I thought I’d take a look at one of the best marketing campaigns that I’ve seen in recent years, Nine Inch Nails and their marketing campaign for the album Ghosts I-IV.
Back in 2010, Trent Reznor announced that the new Nine Inch Nails album would be released, with Ghost I available to download for free (Reznor even put it up on the Pirate Bay for people to download the 9 songs). Different versions of the album were available to buy, going from a free download to a $300 super deluxe version complete with blu-ray disc, DVD, 2 books and all four CD’s. All 2,500 copies sold out in the first day, making the band $750,000 in 24 hours. By this time NIN had split from their label, Interscope, and so that money wasn’t divided up to give the band nothing; the only deductions were manufacture, distribution and packaging.
You could also download all 4 albums for $5, buy the 4 albums on CD for $10, and buy a deluxe box for $75.
In the first week the band had made $1.5m.
Even if people decided not to pay, Reznor would still acquire their email address, which would give him the chance to flog them more products in the future.
The secret of Trent Reznor’s success is that he knows how to connect with his fans whilst also giving them a reason to buy. Like Bjork did with her album Biophilia, he made his fans want to buy the super deluxe box by making it exclusive, making it look nice and making people feel like they’re supporting the band, which they were.
Another marketing ploy by the band came on their 2007 European tour. Nine Inch Nails printed t-shirts with the tour dates on the back, with random letters highlighted slightly. These letters spelt out ‘I AM TRYING TO BELIEVE’. The more savvy fan then put .com on the end, which let to an online interactive game. The possibilities were endless, and you can bet that when fans found it they told every other fan they could!
Reznor knows that fans are the best marketeers. They will post stuff on their facebook, twitter, blog, and you know that they mean it. They’re not getting paid to promote the band, they’re doing it because they want to, because they like the band. Reznor understands this better than most.