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The Miley Cyrus Approach To Marketing — Why It's a Radically Different Method For Achieving Brand Impact In case you missed it, Miley Cyrus recently won her first Grammy. In her acceptance speech, she told a story that is a great learning lesson for business owners and marketers alike, especially those who find themselves burned out and exhausted in this current environment.

By Sunny Dublick

Key Takeaways

  • Marketing should be about connecting with the people you want to help.
  • We don't connect with our customers by shouting messages at them all day, every day — in short, we're not being great partners with our clients.
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Miley Cyrus took home her first Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance this year. Shocked and elated, she took the stage to accept the award from none other than Mariah Carey and shared a very heartfelt speech:

"And so there's a story I wanna tell that sums up this moment, and I wasn't gonna tell it, but now Mariah's here. So there was a little boy that all he wanted for his birthday was a butterfly. And so his parents gave him a butterfly net, and he was so excited. He just went outside out in the sun and started swinging and swinging. But with no luck, he sat down on the ground, he finally let go, and he surrendered, and he was okay that he wasn't gonna capture this beautiful butterfly. And right when he did is when the butterfly came and landed right on the tip of his nose. And this song 'Flowers' is my butterfly."

So, what does it have to do with marketing? Everything.

Current marketing theory is centered around amplification: more ads, emails and automation. The idea is that the more times we can reach a customer with our message, the better. Push out social posts, text ads, and Spotify spots, and hit them at every path along the buyer journey until they're worn down enough to buy.

I liken this to chasing a customer down the street screaming, "BUY NOW!" as they frantically run as far away as possible — only we're doing this through screens, so it feels tolerable. Is it really effective, though? Or are we just casting the widest net possible over and over again, hoping to scoop up more (proverbial) butterflies?

I want to advocate for a different way, one that feels far less cringe-worthy. I want brands to stop chasing down business and start attracting it. What does that look like?

Related: 7 Marketing Strategies You Need to Succeed

Start with your offering(s)

You need to have something that is ultimately an attractive offer to your audience. I ask every client what are the brands they aspire to be like. Apple always comes up. The new iPhone comes out, and there is a line around the block. We all want that kind of brand loyalty, right? The real question is: are we willing to do the work to get there?

Apple didn't become a brand giant by creating the same products as the rest of the industry. It pushed category conventions every chance it could get. It constantly innovated and became cool because it was always on the cutting edge of new technology. Buying an Apple product was like a promise that you had the new, shiny toy everyone wanted. Their marketing just lets you know it's available, and frankly, they barely need it.

Apple's customers do most of their marketing for them. Think about what it would be like for your business to have an offer that's so good you know there will be a waiting list. Push yourself out of the thinking that 'this is the way things have to be.' What would it look like if you created something so amazing that you didn't have to force the message to convince people to buy? That is how you become an attractive brand. That's how you get your butterflies.

Related: How to Bring Connection, Creativity and Results Together in Marketing

Keep it real

One of my biggest takeaways from the Grammy speech was the need for surrender. Accepting the reality of where you are right now. That level of honesty and authenticity is crucial in building a great brand. It's the opposite of giving up; rather, it is realizing you have control over certain things, but a lot is out of our hands as businesses.

It's letting go of our vice grip on metrics and being fine with letting life and joy become part of our marketing practice. Marketers have become so trained that everything has to have a way to measure ROI — and while I am not advocating wasting money, I am advocating that we allow wiggle room in our budgets and hearts for authentic brand connection. Not the PR stories, not the influencer partnerships. I mean genuine ways to live out your brand's purpose for your customers and employees.

If you created a business, it wasn't only to make money. I am guessing it was created to help people. Sometimes, we get so far away from where we've been and our purpose that the best thing we can do is surrender. Remind ourselves why we started or why we were so excited to work for a company in the first place. How do we get back to being a great brand?

Related: How to Create Authentic Relationships and Build Customer Trust

Be a good steward

Think about the brands you admire — do they need to convince you to buy? To chase you down? No. What does the boy with the butterfly do once it lands on his nose? Does he hop right up and start chasing it again? Or does he know he doesn't have to? Will he continue to attract great things because he is a magnet for success? I want to encourage you to be this magnet as well, and how you do that is by being a good steward to your customers.

That means protecting their data, their interests, and their privacy. That means treating them with the respect they deserve. So often, we treat customers like numbers on a balance sheet. Just bombarding them with information to get their sale. This is not the way to make a great brand. This is being that pushy car salesman that no one feels comfortable around. When in doubt, all you have to do is put yourself in their shoes. Is this how I would want to hear about a brand like mine? Or does it feel weird? Is there a better way? Let empathy towards your community inspire you to do better and become the magnet of great customers.

One thing I feel passionate about as a marketer is that we have to find a better way. What this industry has become is a never-ending spiral of advertising. In essence, marketing should be about connecting with the people you want to help. We're not connecting by shouting messages at them all day, every day — in short, we're not being great partners with our clients.

I hope that I can inspire you to new ways of thinking about marketing in a way that lets you attract all of the businesses you can handle without ever having to chase a thing.

Sunny Dublick

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Brand Strategist | Chief Opportunity Creator

Sunny Dublick is an award-winning marketing specialist and founder of Sunny Dublick Marketing. A self-proclaimed marketing revolutionary, her strategies are designed to inspire creativity and divergence in the way you approach your marketing.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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