Last week’s 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band found me enjoying listening to the classic album by The Beatles. I’ve loved this album for as long as I can remember.  As a kid my older brother, Sean and I would put it on and listen to the entire album, reading the lyrics and liner notes, looking at inserts and wanting to cut them out.  

Fast forward to today and I find myself listening to the album and hearing these marketing lessons that I have listed out.  Each song seemed to have a specific marketing lesson that relates strongly to my work life, echoing best practices and marketing strategy and tactics.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

We’re Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
We hope you will enjoy the show

It’s wonderful to be here
It’s certainly a thrill
You’re such a lovely audience
We’d like to take you home with us
We’d love to take you home

Starting with the opening track, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles remind of us an important lesson.  Establish your brand and its promise.  Straight up, this is who we are and this is what you should expect of us.  You always have to establish these two points when communicating with your audience.

Both Apple and Google have established themselves as global top brands.  Google’s brand is so synonimous with its original feature, search, that most people say “Google it”.

With A Little Help From My Friends

Oh I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm gonna try with a little help from my friends
Oh I get high with a little help from my friends
Yes I get by with a little help from my friends
With a little help from my friends

Great marketing campaigns are a result of strong collaboration, both internally and externally.  Internally we need to collaborate with our teams of copywriters, designers, developers, process owners, strategists, executives and other employees.  Externally we have partners, influencers, analysts, customers and prospects that we collaborate with in order to succeed.  

According to a recent Bizable State of Pipeline Marketing report22.2% of respondents said that word-of-mouth referrals have the greatest impact on revenue, the most of any marketing channel or activity.

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

Picture yourself in a boat on a river
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes

What we would all give for a copywriter that comes up with some as beautiful as the imagery painted by John Lennon! Lucy reminds us that we all have to tap into our creative talents to create expressions that attracts and we hope, admiration from our audiences.  John Lennon’s song based on his child’s drawing about his school friend, Lucy, illustrates creative that breaks tradition in order to create something new and different and gets the audience’s attention.  Albeit the audience thought Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was a veiled reference to LSD!

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by Julian Lennon, Age 3

Getting Better

I’ve got to admit it’s getting better (Better)
A little better all the time (It can’t get more worse)

Getting better? Sounds like marketing optimization to me! From data quality issues to tracking and measuring, digital marketing today keeps you on your toes in terms of room for improvement.  As we continuously improve and optimize we are moving forward in our sophistication.  

Always challenging due to the search engines shifting algorithms, we’ve witnessed search moving to mobile devices that dominate the search volume.

Fixing a Hole

I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in
And stops my mind from wandering
Where it will go

Just as you’re getting better in your data and optimization, there’s still holes to fix! When you find errors in the data or the process, you have to determine if it’s a big enough hole that needs attention now or it can wait.  

Also, are we fixing a hole for our customers? The answer to this question frames our strategy, messaging and content around the brand’s performances against the promise.

She’s Leaving Home

She (We gave her most of our lives)
Is leaving (Sacrificed most of our lives)
Home (We gave her everything money could buy)
She’s leaving home after living alone
For so many years (Bye bye)

One of the most important areas that is overlooked by marketing teams is when and why we lose customers. Unsubscribes to non-renewals, losing a customer or prospects is a great learning opportunity.  A well designed subscription center, coupled with follow up surveys can provide insight and areas of customer frustration you’re not aware of.

Speaking of the unsubscribe page, this is the missed opportunity of the majority of marketing departments. Check out the video Groupon created for their unsubscribe page.

Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite

For the benefit of Mr. Kite
There will be a show tonight on trampoline
The Hendersons will all be there
Late of Pablo Fanques Fair, what a scene!

Based on an 1843 circus poster John Lennon saw in a London store, he crafted another glorious creative song that reminds us of one of the most important marketing lessons, showmanship!  Don’t be afraid to tell your audience what you do and why you’re awesome!  You have to sell the steak and the sizzle in a way that excites your audience not just informs them.

19th-century circus poster for Pablo Fanque’s Circus Royal appearance at Rochdale. John Lennon purchased the poster in an antique shop on 31 January 1967

Within You Without You

We were talking about the space between us all
And the people who hide themselves behind a wall of illusion

Over time I’ve grown to love George Harrison’s Indian influence in this song. Now I see how it tells us to experiment, try different things to see what works and resonates with your audience.  The challenge to transcend the safe approach and connect on a different level. Step outside your zone from time to time, it could pay off big!

When I’m Sixty-Four

When I get older losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine?

Don’t we wish our customers asked questions like these? Wanting to know how long we’ll be there for them? We all know it’s easier to keep a customer than acquire a new one. This song speaks volumes about maintaining long term relationships with our customers.  All we need is an answer to the question of will we be there when we’re needed. Heck, Paul even says “Fill out a Form!”

Send me a postcard, drop me a line
Stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, wasting away
Give me your answer, fill in a form


Lovely Rita

Took her out and tried to win her
Had a laugh and over dinner
Told her I would really like to see her again

Lovely Rita is all about the lead generation and acquisition. Courting our prospects to become leads and eventually customers is what marketing is all about in today’s digital economy.  Rita being the object of affection in the song represents those desirable prospects that we spend a large amount of our time trying to get their attention and start a conversation.  

The cutout inserts from Sgt. Pepper

Good Morning, Good Morning

Nothing to say but what a day how’s your boy been
Nothing to do it’s up to you
I’ve got nothing to say but it’s OK
Good morning, good morning

Maintaining the right communication cadence with your audiences is a real science to marketing.  For both existing and potential customers we have to let the know we’re interested in what they have to say and the power to make the decisions rest in their hands.  From learning where your onboarding program is confusing to who’s delivering real customer value on your team, communicating with our customers is vital.

Sgt. Peppers Reprise

We’re Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
We hope you have enjoyed the show

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
We’d like to thank you once again

How many times can we thank our customers, influencers and fans? Never enough! In the reprise of the title track, The Beatles again thank us for being their audience. A lesson we can over look in marketing if we’re not careful.  You can never thank your customers too much if it’s relative to them and their success. Of course the Thank You Page is a great way to thank your customers as well as offer them something else of interest.

A Day in The Life

Found my coat and grabbed my hat
Made the bus in seconds flat
Found my way upstairs and had a smoke
And somebody spoke and I went into a dream

Every day we’re frantic and hectic at work, in our life and trying to keep up with all our life’s demands.  This opus end by The Beatles tells us how important the customer experience is.  We have to put ourselves in the customer’s shoes and try to best understand their challenges. Then we have an opportunity to create a unique and satisfying customer experience that delights our audiences the way The Beatles did.

Brian McDonald

Brian McDonald started Square Jaw Media to document strategies and techniques he had used over his experience working in marketing and communications since 1990. During this time Brian wrote about many of the exciting Raleigh social media events where great knowledge was being shared and tries to share some of the tips and tricks. . Read Brian's full bio.