Why Katy Perry’s a Better Marketer Than You

Katy Perry wouldn’t strike most people as a marketing genius, but the pop singer inventively and strategically uses social media to advance her career.

In her early career, she promoted her songs through then-unknown Vimeo (a video-sharing website in which users can upload, share, and view videos. As one of Twitter’s earliest adopters, Katy now boasts Twitter’s largest following- numbering over 74 million “Katy Cats” (followers).

Recently, the pop star translated that innovative use of technology into serious commercial gain. One of the first to exploit Twitter’s new shopping function, Katy released her newest fragrance, Mad Potion, exclusively through a special Twitter handle called @KatyPerryPopUp. Customers bought Mad Potion by pressing a “Buy” card in its posts and entering their billing information on the same page.

Though Burberry had previously released a nail polish through the “Buy” button, the Mad Potion launch bought Twitter’s new commercial capacities to the public consciousness. Inciting conversations and interest among people well outside her fanbase, the move provided her product with valuable free advertising.  With Nicki Minaj and Rihanna releasing their fragrances that same week, that unique method of sales gave her product a crucial point of differentiation.

The results of launch certainly reflect the enthusiasm. Amassing over 14,000 followers by the launch date, @KatyPerryPopUp incited a firestorm of social media activity. Its hashtag #MadPotion trended twice that week, registering an insane 12 tweets per second while trending. Sales numbers have not yet been released, but Mad Potion’s manufacturer has hailed the campaign as an “unequivocal success”, pointing to the handle’s 661 million-plus views.

Only Katy can benefit from being first-to-market with Twitter’s selling function, the tool’s usefulness extends well beyond the novelty factor. Primarily, it…

…allows for fresh, interactive advertising efforts

Allowing for multiple low-cost posts per day, Twitter pop up shops can also function as more flexible, captivating sources of advertising. Created about a month before the release, @KatyPerryPopUp created and cultivated anticipation among the Katy Cats through contests and flashy gifs befitting her target audience. The handle also revealed each of the potion’s secret ingredients gradually throughout the launch day, which added another element of suspense.

Twitter’s pop up shops encourage participation from customers, allowing potential customers to feel more involved with the development of the product.

Before the launch, Katy employed several superfan accounts as “shopkeepers” who personally assisted her in promoting the fragrance and recruiting fans to the handle. The search for shopkeepers prompted a flurry of frenzied tweets from superfans, further escalating the enthusiasm for the fragrance. Not only did this encourage activity and engagement, but it rewarded the admiration of her most loyal fans. This approach truly exemplifies the “social” aspect of social media.

…Simplifies conversion

Twitter’s selling function links promotion and sales on one page. Now, interested customers can simply click the “Buy” button to purchase a product instead of undergoing a multi-step online ordering process on an external site or driving to a store. Reducing that conversion process to mere seconds, Twitter’s direct sales platform lowers the chances of people changing their minds mid-purchase.

Additionally, this seamless process prevents a third party site’s technical malfunctions from diminishing sales. This, along with the quicker transaction time, increases customer satisfaction.

…Attracts more non-sales related participation

In addition to “Buy”, Twitter offers features similarly useful “Sign Up Now!” cards that enable people to sign up for mailing lists without switching windows. This can attract registration from more passive visitors.

If Mad Potion’s actual revenue is as high as anticipated, many brands are sure to utilize Twitter’s direct sales platform in the future. Twitter has been experimenting with its direct sales mechanism for at least a year (https://blog.twitter.com/2014/testing-a-way-for-you-to-make-purchases-on-twitter), so the site could eventually use its algorithm to promote tweets with the “Buy” button over those with links to other sites. As social media incorporates more direct sales, marketers will need to balance their authenticity with more obviously promotional content.

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