3 Things Web Marketers Can Learn from Gene Simmons & KISS Dissing Rihanna

This article was originally published in 2012 on another blog. Moved it here as the tips are still relevant, even if Gene Simmons ane Rihanna are not!

Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley recently dissed Rihanna and her ilk while speaking to the press about their new tour with Motley Crue. Now, I am not a huge fan of KISS or Motley Crue, but after reading this article, I WANT TO GO SEE THIS FREAKIN’ CONCERT! It was refreshing to see some actual marketing going on by bonafide experts. You see, I think too many marketers, especially the corporate ones, have gone a bit New-agey and soft, trying to “curate” and “engage” and solve “disconnects,” whatever the hell that is. The only disconnects I ever tried to solve were when my lights or phone got cut off. But, I digress.

I am about to make my point right here: Having great content is good, BUT SELLING IT IS MORE IMPORTANT. From reading blogs all over the place, it seems many well-intentioned marketers have lost the plot completely and are spinning their wheels, thinking that by being an encyclopedia of blandness, they will convince people to buy stuff. While this whole business of “just type something inoffensive based on keywords, and they will come” sounds nice in practice, web marketers have to realize they are selling to HUMANS, and the way you make most people do the things you want to is through STIMULATING AND MANIPULATING HUMAN EMOTIONS, not by writing the 100 millionth article about how to optimize a blog for maximum user engagement. Chances are that Darren Rowse has already written it anyway, so write something else.

I have learned this lesson the hard way with a couple of failures related to making great content (music, movies, books, etc.) but failing to make a huge dent with sales. I had adopted the viewpoint shared by many people trying to make money on the web: just make something good and nice people will pay you lots of money for it. Guess what: IT DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY!

Here are some lessons we can learn from Gene Simmons and KISS, masters of marketing:

  1. You need a hook, bro. KISS is unmistakable, No one else on the planet looks like them, talks like them, rocks like them. Contrast that with the 10 million goobers, I mean bloggers, that all write the same 400 to 600 words of bland copy just like the next dude in a mock turtleneck and Moby glasses. Lesson: Figure out what your unique identity is, and milk it. I bet you could call yourself “The Booger-Eatin’ Blogger” and as long as you rock that style like you own the world, you will probably attract a fan base and be able to sell them stuff. Darn it, come to think of it, I should have called my blog something else. Like “The I Am Not John Chow Blog.” Just kidding, I like John Chow’s blog very much, he is one of the few bloggers that actually provides useful information, with some humor to boot.
  2. Life is too short to play it safe. Do you really think Gene Simmons needs a personal beef with Rihanna, who is backed by scary former crack dealer Jay-Z? Wouldn’t it have been easier to for Gene to say “We are quite proud of the fact that we have solved our disconnects and come together as a band once more to interface with our loyal fans who have supported us through the years.” Instead, he comes out of nowhere and says “No karaoke singers allowed. No fake bullsh*t…Leave that to Rihanna-Schmianna and everybody else whose name ends with an ‘a.'” What did he achieve with this comment? He got coverage on CNN and now has infected you, my dear reader’s brain with his message: KISS IS THE REAL DEAL AND IF YOU WANT AUTHENTIC ROCK AND ROLL, GO TO THIS SHOW. Brilliant.
  3. Sell, dammit. What was the point of all of this controversy? To sell tickets to the show. They did not beat around the bush: Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley pretty much tell you straight up that this is the greatest rock show ever and you’d better go see it. How refreshing to see someone actually use some showmanship to get a message across and directly entice me to want to spend money on something I never in a million years would have wanted previously, simply because they are so COOL.

I could write a bunch more, but I will stop right here as I have a deadline to meet on a project and have to get back to work. The point I am making with this post is that is you should commit fully to what your brand is, and don’t back off or apologize for being yourself. To hell with the politically-correct sheep that will never achieve anything of magnitude while trying to keep everyone docile and pleased…this is a tough business environment and only the tigers, like Gene Simmons and KISS, survive for the long haul.

Peace out.

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