The Marketing Plan – The Final Touch

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As we wrap up The Marketing Plan series, there are a few things we need to do to ensure the core consumers of our genre for Circleslide are aware of their new release.

– an eblast to subscribers of CCM Magazine. The eblast will go out to 70K+ core Christian music consumers

iTickets “free download of the week” . Anyone who has bought a ticket to a Christian music concert through iTickets in the past and who has opted in to receive pertinent info from iTickets will receive a free download of one of the songs from the new Circleslide record.

– new artist feature on

– new artist feature on

We have defined our target consumer, covered the basics with radio and publicity, created some Big Idea marketing and ensured that the core audience for our genre is aware of the release. Now it’s time to release the record and let the public vote. Please join us on October 5 for the release of Circleslide “Echoes of The Light”

The Marketing Plan – Add A Little Orange Juice!

Orange Micro Crush

Orange Micro Crush

As we continue our creative process in the series on Marketing Music and in particular Marketing Christian Music, we are looking to add to our Big Idea from last week. One thing that I find really helps in this process is to do a quick scan of all the relationships the artist has in place with organizations, ministries, product lines etc. We recently secured an Orange Amp endorsement for Circleslide so we decided to explore synergies that we could put in place. Orange was very receptive to the idea and offered to use their 50K+ database to help us market the release. Orange provided us with a Micro Crush amp and some t-shirts to put together a promotion. Our promotion consists of the following.

1) We are hosting a scavenger hunt where we are hiding Circleslide cds wrapped in Orange Amp t-shirts around the country. Location clues will be posted on both the Circleslide and Orange Amp social network sites. The scavenger hunt will launch street week.

2) A contest will launch in mid-October to give-a-way the Micro Crush amp. Entrants will have to listen to the new Circleslide cd to figure out which of the seven songs the Orange amp was used on. Then they will the be required to create a YouTube video of themselves playing air guitar to one of those songs. Circleslide will pick their favorite video and the winner walks away with the Micro Crush amp!

The Marketing Plan – The Big Idea

The Single Cover

The Single Cover

My favorite part of music marketing and in particular Christian music marketing, is the creative process. In the previous posts of our marketing series, we defined Circleslide’s target consumer, we covered the basics at radio and publicity and we established our branding concept. The next step is to find one or two creative Big Ideas to center your plan around. I find the best way to approach this is to first of all spend time listening to the record.

As I listened to the new Circleslide record, one of the songs “You Are Everything” put the imagery of a painting in my mind. Wouldn’t it be cool if we married music and art in a way that had never been done? Through a cursory search of painters, one person in particular came to mind. A friend of mine named Randy Elrod spends his life creating culture through music and art. Randy is a painter himself so I sent him the song along with the idea of having him paint the song. Fortunately, Randy immediately fell in love with the song. We commissioned Randy to paint the song and had him video tape the actual process. Once the painting was complete, we sped up the video using time lapse and created a music video. iTunes sells video singles called vingles so I decided to name our idea the Art Vingle. The Art Vingle marries art and music allowing the consumer to own living breathing art. We scheduled the release of the Art Vingle on iTunes for one week prior to the record in hopes of creating a buzz building up to street week. Randy Elrod has one of the top blogs in the world and is followed by many worship leaders in the top culture influencing churches across the country. He agreed to blog about the Art Vingle upon release. We will be implementing a viral plan with the video on Youtube. Our plan also includes working press for both music and art publications around the Art Vingle.

The Art Vingle is our first Big Idea and it will be available on iTunes September 28. Next week we will introduce another Big Idea for the Circleslide release.

The Marketing Plan – Developing A Branding Strategy

Last week in our marketing music series we covered the basics which are radio and publicity. Now we move on to branding. In order to bring a consistent message to our target consumer, we need to determine our branding strategy. Branding begins with a title for the record, photo shoot and packaging design.



The title of the record was easy as Circleslide’s front man, Gabe Martinez, was already convinced that we should name the record after one of the songs on the record titled “Echoes of The Light.”

For the Circleslide photo shoot we chose Thomas Petillo. Thomas has worked with Robert Plant, Marty Stuart, Kid Rock, Chris Tomlin and Matthew West to name a few. His style of photography lines up well with Circleslide. We requested an in-studio photo session with some creative elements of light. Thomas captured some great photographs utilizing the band and different light bulbs.

Circleslide’s record label, Save the City, hired designer Brian Glassco to design the packaging. Brian brought in even more creative light elements to layer on top of Thomas Petillo’s photograph for the cover. The elements were designed to flow throughout the packaging. In addition to the packaging, Brian designed web banners and images for social networks using consistent light images from the photo shoot and colors from the packaging.

Echoes of the Light Cover

Echoes of the Light Cover

Now that we have our “Echoes of the Light” theme, we will turn up the creative marketing for our blog post next week.

The Marketing Plan – Covering The Basics

Covering the basics is important to every marketing plan whether it is marketing mainstream music or Christian music marketing. Last week we defined our target consumer for Circleslide. Now it’s time to cover the basics for marketing the release. I define the basics as radio & publicity. It you don’t have a plan for at least one of those, then you may as well pack up and go home because no one is going to know that your record exists. It is possible to launch a record with either radio or publicity alone but if you want the best chance for success then your plan should include both.

Radio – One thing Circleslide has been missing in the past is radio. We worked two years with the band on their writing to ensure that we have strong contenders for radio. While there is still no guarantee that radio will play the songs, we feel confident we have great radio songs. Finding the right radio team is vital. There are several Christian radio promotion people who are great at what they do but we thought James Riley would be our best choice for Circleslide. James has been part of the success of many #1 songs throughout his major label career and he really believes in Circleslide’s music. He helped us narrow down to the song “Looking Up” which is the song he thinks has the best shot at radio. With Jame’s direction, we decided to work both Christian AC and CHR radio simultaneously.

Publicity – Publicity is vital to any record release! I have seen records succeed without radio airplay as long as the publicity campaign was strong. The publicist’s job is to secure press coverage in the places where your target consumer hangs out. The only way consumers know that a product is available is if somebody tells them. The publicist also helps get a current bio in place which is a key item needed in telling the story. Circleslide’s record label, Save The City Records, has a publicist on staff so there was no need to hire an indy. I recommend a 5 month plan for publicity campaigns. Ideally, the story should begin being told a couple months prior to release and continue for at least a few months after release. Below are some of the various stories/angles we will be rolling out for Circleslide.

1) signing with a new Provident/Integrity distributed label, Save The City Records

2) new record “Echoes of The Light” streeting October 5

3) Circleslide has been through much opposition the last year including their home & music gear destroyed in the Nashville flood, gall bladder surgery for front man Gabe Martinez, Gabe’s bout with E coli, death of loved one and immediate family diagnosed with inoperable cancer.

4) new partnership with Mercy Ministries

5) other nuggets we will reveal over the next few weeks

Do you have radio or publicity experiences to share?

The Marketing Plan – Defining Your Target Consumer

Define Your Target

Define Your Target

The first step in any marketing plan, regardless of what kind of product you are marketing, should be to define your target consumer. It is extremely unproductive to begin a product launch without knowing who you are targeting.

The marketing plan that I will be rolling out in this blog series is for the band Circleslide. Circleslide primarily records and plays shows for Christian audiences. That makes it pretty easy to determine the first trait of the consumer we are targeting. Our target consumer would be a Christian who listens to music. That is still a very broad target as it could be anyone from a young child to a 90 year old who rocks to the hymnal every Sunday. I had some preconceived notions of Circleslide’s audience when I first began to work with them. Assuming their audience was a male rocker 18-30 couldn’t have been further from the actual. That is why a little research is always a great idea. I traveled to a few shows and observed. Who attended the shows? Of those attendees, who seemed to enjoy the show? And who swarmed the merch table to buy cds? Much to my surprise it was Becky! Becky is a name the Christian music industry uses to describe “soccer moms” age 25-45 who listen to Christian radio and frequently buy Christian music and books. The Becky’s of the world love the band when they see them live and they especially love the stories that frontman, Gabe Martinez weaves into the show.The reason this was such a surprise is that Circleslide has seen very little Christian AC radio airplay preventing them from being exposed to the Becky masses. However, their new record has several songs that promise to be strong contenders at Christian AC airplay. There are even a couple worship songs on the record which tends to please Becky. All that being said, it is apparent that Becky will be our primary target. Circleslide also has a rock edge. Not screamo or metal but more of a Bruce Springsteen/Zeppelin/U2 kind of rock. The kind of rock Becky’s husband Todd might appreciate. This really helped narrow our focus. The record has enough medium to ballad AC songs that Becky will love while offering enough rock to keep Todd interested. Becky and Todd can finally share and enjoy the same cd!

Target Consumer: Women age 25-40 who listen to Christian AC radio and their husbands. Circleslide’s “Echoes of The Light” presents a unique music experience that will appeal to Becky while giving her husband (Todd) enough rock to make it a record that they can enjoy together.

Do you have experiences in defining a target consumer that you would like to share?

Does Your Marketing Suck?

The Ultimate Vacuum!

The Ultimate Vacuum!

If your marketing doesn’t SUCK maybe you need a better plan? The whole idea of marketing is to create a plan that causes consumers/customers to joyously suck up your goods or services. In order to create the suction, you need a plan.

Before Diana and I launched Artist Garden Entertainment, I logged 20 years working for record companies. I worked on the distribution side and we were dependent on our record labels to provide marketing plans. Surprisingly, for the last seven years that I worked for one of the big Christian music companies, I saw very few marketing plans from our 15+ labels. There were a few exceptions, Big Idea and INO, who did provide exceptional marketing plans for every release. It’s no surprise those two companies continue to excel while the others went out of business or soon will be closing their doors. The frustration I had with the absence of marketing plans in Christian music drove me deep into a study of marketing. What I found was, it’s really not that difficult to write and implement a plan. The marketing plan is your road map to reaching the consumer. As Dora The Explorer says “Without a map how would we know where to go? Can you say map?” (Can you tell I spend time with children?)

I do quite a bit of marketing these days and without a marketing plan, I would be lost. I thought it would be fun to roll out one of my plans on The Music Gardener blog. Over the next month or so, I will be posting a blog series called “The Marketing Plan” Wow! I know that title is creative but “it is what it is.” I’m saving my creativity for the actual plan. Hopefully, you will glean something out of what I share. I encourage you to leave comments with your thoughts. Input from creative people is priceless!

Tomorrow I will begin the series with “Defining your Target Consumer”