Holiday Marketing Strategy: The Element of Surprise

Posted by on December 16, 2013

If you’re like me, you spent a big chunk of this weekend listening, watching and re-watching BEYONCE, the internet-breaking, music industry-upheaving, game-changing new album. From a musical perspective, it’s deeply personal with plenty of feminist commentary (yay!). From a marketing perspective, the album is perhaps even more groundbreaking.

As the holidays draw near, T.V. and print are chock-full of marketing campaigns for toys, jewelry, movies and anything else marketers can squeeze in before Dec. 25. Yet Beyoncé dropped her album sans hype – a secret set free on a random Thursday night.

iTunes Screengrab

And it worked. Selling more than 430,000 albums in one day, it’s likely to be one of the best-selling albums of recent years, despite being sold exclusively as a full album (for a not-inexpensive $15.99) and only on iTunes.

In a marketplace as crowded as Christmas, the reverse marketing approach of selling a secret and watching as viral buzz takes over is pretty revolutionary. Few brands have the cache to drive this kind of interest without marketing. But those who do, and are brave enough to go without in the spirit of being different, can obviously be rewarded.

Kudos to Beyoncé for taking a gamble this holiday season, and paving the way for innovation in the music and marketing industries. If you have thoughts on the approach, sound off in the comments below!

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