How to monetize your little monsters

I’ll be the first to admit… what follows scares the crap out of me. I NEVER thought I would write an article about this person, but feel I must.

Have you heard of Lady Gaga?lady-gaga-outfit

How could you NOT hear her name these days?

At yesterdays Grammys, she just won:

Pop Vocal Album: “The Fame Monster,” Lady Gaga
Female Pop Vocal Performance: “Bad Romance,” Lady Gaga

In just a few very short years (light speed in the music business), Lady Gaga has become an international sensation—selling millions of albums, breaking Billboard’s record as the first artist to have her first six singles reach number one. She’s won four Grammys, and has sold 15 million albums and 51 million singles digitally worldwide

She is everywhere… on TV…on YouTube… on Twitter… at the Awards ceremonies… everywhere.


Hint: It’s not her music.

She does have a very strong voice, but the rest of it will not change the music industry forever.

She is an incredible marketer…and we should be taking notes watching what she does and how she has captured the attention of the world stage.

So hang on to your thoughts about her music, her dress, her looks, her lack of clothing… and look at what she has done to go from no where to a world famous star in record time.

Pay VERY close attention to her outlandish outfits,lady-gaga-grammy
her bizarre big-eye makeup,
her wacked out videos.

You will start to catch a glimpse of some of her secrets of success… plus… you WILL (no maybe here) catch a glimpse of some other things she doesn’t worry about keeping private.

That’s her entire point.

She WANTS to stand out… and be extreme. She WANTS eyes watching her every move. She WANTS critics speaking out against her.

It’s all part of the package.

Look at the Grammys – she was HATCHED out of an egg during her performance – bizarre? Yes? Wickedly free media attention her “egg” debut got… millions upon millions of dollars in free advertising!

What you may not have thought about was her genius marketing ideas.lady-gaga-egg

Those are the key…and what she wants most?

Fans… millions upon millions of them.

And she has them.

Her one best selling song, Bad Romance, has… get this… 344,761,267 Youtube viewers! On MySpace, Gaga has had 491.5 million plays of her songs.

Love her or hate her – that is an amazing feat that we should be paying attention to.

Lady Gaga, formerly known as Stefani Germanotta, was an obscure go-go dancer who worked burlesque bars in Manhattan.

But, she had music in her blood and was playing piano by age 4 and was accepted at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts at 17.

She was once performing at a bar filled with drunken NYU students. No one was watching or listening to her until, fed up, she began stripping down to her lingerie. “I started playing in my underwear at the piano and I remember everyone was all of a sudden like ‘Whoa!’ And I said, ‘Yeah, you’re looking at me now, huh?’ “

She found a guaranteed way she could get the attention she needed to break into the music scene.

A few of her customer loyalty secrets:

1) Give your customers a special club they can belong to. Lady Gaga doesn’t like using the term `fans`, so she started calling them her `little monsters`. Taking it a step further, she had `Little Monsters` tattooed on herself. Even in her videos you can see the Monster mentions.

After Tweeting her tattoo picture to her MILLIONS of Twitter followers, the Little Monsters started getting their own tattoos and sharing them with the world as well. All of her albums have a monster theme to them as well

Take away: what special club or name could you give your clients? Many of the best loyalty type programs and continuity programs do this… shouldn’t we all?

2) Gaga also recites a “Manifesto of Little Monsters” at her concerts. Her Little Monsters see this as a dedication to them, that her fans have the power to make or break her.

This is the Manifesto of Little Monsters:

There’s something heroic about the way my fans operate their cameras; so precisely intricately and so proudly; like kings writing the history of their people. It’s their prolific nature that both creates and procures what will later be perceived as the “kingdom.” So, the real truth about Lady Gaga fans, my Little Monsters, lies in this sentiment: they are the kings, they are the queens, they write the history of the kingdom, and I am something of a devoted Jester.

It is in the theory of perception that we have established our bond; or, the lie, I should say, for which we kill. We are nothing without our image, without our projection, without the spiritual hologram of who we perceive ourselves to be, or rather to become, in the future.

When you’re lonely,
I’ll be lonely too, and this is The Fame.

Take away: Shouldn’t we all have some form of manifesto that shows who we are and where we stand with our customers? It wouldn`t take much to do, and it certainly can make an impact with those who pay your bills.

3) Special Recognition for a Special Monster. During her live stage shows, Lady Gaga will place a call to one of the Monsters in the audience. Her fans have already given up their cell phones to her (another lesson on mobile marketing) and she chooses one, dials it from stage, and waits for the screams. When the Little Monster shows themselves and their phone, they are put up on a big screen, and invited backstage after the show for a drink.

Take away: What one thing could you do monthly to pay special homage to one of your clients? Something random that would give them exposure to everyone else in your world, and make them feel fantastic at the same time. It could be a special write up about them that you send to your entire database. Make it like an editorial style and send them one in a nice frame ready to be hung on their wall. You could have a photo with you and them done up and sent out to your entire list on a postcard or greeting card. It could be special mention on your website, on your blog, the possibilities are truly staggering.

4) Have a secret code or sign.
Fitting with the Little Monster theme (album titles, tattoos, songs, etc), she also has a claw that she forms with her hand while on stage. The clawed hand is part of the choreography in the video of her song “Bad Romance.” She first got the idea at one of her concerts while watching two of her fans greeting each other this way…and an idea was born.

Take away: You may not have a secret handshake or claw for your business, but you may have a special acronym or formula you share with your clients. Give them something that is unique and proprietary to your business, make sure they understand that it was designed just for them, and encourage them to use it frequently (again, with pictures, mentions, etc).

5) Leverage social media. Gaga has over 5 million fans on Facebook and almost 3 millions Twitter followers! She keeps in frequent communication with them and shares the exciting, and not so exciting parts of her life with them.

Take away: Leverage social media if at all possible. I personally am not a huge fan (you may have read my Twitter challenge last year on this blog), but I realize that Social media is huge and very fitting for loyalty. Find people to help you get good at it, and leverage outside resources so social media management doesn`t suck your time dry.

6) Work your ass off to build a fan base with your clients.
This quote pretty well says it all on why she has been able to do what she has:

“When you’re dealing with someone as good as Gaga, a lot of it is how to stay the *&^% out of the way,” said Steve Berman, Universal Music’s president of sales and marketing. “Gaga has worked tirelessly in keeping up daily if not hourly communication with her fans and growing fan base through all the technology that exists now.”

Take away: Work your ass off. Overnight riches are a thing of fairy tales. No more needs to be said.

7) Know WHO your customers are. While she seems to have attracted a wide range of Monsters from all age groups, the majority of her fans are young, lost and confused. So was she. An absolute misfit at school. Ridiculed for being different. Pretty well sounds like most of the teenage population out there. And she makes sure they know that she is absolutely NO DIFFERENT than them. When they become a Monster…they know she is one of them.

Take away: Get to know your customers intimately, and make sure they know what you know about them. If you personally can’t relate, have a spokesperson or employee who IS just like them.

“Lady Gaga isn’t the music industry’s new Madonna.
She’s its new business model.”
~~ Forbes.com

All this by 24 years old.lady-gaga

Not too shabby, at all.

A quote to herself: ” ‘Now that you have everybody watching, Gaga, you’d better be f***ing great.’ “

Last lesson, based on this quote: once you get the success you wanted, work harder and don’t blow it!

To your success, you little marketing monster.


PS: If you want to get much better at marketing and writing with a passion, here is a brand new Bundle for you…

2016 marketing plan calendar


  1. Hi Troy – great post! … It’s all true, and I’m woking on it ))smiles

  2. Great Observation Troy! …….
    There is always an other avenue to improve our marketing efforts.

  3. Lady Gaga’s interaction with her fans has created loyalty few artists will ever know, but one thing you only briefly alluded to with this quote,

    “Now that you have everybody watching, Gaga, you’d better be f***ing great.”

    is her product – her voice and her music!

    Without having a fantastic product that people want to listen to and play over and over, her marketing would not matter.

    Lady Gaga’s success is due to *both* having a fantastic voice (listen to the hook on ‘Alejandro’, it will give you chills) and her interaction (marketing) with her fans.

    In the music industry, innovation (meaning unique and unlike the masses of copy cats who call themselves musicians) and raw, emotionally gripping lyrics and melodies that allow listeners to relive their best memories or day dream about the life they wish they lived are enough to make stars.

    Great marketing alone will not create a super star like Gaga without the talent to back up the hype.

    You have to look no further than that rap and hip hop industry for ample proof of that. There is swagger everywhere, and each artist believes they are God’s gift to eardrums the world over, even though they have at most one or two good songs.

    I still enjoyed your article and picked up some valuable ideas for my marketing. Thanks, Troy.

  4. Jay Leishman says:

    Excellent post Troy. Building loyal followers. Beatles did that but not ever close to what L.G is doing. I don’t care for her personally but she has captured my attention from time to time to understand why she is who she is.

  5. Troy,

    You always amaze me how you pick out the “takeaways” from one situation and give them to us so we can use them for ourselves.
    Thanks as always.

  6. Excellent post Troy and I agree with James’ comment on how well you pick out so many takeaways.

    Being of the Baby Boomer generation, I personally dislike Lady Gaga’s type of music and am somewhat disappointed that society rewards so well, some artists, celebrities and athletes who behave so badly. (Really showing my age here) I do however admire her success – from a distance!

    The point I am trying to make is that, I have let my personal tastes and standards, obscure a wonderful example of marketing that you have so brilliantly highlighted.

    Perhaps for me the best takeaway then is to take off my generational blinkers and look for good examples in areas I would not normally consider.

  7. Thanks everyone for the great comments.

    Some very valid points made about the need for a great product to back up the great marketing. Like Brandon says… lots of rapper think they are the worlds gift to music and promote themselves that way… but can’t back it up with songs people actually like. Gaga has both.

    But she isn’t for everyone… which is her point. She doesn’t try and be everything to everyone. She caters to those who DO like the way she dresses (or lack of)… who like her voice… who like her theatrics… etc. She doesn’t care about those who don’t like her.

    Which is EXACTLY what many business owners miss.

    They try and be everything to everybody. You ask them who their ideal client is… and they reply “everyone would love this”.


    Know who you want to be seen as… cater your products, services and marketing to that… find the right market… and IGNORE the rest that will cut you down and insult you….but never buy.

    Get thick skin … this is marketing and success in this field means you have to learn to ignore the naysayers.

    Thanks all. Troy

  8. Another FANTASTIC article, Troy! Right on,all the way.

    Although, admittedly…

    When I first read the headline (elsewhere, without the Gaga photo’), I thought you referring to moneting our kids. (Especially OUR kids! Ha, ha)

  9. What an interesting post Troy.

    At first I was skeptical that there couldn’t possibly be anything in common with my business and Gaga’s marketing, but after thinking about it I saw the parallels.

    I get the special club/secret handshake angle, and knowing your customers (and giving them what they want), and not trying to be everything to every one.

    Time for my “meat suit” fitting…gotta run!


  10. Thanks Bill.

    I often find some of the greatest business and marketing lessons come from COMPLETELY different industries.

    Want ideas for a car related business?
    Look to the hotel business?

    Looking to grow a hotel business?
    Look to the publishing industry.

    There are always GREAT ways to build a business when using ideas you borrow from others.

    Take the Million Dollar Lobster report I wrote – they took the ideas from the publishing model (membership based subscriptions) and made it fit a commodity food business.

    They tailored it and made a bundle.

    Anyone else can get the ideas they used in their business and make it fit their own business (I should how to do it in the free report I offer there https://www.milliondollarlobster.com.

    Thanks for sharing Bill.


  11. Troy,

    Almost all, for what you are in so admiration with Lady Gaga, KISS done approx. 30 years ago – remember, f.e., KISS Army and KISS conventions.


    George, 35 years old

    P.S. I was made in Destroyer’s release’s year in the depth of USSR – Omsk, Siberia. I want to know – where will be Lady Gaga after 35 years?

  12. Hi George, I know what you are saying about KISS. Have written about Gene Simmons before https://smallbusinesscopywriter.com/gene-simmons-marketing-success/

    But you cannot deny that LAdy Gaga has done some amazing things in a very short period of time. Every other musician could have taken ideas from KISS, and done things like this, but they choose not to. To ignore Lady Gaga is ridiculous. She has broken all kinds of sales records and still in her 20s. There is must to be learned from Gene Simmons and KISS, but JUST AS MUCH to be learned watching the newest marketing sensation out there.

    I am a big believer in learning from those who pioneered the music industry, the marketing industry and the copywriting industry (the BEST books out there on copywriting were written 30, 50 or more years ago).

    …and I am also a big believer that you need to keep your eyes and ears open to innovative twists on old ideas. Exactly what Lady Gaga has done with Madonna, KISS, The Beatles, etc.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  13. Yes, Troy, I agree with you – we must learn the lessons of Masters, but we’re also must keep our eyes and ears open to innovative twists on old ideas

  14. Most definitely George. What I really want to drill home is that entrepreneurs should never go after all the new shiny objects out there before getting their basics nailed down. Get a client and prospect list together before trying to master Facebook Fan pages. Get a solid lead follow up system in place before trying to master Youtube video marketing.

    Their are lots of great marketing ideas in the new generation of marketers… but they are just as many ignoring the basics of good marketing.

    How many times a year do YOU get thank you emails and cards from offline retailers and restaurants?

    Far and few between.

    They don’t even have the basics down right… but would see huge imporovements by doing customer mailouts. Birthday campaigns. Anniversary campaigns. Etc.


    You make a great point – never ignore new ideas that are twists on old proven ideas.

    My point is – don’t rush out to implement all the new toys until you’ve looked after the basics.

    Thanks for sharing. Troy


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