Canadian Music Trade - December-January 2022 - Page 28

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Values-Based Marketing : Good for Business & The Soul

BY MICHAEL RAINE

Outside of your company and the products you sell , what are you passionate about ? What has the ability to fill you with joy , anger , sadness ? Maybe it ’ s protecting the environment , or fighting for social justice , or ensuring kids have access to food and a good education ? Whatever it is , do you think your customers know this about you , and would they know it by observing your business ? And importantly , do they feel the same ? I know that ’ s a lot of questions , but the answers may contain your secret weapon in marketing and customer loyalty — your values .

“ Values-based marketing ” isn ’ t a wholly new concept , and I ’ ve spoken with both MI and marketing professionals over the years who professed the benefits of it , in one form or another , without putting that exact label on it . It ’ s becoming a more common label though , and companies from Under Armour to Kraft Foods are using it . The best proponent for values-based marketing that I ’ ve met is Dennis Stafford , founder and marketing director of Organiksol Marketing , a U . S . -based marketing firm that focuses on music-related companies , non-profits , and small businesses . When I read a short online column on values-based marketing he wrote for NAMM U , it made intuitive sense and I knew I wanted to share his insights with CMT ’ s readers . Values-based marketing , to put it succinctly , is when a company telegraphs its big-picture values in its marketing materials and business practices .
Organiksol Marketing was born in the early 2000s , and because music was always central to his career , one of Stafford ’ s first clients was Armadillo Enterprises , the maker of Dean and Luna Guitars , as well as ddrum .
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“ I started off as a consultant for Luna Guitars when it was a relatively new brand , an idea that few outside of our core group seemed super optimistic about . That changed when we went from probably doing a relatively modest amount in sales to being a major profit centre for the company . That was really where I got my first taste of values-based marketing , a strategy Luna was largely built on ,” Stafford recalls . “ We had a great brand lead designer , who was also responsible for co-founding the line and an incredible sales manager . But it was the designer , Yvonne deVilliers , who really held the vision for Luna in those early years . Virtually every decision she made was based on , ‘ How does the customer feel about this ?’ Or , how are our values in alignment with them ?”
What advertising for those guitars didn ’ t do is get hung up on specs . Sure , the products had to be good enough that you didn ’ t lose the customer when they played it , but they didn ’ t pick up the guitar because Luna was advertising tone — they were advertising values .
“ It meant that when we talked about our products , we also talked about things such as sustainability and equity . And on social media , the lion ’ s share of our early marketing efforts , we made it a point to talk about more than just the wood that our guitar was made from or the strings ; in our dialogue with customers , we wanted to know how you felt the first time you sang a song to your friends or family with your new guitar ,” Stafford continues . “ By understanding that emotions play a vital role in buying decisions , it gave us the freedom to discuss our use of cultural symbolism or spiritual inspiration . It was then that I fully
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