Can music benefit from positioning marketing? Though an art form, it is also a product, so in that context the answer is a definite yes.
As the nation's leading agency in the practice of positioning that's also located in Northeast Ohio, Innis Maggiore can't help but appreciate the recent positioning marketing efforts of Akron's own DEVO.
The positioning marketing is as much about the positioning marketing as it is about the music itself (if not more so). Which is exactly the point.
DEVO's position has been as music's purveyor of satiric social commentary, most notably in the form of its theory of "De-evolution." As humans regress, society becomes increasingly governed by herd mentality and people are more machine-like.
Instead of fighting it, the band now embraces it with positioning marketing and an album tellingly called, "Something For Everybody." And though the music labels are suffering, the band has worked with agency Mother LA to show that you can still successfully market new music.
Irony cracks like the singers' iconic whip.
As part of its positioning marketing, DEVO has created a backstory about using research and focus groups to make the album palatable to the masses. "The world's first focus group-tested sonic document" and "corporate-approved opus" both derides and benefits from the kind of narrowcasting that's helped kill radio as a vital force.
DEVO tested the songs (using social media and its ClubDEVO.com website to involve fans in the voting), colors (a new blue energy dome), imagery, and textures. Confounding participants, the band didn't fully follow its own DEVO Song Study, leaving off fan favorites and creating an online stir. But don't worry: If you don't want the official, "88%-guaranteed version," you can buy the 100% track lineup as an iTunes® exclusive. "Something For Everybody," indeed.
The band has also been everywhere, from the Olympics and SXSW to Coachella and an LA radio station's weenie roast. Augmenting the standard talk show circuit, the band has been featured on programming as diverse as "The Colbert Report" (which streamed the new album on its website for an entire week), "Live! With Regis and Kelly," and "Futurama." The band has a reality TV series about the making of the album and its positioning marketing. On release day, it hosted a video stream listening party for 20 cats. This all for a band that's technically a one-hit wonder without a new studio product for two decades. This is the value of positioning marketing.
DEVO's most direct social commentary makes itself the subject. The singers parody the shape of the music biz and entertainment media to sell more records. And so far, the positioning marketing has worked, as DEVO has a Top 20 Amazon Bestseller for Music.