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Rock Band Marketing, or Field of Dreams – What’s your approach to business?

When I was a kid, I loved the movie “Field of Dreams.”

So much so in fact, that when I started my first blog in 2010. As far as internet marketing strategies go, I took the Field of Dreams approach.

In Field of Dreams, Ray Kinsella (a very 1989 version of Kevin Costner) hears a voice that whispers “If you build it, they will come” and he mysteriously envisions a baseball diamond.

Ray’s wife Annie is skeptical, but eventually allows Ray to plow under a large portion of his corn field to build a baseball diamond. The result? Well, Ray does nothing more than build it, and nothing happens. Ray and Annie face bankruptcy and things aren’t looking good when all of a sudden Ray’s daughter Karin sees a dude on the baseball field wearing a vintage style baseball uniform.

I don’t know about you, but I think I’d be a little bit skeptical about it being an actual baseball player, but I guess Ray wasn’t so skeptical.  Anyways, Ray heads out and realizes it is shoeless Joe Jackson, who eventually ends up bringing all his friends from the 1919 White Sox to play on the diamond, and all Ray’s dreams come true.

It seems to be a heartwarming story of the convergence point between baseball and heavy hallucinations, but I’ve always enjoyed it nonetheless.

I’ve come to find that many, many bloggers and business owners use the Field of Dreams approach, just as I did in 2010. The “if you build it, they will come” approach; building a site and assuming that just because it’s there, potential customers will magically appear in droves.

While this approach worked for Ray, it certainly didn’t work for me, and it hasn’t worked for anyone else I’ve ever talked to.

So what do you do instead? Well, you approach it like any successful rock band. I like to call the “Rock Band” approach…

The Rock Band Approach

When was the last time you saw a rock band get famous even though they never played outside of the drummer’s mom’s basement?


Get this though; the approach that a rock band has to take to get famous is extremely parallel to what a website owner or blogger has to do to build a strong audience. Let’s take a look at the steps…

1. Practice, Practice, Practice

No one wants to listen to you if you suck. And let’s be honest, most everyone sucks at first. While practice may not always make perfect, it does go a long way in determining the ultimate quality of the presentation. No matter if that presentation is a ballad, a blog post, or page content. As you continue to play, write, or create, your skills will improve, which will in turn result in your audience being more receptive, and more willing to share with others.

2. Specify Genre or Niche

I like a wide variety of music styles, but if I saw a poster up for a band that said “Well, we play pretty much every style of music, so you should definitely show up to our show because at some point we’re destined to play a song you at least maybe sorta like!”

I’m pretty sure neither you nor I would be interested.

If the poster said “Acoustic Singer-Songwriter” or even just “Rock” we would at least have a pretty good idea what to expect, and would be much more likely to consider going to the show.

Let’s say someone comes to the blog on your site and sees that your last three posts are about basketball, your favorite food, and blogging, respectively. Three topics that you’ve in no way tried to tie together. To be honest, unless it’s your dear sweet mother, the lack of a clear focus will never drive someone to subscribe or come back.

You don’t need to appeal to the food people, the sports, people, and the blogging people. The more specific your focus of your site, the more likely you will be able to gain a loyal following of people wanting more information in your specific niche.

3. Create and Give

If a band ever really wants to go anywhere, they have to create something. Whether it’s a video or a recording of an original composition or a cover, something has to be created.

If you immediately stash away your creation and start asking people who have never heard of you to buy it, you’re going to have some lonely sales numbers.

I know that I’ve personally never bought an album from a group that I had never heard play or heard any of the songs before. So the band uploads their video to YouTube, and their recordings to MySpace, and they give away snippets of their songs or even complete downloads for free.

They allow you to taste it just enough that you want some more.

Whether you are selling products, services, or anything else, you have to allow your audience to get enough of a feel for what you are doing, or they’ll rarely even enter your sales cycle.  Don’t be afraid to give things away for free. Karma does exist online.

4. Tell the world

So the rock band has a YouTube channel and a Facebook page, and they have some songs uploaded to MySpace. That’s fantastic, but I’ll still never find them unless they take action.

So they find where their target audience is, and they do whatever they can to get advertisements, posters, or any other way to get the word out and into that space.

As a business owner or blogger, finding your target audience online is an extremely important step. Find a niche forum or community that you can add value to. Get out there and make yourself known, and don’t be shy. If you blog, write guest posts and get featured on sites where your target audience hangs out.

Make yourself known and tell the world about your product or service, and what it can do for them. Be bold.

5. Kick doubters (including yourself) to the curb

As the rock band tries to get into larger venues, there will undoubtedly be some people that tell them they can’t do it. They might even doubt themselves and tell themselves they can’t do it. The rock band that makes it learns to kick all the doubters and self-doubt to the curb and pushes through.

As you try to build an online presence, there will surely be people who scoff at the idea. They’ll tell you that you can’t do it. You’ll probably get rejected for a guest post or two along the way as well. You might even get rejected over and over again.

Don’t let anyone else tell you that you can’t do it or that you won’t make it. They’re intimidated by the prospect of your success. Drive through the hard times and remember that it does get easier. If you quit though, you’re just proving the doubters right.

Kick the insecurities to the curb and put yourself out there. You won’t regret it.

6. Consistently Deliver

Once the rock band has practiced a lot, specified their genre, created music, shared that music, told the world, and kicked all doubters to the curb, they’re on the fast track to success.

There is one last piece of the puzzle that is very important.

Consistently Deliver.

You have to continue to practice, create, and improve. If the rock band quits delivering quality content to their fans, they’ll quickly fade into memories. If they keep generating content but at the expense of great quality, the same fate awaits them.

Strive every day to improve in some way. Learn continuously. Read books that inspire you. Pass on new thoughts, insights, and interesting content to your audience. Give your audience more than they expect. Be generous. Your generosity will come back to you in many forms, but only if you consistently deliver.

Rock Bands Win This Time, Kevin Costner

While field of dreams was a great movie, it doesn’t work as a strategy. I’ve tried it.  I built it, and they didn’t come.

It’s time to take the rock band approach, who’s with me?

How could you be more like the rock band in your approach? What other strategies have helped you succeed? Let me know in the comments!

About Brock Taylor

Brock Taylor (@brockstaylor) is a writer, entrepreneur, designer, and web marketing coach. He runs Web Marketing Camp where he teaches small businesses and entrepreneurs how to leverage the power of the internet to reach their goals.

13 thoughts on “Rock Band Marketing, or Field of Dreams – What’s your approach to business?

  1. What a thought provoking post. As I was reading it, I was really struck by point #3 & #4. What a good correlation. Then I read point #6 and the doubts really started to creep in. What if you spend all this time on your blog (hours and hours) and it never pays off? At what point do you call it quits?

    An excellent and well written post. Thanks.

    • Hey Elisabeth,
      When the doubts start to creep in, you have to step back and look at #5! Kick the doubters to the curb. It’s easy to let doubt creep in, but if you are consistent enough and are doing everything you can to practice, have specified your niche, and you continue to create and improve, you’ll make it in time.

      Step back and look at the reason you started. One of my favorite quotes for entrepreneurship is “if you lose your “why,” you lose your way.” Make sure to remember *why* you want to be successful, and if it is important to you, then it’s up to you to take the rock band approach and make success happen.

      If you are persistent and aren’t ever settling, you will be successful in time! Call it quits *ONLY* if you remember clearly why you started and why you want to be successful, but the reasons no longer make sense in your current situation (i.e. you started another business and it went gangbusters, so you no longer need your first business to survive. Or you won the lottery and don’t want to do anything but sit on the beach and watch waves every day for the rest of your life).

      Anyways, keep pushing through and making it happen. You won’t regret it! Hope that helps!

  2. Rock bands start up because they love their music. They live, breathe, eat and sleep music. It is such a passion, that nothing can stand in their way and they will do everything in their power to make it happen.

    To have a successful blog, you need to have that same passion. If you’re trying to write about something you “sorta like”, it just won’t wash with your readers. They’ll suss you out in no time!

    Write about what you love and not only will it be easier for you, your enthusiasm will be picked up by your audience, who’ll love you for it.

  3. Hi Brock

    This is an awesome article – thank you so much.

    The comparison between those two issues is really insightful an could not be more precise. I agree with all your points and also to their sequence. I once explained in a discussion about success the following metaphor:

    Imagine, for every project, every business, every dream you want to accomplish you have to walk 10 meters. No more, no less – 10 meters. The point is, that for every individual or company the route is different. Some may go the 1st 5 meters with ease, the next 2 have a hard time, the last 3 again easily. Some may have only barriers while fighting the 1st 3 meters, easily jumping to number 7, being stuck there for a while and again fighting the last 3.

    If someone starts a project, walks the 1st 7 meters and then says: „It did not work“, starts another one, maybe gives up after 5 meters and so on – the distance will be shorter each time he takes a nwe challenge. He tries until it gets hard and gives up, until he even does not try anymore.

    When I start a new project I know there are those 10 meters to walk. If it gets hard – ok, meter #5 and #6 may be tricky to walk, but they will be followed by easier ones. This concept helps to make the full way to walk easier and straightforward.

    Thanks again for your great article, I look forward to reading more from you.

    Warm regards

  4. Great post Mr Taylor, the nuggets that you have outlined are not new but guess what? You have given them life with the analogy of the ‘Rock band’. From this post all readers should easily understand the best approach to online business. You have set out these nuggets in a simple and practical manner.

    You have helped me to decide on my Niche this morning and I thank you for this. I write generally but you have put a ‘spoke into my wheel’ for the need to be laser focus on specific goods or services, I went into myself and I have decided on which Niche I will be focusing on.
    I thank you very much for provoking me to make this move.

  5. This was a well-written and helpful post. The analogy of The Field of Dreams vs. A Rock Band helped me understand that to accomplish my dreams of success, I first need to solidify my message. I am like that band who can play many different styles; there is just so much I want to talk about. Finding the underlying message and focusing on that message is what I need to so. Once I decide upon this, I have the determination and drive to make it happen.

  6. Hi Brock,
    This is a good post on how niche marketers lose sight of their dream. No matter what niche someone is in, you have to work at it every day. Most beginners have been sold a bill of goods just like the field of dreams analogy. Build it and you are on auto-pilot from day one. Not so, as you so clearly stated – good job. Building an audience and having influence with them is one of the most difficult tasks to do in the internet marketing world.

  7. What a fantastic post! I love the comparison between The Field of Dreams and the Rock Band. I started my blog in March and I’m finding it difficult to get people to my site, even with all my social media efforts. I will continue to battle on in the hope that I manage to get a ‘Rock Star’ audience one day because I am passionate about my topic and I really want to help and inspire people.

  8. This is a fabulous post that more people need to read! I’ve had conversations with people about building sites, and pointing out that just because they build it DOES NOT mean anyone will come! Some people believe me, and others don’t. They just don’t understand how people could stay away from such an awesome concept as theirs. I’ve tried to point out that yes, their idea is great, but people can’t utilize it if they don’t know it’s there!

    I’ve always known that getting myself out there is the only way to get traffic – but it is still easier said than done. : )

    Recently I noticed that my business was feeling a little stagnant, and that I was doubting everything that I was doing. Fortunately, I also realized that I had stopped LEARNING! So I dug up some courses I’ve been meaning to go through, and hunted down some new blogs to follow (including this one!) Things seem to be turning around, particularly in my head, where it all starts.

    So thank you for this post. You drew some great parallels. I’m going to note some of this down in my success journal, to make sure it sticks. : )

  9. Excellent post! My blog traffic is growing slowly, but steadily. I just put out my first product and am having some trouble trying to figure out how to market it. The Rock Band analogy is right on! I hadn’t thought about it this way, but the things that have worked best so far are definitely of the Rock Band variety, not of the Field of Dreams variety. I absolutely love that movie by the way. Believing in yourself in spite of so much trial and discouragement! Amazing!

  10. Surely the field of dream method will work well within Google, in my opinion. You need to fill your online business with original material and when a Google bot comes through you’ll have lots of SEO.

  11. Pingback: 5 Internet Marketing Links That You Can't Miss

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