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13 Marketing Strategies I Learned from Taylor Swift

If you don’t think Taylor Swift is a marketing genius, be prepared to have your mind blown…

13 Marketing Lessons Learned from Taylor Swift by Katie O. Selvidge, Founder of Cottage Hill and Business Editor™ to Discerning Creatives |


Whether you identify as a ‘Swiftie’ or not, there’s no denying Taylor Swift’s power in not only the music industry but our culture and even, our economy. On 4.26, she debuted her latest music in the form of her single ME! featuring Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco ushering a new era full of butterflies, rainbows and of course, more cats. A far detour from her snakes motif with the Reputation era, and regardless of what you think of the actual song, what has remained the same is Taylor’s genius at not only her craft but how she shares it.

Leading up to her Easter egg-infused countdown to 4.26, I decided to share on my Instagram Live 12 marketing lessons I learned while attending her Reputation concert with Camila Cabello and Charli XCX in Houston, TX.

Watch the video below to listen to in, then check out my thoughts on her TS7 launch tactics thus far (aka, my 13th lesson). Spoiler Alert: Taylor Swift still a freaking genius at creating buzz and appearing to genuinely engage with her fans—FACTS ONLY.


One of my favorite lessons learned has to do more with her creativity than her marketing genius, and that is she creates from truth. She pulls inspiration from her real life and doesn’t create a rendition of someone else’s work. There’s inspiration, sure; but the source material is real life—her real life.

From her speech at the Time 100 Gala:

Swift gave a little speech in between songs like “Style” and “Delicate,” referencing the famous Nora Ephron quote that “everything is copy.” “Everything that happened to her, she used on inspiration,” Swift said. “And I think that one of my favorite things about female writers, about writers in general, about people who take what happens to them and they process it and they put it out into the world, is if you write, you can turn your lessons into your legacy. And so I’m just really happy to get to do this.” – via Glamour from the Time 100 Gala


The 13th Lesson: The Queen of Launches

Taylor Swift has always been known for creating buzz and hype for her new music through cryptic countdowns full of Easter eggs on her Instagram or inside jokes with her fans on Tumblr. But when you look at it from a marketing standpoint, there is an intention, a business intention, behind every single action.

Look at her launch strategy for TS7:

She doesn’t create new content for her countdown. She just took snaps of different scenes in her upcoming music video. What can we learn from this? To build hype, you do not have to re-invent the wheel and create completely new visuals or copy. Save yourself the time and money.

The Easter eggs and clues in the ME! video were not just for the fans enjoyment—this was her brilliant way to ensure replays…landing her to once again break YouTube and Vevo records. How can you make it fun for your audience to help you break records? Instead of just saying, “Double tap if you ____” or having a leading question at the end of every Instagram caption (#lame), how can you make it fun for your followers to engage with you and help you grow?

Flowers, food and baby animals always win. Years ago, I flew to LA to take an Instagram workshop hosted by Bri Emery of Design Love Fest, and a joke she shared—that was actually very true—was that if you post flowers, food or puppies you’re going to win at Instagram. Taylor knew exactly what she was doing having her newest kitten, Benjamin Button, make his public debut in her music video. My personal opinion is relying on these things, or worse creating a feed purely of reposting other people’s work (or stealing other people’s quotes and designing them into your own branding) is not a good practice. It’s cheap and doesn’t take the effects of those vanity metrics anywhere productive. However, once in a while when it’s on brand to use your new kitten or puppy to get people’s attention about something awesome you’re doing…I don’t have a problem with that at all, and honestly, it works!

With every merch purchase, you also get a copy of her new album….Y’all, this method is going to drive her album sales numbers through the roof! How does this apply to small business? What is something you sell that does not cost you like a download or something already created and perhaps you’ve already paid yourself back for the time and cost investment to create it? Better yet, maybe you have a freebie that takes your audiences into a sales funnel. What if your audience gets that freebie…for ‘free’…with the purchase of something else? It doesn’t take anything away from you and furthers your connection and potential second purchase from that person. It’s a win-win.

I almost fell prey to this, but I had to check myself: Taylor is selling ‘limited-edition’ merch that you can only order within a 24-hour period. This is what blows my mind the most, so so smart. This would be a great tactic for someone who sells tangible products. What if you made too much of something or have leftover of a product? Instead of putting it in a sale, where no one will feel compelled to buy it, keep that price right where it is and create scarcity where your audience only has so many hours to buy it. Seriously, I freaked out for about two minutes when she did this the first time, then I took a step back and almost slow clapped all by myself for the brilliance Taylor’s team is demonstrating.

OK, I’ve got a serious question now…

Did you enjoy this blog post and my video?

Would you like more from me analyzing how celebrities, musicians, and movies market themselves and how they can apply to our creative businesses?

Because I’ll be honest, I LOVE doing this! And if you want more, I will gladly give you more.

So let me know in the comments…you can just say Yes or No.

If there are enough Yes’s I may have to do this for the Marvel Cinematic Universe next, what do you think about that? Let me know below!

13 Marketing Lessons Learned from Taylor Swift by Katie O. Selvidge from her 4.26 Instagram Live (@katieoselvidge) for the ME! music video with Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco featured on TS7

Want more Taylor Swift-inspired reading like this? Check out this blog post about Defamation, inspired by her infamous feud with Kayne West and Kim Kardashian West.

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  1. Katy says:

    Yes yes yes!! I looooove learning marketing taco! More please 😀


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