciate her. Beyonce is a brand and worth enjoying if you can see her live you will enjoy.

Enough nerdization by me, just enjoy the tunes in the meantime and what lessons have you learned from the music industry?:

Single Ladies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4m1EFMoRFvY
(Chubby version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eidpOdDX8Qg)

Halo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnVUHWCynig

If I were a boy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWpsOqh8q0M

Crazy in love (featuring Jay Zhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViwtNLUqkMY

About the Author

Amir Anzur

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