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  • Writer's pictureThe James Kennedy Podcast


Mark Schaefer is one of the worlds leading marketing experts as well as an author, public speaker, blogger, podcaster and educator. His clients include companies like Adidas, Dell, Pfizer & Microsoft and his best selling books include 'Marketing Rebellion', 'Known' and 'Belonging to The Brand'. He has spoken in 35 countries, his books have been translated into 14 languages and his podcast has been downloaded more than ONE and a half million times. Here he shares his essential insights about social media, brand marketing, community building, mindset and...the big question! Crucial info for anyone hoping to get heard above the noise in 2023. Hear our conversation at :


What is up. Welcome back to the James Kennedy Podcast Episode 46 baby! I hope you enjoyed last week's chat with the awesome awesome Awesome Rou Reynolds from the awesome awesome awesome Enter Shikari who are currently tearing it up around the world as we speak. If you haven't listened to it yet, go and check it out. That is one cool dude dropping some knowledge. And since that one came out, I've already lined up another tonne of awesome guests who are going to be coming your way really, really soon. So stay tuned.

Also, since we last spoke, I attended a performance of a song that I co-wrote with the uber talented and lovely Miss Cat Southall called ‘Sing for Life’, which was performed by the Tenovus Cancer Choir at the Saint David's Theatre in Cardiff. It was a 400 piece choir performing a song that we wrote a good few years back now, which is be very close to both of our hearts. We wrote it specifically for the cancer charity in Cardiff called Tenovus and at the time they were trialling a new programme where they were trying to see if singing, specifically singing in choirs, brought about any physiological benefits to people suffering with cancer or, you know, the after effects of treatment and that sort of thing.

There was a documentary on Channel 4 about this, which followed the choir's journey from having never sung before to getting a standing ovation at the Royal Albert Hall in London. It was a hell of a journey, very, very emotional. Like I said, it was a few years back for us now, and we wrote a song called Sing for Life, which was kind of came after the documentary on Channel Four, which was called Sing for Your Life. And it's become kind of like their anthem as such, you know, and it's a song that's personally very close to both of our hearts. Obviously, I lost my father to that awful disease as well last year, and just the significance of what the lyrics mean and the fact that the people singing it are all affected by cancer.

So seeing a 400 strong choir of people from the community, not professional singers who are all going through something singing that song loud and proud in a packed out Saint David's Theatre in Cardiff was really, really something, and it was a fundraiser for the charity's 80th birthday, and it was a bill packed full of Welsh talent including Only Men Allowed were there, and of course, the incredible Amy Wadge who performed the set of absolute bangers, including, Thinking Out Loud and the song from Keeping Faith. I mean, her back catalogue at this point is absolutely insane. There's not an A list music star on the planet that she hasn't written for at this point. And it's mental because I saw Amy, you know, I used to know Amy, obviously, it's been a long, long time since we, you know, we we've spoken in that capacity. But, you know, I used to go to her shows when she was playing like solo acoustic gigs in a club in Cardiff, you know, 20 years ago to like, you know, a handful of people and I look at her now man, you know what I mean.

She's writing songs for Ed Sheeran and literally everybody else. It's absolutely incredible. So to see her in the theatre playing some of those songs really kind of, like hit home just how far she's come and how possible the dream is as well, you know? I mean, I'm seeing someone there that I used to know who's now living a completely different life. It was a lovely night all around. And to hear our song as well, you know, in perfect harmony with 400 voices. It was yeah, it was a very emotional, touching night.

So that's what I got up to last week, Amongst other things still plugging on with the book, you know, making good headway with that, I'd say I'm about halfway through now and, yeah, I mean, the more time I spent writing this thing, the more into it I get and the more I kind of just want to rush it out so you guys can read it, But unfortunately, publishing takes a long, long time, so I don't know when it's gonna be, but it's certainly not going to be this year before you get your mits on the thing. But things are gearing up with the band as we speak, there will be some new material, hopefully soon, as well as some other cool things we've been working on for a while now behind the scenes. And of course, there will be some shows coming really, really soon. So if you are on my mailing list, you will get the first announcements of where we're going to be playing.

If you're not on the mailing list, what are you doing on there right now? The address for that is Get in there, whack your email address in and put the city in the country that you live in as well. Because then, when we're planning our tour routing, we can see who's where, and we can come and play for you. So make sure you put the details in. Do subscribe. Don't worry, I don't spam. I send about one mail out, like every month or something like that when there's some good shit to talk about. So don't worry about getting spam, but please do head to James Kennedy stuff dot com slash tribe. Enter yourself into our mailing list. And then hopefully we can come and make some noise and have some good times with you guys. Super soon. Now that is the promo Out of the way. I think we should get down to business and bring on the real talent of today's episode. Man, Have I got a good one for you guys today?

Today's guest by no means needs to come on, my little podcast. They are already crushing it on pretty much every level, from best selling books to podcasts to Ted talks and TV appearances and sold out speaking engagements around the world. You know, they they don't need to come and talk to me, but they very, very kindly offered to come and give their time freely and to give awesome nuggets of knowledge and insight that is going to help all of you lucky listeners. So do not say I'm not good to you. And do not tell me that you haven't yet subscribed to the podcast. Whatever platform you're listening to this on press pause right now and go and it follow Subscribe.

Whatever you got to do, give me a star rating. You know, the usual jazz that I nag you about every week. Go and do it right now. I just want to get down to business and bring on today's guest because they have got so much knowledge that I want to tap into. And I had so many questions I want to ask them, and it's so little time to do so. So let's get on with it and bring on the star of the show. Mark Schafer is one of the world's leading marketing experts, as well as an author, public speaker, blogger, podcaster and educator. His clients include companies like Adidas, Dell, Pfizer and Microsoft, and his best selling books include Market in Rebellion, known and Belonging to the Brand. He has spoken in 35 countries. His books have been translated into 14 languages, and his podcast has been downloaded more than 1.5 million times. So I think it's safe to say that we're in pretty good hands today, guys. Mark, thank you so so much for doing this, my man. How you doing?

MARK SCHAEFER: Hey, I am doing great. It's just awesome to connect with you.

JAMES KENNEDY: Oh, likewise, man. 100%. I mean, I've been looking forward to this conversation ever since we locked it in. I mean, there are so many things I want to ask you, but I think we should just jump in head first and start with the biggie.

MARK SCHAEFER: The biggie, the biggie. Oh, my gosh. What could what could it be? I'm tingling.

JAMES KENNEDY: What? What is the meaning of life? Mark, What is the meaning of life? Tell us. The biggie for me is this right? I have lots of music industry guests on here, and we all talk about the merits of the new model versus the old myself. In particular, I'm a big evangelist for the new model that I can record my own music and put it out this next day if I want to. There are no gatekeepers or curators telling me what I can and can't do. It's empowering. It's democratisation. It's it's levelled the playing field. It's awesome. The problem comes when you want to put it out there and you're confronted with the realisation that everybody else on Planet Earth is also doing that. And this is a question that nobody in the music industry in particular, has been able to answer for me yet concisely is, What the hell do you do to get heard above the noise of everybody else also doing their thing?

MARK SCHAEFER: That is the big question. And you, You know, it's funny. That's basically what I have devoted my career to for the last 12 years, or maybe even longer. And And it kind of started around 2011, where I made this observation that and, you know, you and I before you pushed record, we started talking about the shift, right. The shift in the world, the shift in the industry, the shift with media. For me, it was really happening around 2010 2011. And I saw that the power in the world was moving from these big consolidated media companies and advertising agencies to the people. Once you can start creating content and remember, you know, in the early days of the Internet, being a musician or an artist, it really wasn't that feasible because we didn't have the bandwidth. We couldn't download anything right? You couldn't upload, you couldn't download. But then things started moving along, and that's when the power started to shift.

So in 2012, I wrote the first book on influence marketing called Return On Influence. Nobody was even talking about it. Nobody was even using that word. But this was a significant change where people, creators, artists, musicians, they could start creating their own brand on the Web. They could create their own influence, their own power, their own audience without a gatekeeper. This was a historic moment. This was a historic moment. So that was sort of the beginning of this trajectory. Ok, I saw the power shifting. I wrote this big book and then, ever since then I've been trying to figure out OK, what do we do about it?

Because it's true. And it happened. And now everybody's creating content and music and art. And now, if you thought it was noisy before, you ain't seen nothing yet, because now we've got Chat GPT and we've got Now we've got robots creating our content, and they never get tired and they never get hungry. And they, you know, don't go on strike. So that's they're gonna be creating infinite amounts of content. In some ways, it's great because it unleashes a new level of creativity. I mean, let's say you're a you're a musician, but but you're just you're not a good writer.

And what Chat GPT does is it is it does for writing what the calculator did for math. Right? If you hated math, the calculator made you adequate. You could do your taxes even if you never even understood what you were doing. And chat can do that now for for writing. We've got, programmes out there like mid journey. You can do that sort of thing for art. You know, I'm I'm now creating, you know, artificial intelligence generated art. For all of my content. All of my blogs. Oh, wow. And it's beautiful and compelling, and it's it's and it's fun to do. It's just fun to create. And so So the The positive of the beautiful thing about this James, is that it's it unleashes a whole new level of creativity.

If you if you if you were afraid of writing now you can be a writer. You know, if you never were that artistic, now you can create beautiful images. You can do art that goes along with your music at at the push of a button So that's the good. That's the good part about it. The exciting part about it. And, But there are also, you know, a lot, a lot of challenges, but but that. But that you, you are asking the right question is, is is is what do we do? And I think the short answer and maybe we can explore this a little bit more is, So I wrote a book in 2019 called Marketing Rebellion. And the subtitle was, the most human company wins. So it's most human, fill in the blank. Most human university, most human symphony, most human nonprofit because that is the key to how you stand out in this world is is to recognise that people want to experience the authentic human connection.

You got to peel back the curtain and show the world. This is what it's like to be me. This is the good. This is just like you did in your book, right? You peeled back the curtain and said, OK, this is what it's like to be me. This is what I'm learning. This is how I'm growing. This is these are these are the mistakes I made and that that that vulnerability is missing in in most of the world and all of the marketing. So if they if they if they get that from you, you you earn this connection that can turn into community.

JAMES KENNEDY: Great point. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. There is a kind of like an advertising burnout. Isn't there fatigue? You know, we've been have you get content saturation from every angle. Everybody's on the make. Everybody's trying to sell you something to someone that just have a direct, humane conversation with you is a breath of fresh air because everybody's got something to sell and as you said, it's a very, very noisy world out there right now and how anyone makes any sense of it. I don't know. I think my community struggles a lot with this because we may be talented in in a creative areas but not necessarily talented in business or marketing areas. So so we do struggle with that sort of thing.

But we are, ironically, perfectly placed because communication and authenticity and artistic expression is what we do, you know. So we we you would think we would be best at it. I think the confusion within my community, definitely from my own experience and that of my peers, is we're not really entirely sure what the process of marketing is in a basic sense. What are the sort of key fundamental principles of marketing? What am I doing? What am I hoping to achieve? How do I start and how do I get there? And how do I keep it going?

MARK SCHAEFER: This is a good intellectual challenge for me to describe the marketing process in five minutes or less.

JAMES KENNEDY: Yeah, sorry, man, no pressure

MARK SCHAEFER: I don't think I've ever done this before, James. So here we go.

All right, Number one. What is marketing? Marketing is the process of creating a customer. You know, underneath that there's a lot of things you can do. You kind of have to understand what your customers like and where they are and what's going on in their lives and how much money they have. But essentially it's creating a customer. For a musician, it's creating a fan that's gonna buy your work. Ok, Now there are two different kinds of marketing, and this is where a lot of people get confused.

One is direct marketing. So this would be if you go into a store and you see a coupon for Coca Cola. Coca Cola, they need to move more product. They can. They can have a coupon and the cans and then they'll sell more stuff. And it's pretty easy to measure you. You do coupons. You sell more stuff. It's pretty easy to measure. That's called direct marketing that's not so relevant to artists and musicians. I mean, I'm imagining you've probably never had a sale. You know, you probably never said it's Boxing Day. We're going crazy. Two for one special. I mean, that's not how it works right now. Here's what does work.

This is the second kind of marketing, and that's called Brand Marketing. So let's go back to the Coca Cola example. I gave a speech in Poland before the pandemic, and it was it was a huge thousands of people in this audience. It was an amazing event, and I said, when you think of Coca Cola, what do you what do you think of? It's sort of a rhetorical question, but somebody from the audience yells out polar bears. So even in even in Poland, you think of Coca Cola. That's polar bears. Now why? Why does Coca Cola do that? Because they don't want you to think about, you know, high caloric sugar water that makes you sick, right? They want wanna create an expectation of feeling when you interact with this product. It's supposed to make you warm and friendly and happy, and you share it with family special occasions and you drink it on the beach. That's Coca Cola. It's a feeling that you expect now.

Now we're getting somewhere. So the key to marketing for a musician or an artist is to create a feeling that you expect, and you deliver on that feeling every time and that feeling is gonna connect to your audience. That's why some people might like Taylor Swift and some people might like Radiohead, and some people might like Ozzy Osborne. They're completely different feelings, completely different expectations, but it connects to you in some authentic and organic way. Ok, now all right. So here we are. Our job as a musician is to create a meaning, a feeling that connects us to our audience. That makes us different. That creates loyalty. Because as long as you deliver on that, and that's why a musician might struggle. So let's say you got a, you know, a rock and roll artist, and then all of a sudden they create a country album.

Now you're gonna lose to a lot of people because the expectation has been breached. Ok, so that's so that's really what marketing is about. Now the good thing about the world today is that every person and every artist has an opportunity to reach directly to their fans through any you know, all kinds of different kinds of social media, you know, outlets, and so we don't have to worry about gatekeepers. We don't have to pay advertising agencies. We just have to really show up in a human way that reflects our brand. That's consistent with our brand. And typically, you know, as you sort of mentioned that, you know, an artist and their persona, it's generally gonna be consistent with who they are, anyway. I mean, unless you're, like, Kiss, you know, then all bets are off.

But, you know, for most you know, singer songwriters, you you're gonna be, so the idea is, how can you take people along on your journey and let them in on what you're doing Now, here. Now we're gonna connect the last dot and this really, this is where I have a new book out. So this is this is like, the evolution of my thinking, and my new book is about community. So most artists, naturally, they're doing something on social media. Social media is cool. Because it gives you the opportunity to connect to people who have never heard of you before. So you can reach this vast new audience. You've got the potential to, you know, possibly reach the whole world. But it's a weak relational link. I have 180,000 followers on Twitter. If I put out on Twitter. Hey, everybody. I've got a new book, you know? Or I got a new album out. How many people will buy it? Almost none. Because it's like throwing a message in a bottle out into the ocean, right its ephemeral. The people are there. The connection is possible. But I mean, is it really gonna connect with people?

So the strategy is to take them to the next step, which is an audience. So do you have something they can subscribe to? A blog, a podcast, a video series, an INSTAGRAM account. Now it's not throwing a bottle into the ocean. It's reliable reach. They're saying, I love you. I want to hear from you. I want to know everything about you. And now you've got an audience. And if you say I've got a new album out, they're gonna buy a lot of albums, right? So the strategy is, you know, create this, you know, brand, connect on social media, but bring the social media, you know, connections into an audience, encourage them to subscribe.

Now, unfortunately, this is where more most businesses and most artists stop. You know, I've got my thing, I've got my audience. That's cool. The ultimate emotional connection. That's what we want. We want the strongest possible emotional connection that is a community. Ok, so let's use Kiss as an example. Kiss. They've got the brand. They're on social media. They've got, you know, they've got an audience, but they've also got the Kiss Army, the Kiss freaking Army. Now here's the difference in an audience. It's a cult of personality. If you go away, the audience goes away. But in a community people know each other. There's communion. There's a purpose bigger than the music. It's like, look at my Kiss, T-shirt. Look at my Kiss makeup. You look at my recording from this show. Oh my gosh, they're on their final tour, right? And so it's like a neighbourhood. And here's the interesting thing that I found in my research, James. So my new book is called Belonging to the Brand - The Last Great Marketing Strategy. Because, you know, you know, we we're blocking ads. We're in a streaming economy. We don't want ads, We don't see ads. We don't believe ads, but we need community. We don't just want community. We need community to be fully human beings. We have got to be in community. This is the only kind of marketing that people actually want.

So the key the ultimate is to bring people into a community and then and then focus on getting people once they know each other. And they have a place where their friends are, they're never gonna leave you because that means they gotta leave their friends, right? Yeah, it literally belong to the brand. Yeah, A community creates a layer of emotional switching costs. They can't leave you. They're gonna always be loyal to you because that's where their peeps are. That's where their friends are. And its the most powerful kind of marketing there is. So there you go. That is artistic marketing strategy in five minutes.

JAMES KENNEDY: That was amazing. Thank you so much for doing that. If there was an audience here now, there'd be a standing ovation.

MARK SCHAEFER: I'll just imagine it in my mind.

JAMES KENNEDY: Yes, yes. Please do, because when this episode goes out, there will be a fragmented audience all around the world who will be doing exactly that like finally, finally, it makes sense. Now someone has just condensed it all down succinctly into five minutes and cleared up all of the noise on this issue. So thank you so much for doing that. That was brilliant. And a lot of what you said resonated with me personally because I've fallen foul to a lot of those pitfalls myself. In the sense that when I first discovered the power of social media, I really threw myself into it head first, and I built up organically a large audience of over several 100,000 followers across my various pages online, which was awesome, right? But only a very small proportion of that following became an actual engaged audience and listening to what you just said, I think it's because I focused exclusively on attracting as large an audience as I could and not on building an actual intimate human community.

So what's the missing link there? How does one go from utilising the amazing powers of social media to attract and build their tribe, you know, but also to then develop that into the sort of self sustaining community that you just described?

MARK SCHAEFER: Well, there are two things I think in terms of the artists. I mean, normally, if I was talking about a company, I would start with the culture of the company I mean, is it a cult of? Is it a company that really cares about their customers, or do they just want to hit their quarterly sales number? I assume if you're an artist or a band, that doesn't really matter, because you are the culture. Now here's the big thing that a lot of people miss is. Well, let's go back to this idea of brand and what you stand for. Here's an example that's easy to understand Patagonia. So when you hear this brand Patagonia, you know, they stand for environmental sustainability, responsible recreation. I mean everything they do and everything they say.

I mean, I think I just read last year the like the founder of the company is selling the company and taking all the profits and giving it to environmental causes. So I mean, that's what they're about. I've got a friend who only buys Patagonia, which, by the way, is not the cheapest clothing. But he says, I only buy Patagonia because my purpose intersects with their purpose. So he literally belongs to the brand. So you get back to this idea of like, what do you what do you stand for you know, What do you stand for? What kind of sense of fun or what sense of social commitment Or you know what? What? What's going on with you and then you You you move people into a community because they wanna be part of whatever you're part of. It might just be fun. It might just be I wanna be entertained in a certain way. That's perfectly fine.

Other other ways, it might be people wanna they wanna grow. Maybe they wanna change the world in the same way you do. And the artist might think, Well, look, I can change the world in a bigger way. If I've got my fans with me, I can have more fun. If I have my fans with me, I can create better art If I have my fans with me. I can get on a bigger stage if I can have my fans with me. So what can you do? Bigger and better and have a bigger impact. If people are coming alongside you because they believe in the same thing you do. So that's the That's the next thing and then they need a they need a place to gather. It could be I mean, a lot of people today are going on to Discord. My community is on Discord. I have a community dedicated to learning about the future of marketing. There are people there from all over the world challenging each other with new ideas. Now, you know, how does that grow? You know how my purpose is. You know, I'm I'm writing books and blogging and giving speeches about the future of marketing. So that's my purpose. And that's their purpose. And we're growing each other, and we're we're learning. And every blog post I write now, every speech I give somewhere in that is an idea that came out of this community. We're pushing each other and learning.

And so maybe you say, Hey, everybody, you know, we're gonna get on Discord, and then you set up different chat rooms of things that are going on and maybe every once in a while you come on and give a little You'll you'll play a little song or say hello. Use the audio channel, use the video channel on discord, you know, have a little effect. Prime the pump and then watch the watch for For for For leaders who emerge, people who wanna start a discussion. Maybe they want to start a newsletter about you. Maybe they want to help you with promotions. Maybe you set up people in different cities. If you're on tour, you know, on the ground kind of people and you find those volunteers who who build the community for you. And so now I mean, I've got, you know, people in my community were doing experiments in the Metaverse. I'm not doing it. They're organising the whole thing. They decided they some people wanted to start a podcast.

We're starting a podcast. We're writing a book. We're writing a book together. It's gonna come out in in June. We're doing experiments with with NFT’s, and the last thing I'll say is we're talking here about Discord in an online community, but every community has the best communities have an offline component as well. So if you're an artist, you know you have a special section where your community sits or you have a meet and greet or you have a party before the show for your community. So because once they see each other face to face, remember that the love and the friendships in a community that spills over to the artist, that's as important as the love for you. If they love each other, then you don't need any more marketing. Your marketing is over. It's marketing without marketing, because you build this group of people who you know, they're gonna do the marketing for you. They're gonna talk about all the things that they're learning about in this community and spread the word

JAMES KENNEDY: That is a great point amongst, you know, many, many amazing points that you've dropped so far. Which is something I hadn't previously considered in my use of social media as my means of, audience generation. Because if I understand what you're saying correctly, you're saying that the role of social media has now changed. It might be be a great place to meet new people and meet your audience, but it is no longer the end destination. It is no longer enough. You now need to have that other home, that other hub where your guys, Your tribe exclusively mingle, which isn't just an open town square, as Elon Musk calls it. You know it. It's your home. It's your club. It's your private membership area where your where your tribe can assemble and become that thriving and collaborative tribe that you describe exactly 100%.

MARK SCHAEFER: That's the that's the goal is you know, it's, you know, I don't have a good analogy at the top of my head, but it's almost like, you know, you're you're you're planting the seeds in social media that you that you you know, the harvest comes in your in your audience and then your community. So you wanna you wanna connect with people on social media but somehow encourage them to, you know, to opt into whatever they can subscribe to and then eventually become part of a community on, you know, on on discord or or reddit or wherever you want to have your community.

JAMES KENNEDY: Yeah, and there's a lot more platform options now as well, isn't there? You know, outside of the main, the major ones, you know, like, Telegram. You've mentioned Discord already. You know, Mastodon is one that I want to try and check out.

MARK SCHAEFER: Now you got to be careful because I don't you know, like Mastodon is is similar to Twitter. It's still an audience, right? So you mean you've got to have a home base like Slack or Circle or a Facebook group, where people can go every day, any time of day, day or night, and they can come in there and meet friends who share their love, share their passion of of what's going on. You've got to have a home base. And as if it's Facebook or Twitter or something like that, it's It's you know, it it it's it's it's probably not even an audience. You've got a you've a community is you know what defines a community is when they know each other. You know, if you've got an audience is great, by the way. I mean, I've got a huge audience and they, you know, they buy my books and they hire me to give speeches and hire me to do marketing and consulting. That's great, but the ultimate connection is is community, and I'll give you Let me give you a quick example of how this works and, So I teach a class on personal branding.

So it's, you know, it's it's, you know, it's reasonable, but it's it's $1500. It's still, you know, quite a bit of money. And, so every time I have one of these classes, I have to I have to promote it. I have to put it on social media. I have to put it on LinkedIn. And, you know, I try to limit the class to 10 because I give people a lot of individual attention and then see the last class. I only got eight. I didn't. I couldn't fill the class and I was doing all this work to try to fill the class. And I only got eight in my community. Someone said, You know, Mark, I saw that you teach this class. It would be great if you could teach this class just for our community so that these are people that know each other. We could have friends in this class, and then we could help each other, and then we'd be in this community talking the same language. I said, Well, OK, here's a sign up list.

I'll let 10 people in and 10 people signed up in two hours. Wow, No promotion, no social media, no work because it's it's the It's the It's the ultimate marketing. It's marketing with no marketing. My Mark, My If if if my community gets big enough and strong enough, I will never have to worry about content, marketing, advertising or s e o ever again, there's a There's a chapter in my book that it would be very, very relevant to artists. I've written 10 books in the new book Belonging to the Brand, Chapter four. I did something I've never done before. I devoted the entire chapter to one person. There is a woman. She was an entrepreneur, had a great business. This is 2015. She got pregnant. Some people are saying, Well, you know, you gotta give up the business now. You gotta be a mom. Some are saying No, you got this great business. You gotta fight for the business. She decided I wanna do both, but I don't really feel supported.

I wanna do both. She started talking about these ideas in a in a Facebook group. She had five or six people that said, Yes, we need a group that will support moms who want to be entrepreneurs. Long story short. She now has a Facebook group with 80,000 women in it. Wow, she's making a million dollars a year. No sales, no marketing, no advertising. Zip, no S e o. No cut up marketing nothing. She has no sales people, no marketing budget at all because she has 80,000 people in this community, she said. My only job is to make them feel validated and safe.

This is a safe place to talk about these issues. So she creates courses, videos, coaching events, a paid membership. Vip level, right? She's, she's She's like doubling her business every year with no sales budget, no marketing budget. Any artist could do. Use that model. It's It's like I had this little victory, you know, selling, you know, 10 slots in my class in in, you know, just a couple of minutes and just like, Oh, that's how this works. What if I had 80,000 people in my group? I could sell anything. I could feel everything. My marketing would be over. That's the beauty of community. It's the ultimate marketing. It's the ultimate emotional connection with no marketing. That is incredible.

JAMES KENNEDY: What a story. And that makes total sense as well. Because if you if you're a part of that community and you want to do a crowd funder for an album or a project or something like that, that's you. Go to your guys. You know what I mean?

MARK SCHAEFER: Because it's It's there. It's all there.

JAMES KENNEDY: Yeah, that's awesome, man. Jesus, What a story. And like for a band starting out, then let's say they only have a bunch of followers. You know, they haven't really built much yet, but, you know, they're a kick ass band. They're hard working. They're they're They've got a great brand for want of a better word. They've got a great new album coming out, but they're trying to harness the power of social media towards that end goal example that you just used there. But they're not yet at the stage. Where thing they do is super interesting.

And this this is a common complaint that I have from so many of my friends is we get social media despondency, you know, like we run out of steam because the relentless need to find things that are interesting and engaging and fun and or insightful or cool or exciting. It's not always possible because so much of what we do in reality isn't any of those things. You know, there's a lot of admin and emails, and many people have got Day jobs and, you know, shit going on outside of the band and people run out of ideas, they run out of steam. It's very difficult to maintain that kind of momentum, like in a corporation you know they'll have or or in a major label band, you know they'll have a digital department and a team of people constantly making content.

But how do we as, speaking about specifically about my community as artists? How do we navigate that without getting a little bit of traction and a little bit of, you know, hype going? And then all of a sudden, it runs out of because you just, you know, or or oftentimes like, like to use my current example. Often times you're too busy doing the thing to be documenting the thing like I've I've just received my advance to write my second book. There's a deadline looming. I've got a crack on with the book as much as I'd love to be, you know, taking pictures and stuff like that for social media. I've got to actually write the damn book.

There's nothing interesting or cool or exciting about a picture of me hunched over a laptop writing a book. And there's only so many times I can post that picture because the process of writing a book it is is exactly that. You know what I mean? It's it's not interesting. So how do we harness the power of these platforms to the end destination that you have brilliantly described without having to fall foul to filling the world with more pointless crap or or staged inauthentic crap? Because we know we've got nothing genuinely exciting happening right now, which will obviously have the opposite effect. How do we navigate that?

MARK SCHAEFER: Yeah, I mean again. Well, first of all, I I want to back up because you you you you said something interesting that I want to build on. You thought about Well, maybe it's a small band and they've got a great band, but they don't have a lot of followers, or every community starts with five people right. I mean, it's amazing. It's basically you've got five friends or five fans or five customers, five people who just believe in you and love you and want to help you. And that's where it starts. Arguably the biggest community in the world is Twitch started with five people.

The stories, the stories in the book, This guy named Justin. He started live streaming his life. He had a camera on his head and just live streamed his life. And everybody thought that was cool and they wanted to do it. So he created this software where you could live stream. You know what's going on in your life?

There were these, like these. They were the these gamers and they're saying, We want to live stream people. We want to watch each other, play games And he said, That's not a thing that's not that's not what this is about. No, they said it is a thing. It is a thing, he said, OK, and that's how Twitch got started. Just five or six passionate people who said, Just give us a chance. So I mean, even if you're small and starting out, don't be, you know, concerned about it. I mean, you could be optimistic about it, because here's the difference. Let's you know, for the third time, let's go back to Kiss. Kiss didn't start the Kiss Army. The Army started the Army, right?

All right. It was an It was an ex. They got lucky, really. They got lucky in a way. They they had critical mass of people that started this sort of Movement. But But what most bands miss out today, they can create their own Movement. You can be mindful about it. We've got the technology today. That's that's helping us. You know, we talked about, you know, discord and Web three and even like the Metaverse. And, you know, bands artists are using NFT’s in creative ways. There's an A case study in the book where the whole community is built on NFT’s and the NFT’s.

You know, get, you know, give you, you know, advantages. And they give you access to certain, you know, opportunities to to create new content, create new stories. So, there there's just so many opportunities. I if if the if, if the band approached this like I'm a startup, right? I'm a startup. I need help. I need help with promotion. I might need help with financing. I might even need even help on, you know, creative input. So in the startup world, most startups, their their marketing begins with community. Saying, look, you're my fans, Let's get going. And then you start with five, and then the five turns to 10 because they because they're saying, Oh, my gosh, I'm having so much fun. I met these cool people, and we're actually getting to have creative input into this, you know, into this band. They're how we get to pick the album cover, you know, or whatever, right? Can you believe this? Or, you know, I did this piece of art and and, you know, this might actually be the the album cover.

So people, more and more people get involved, and then the and then, you know, you build the momentum, you know, But you've at least at first you know, you you you've got to be involved. You've got to be accessible. You've got to be open. You've you know, this the same community that I talked about that's built on the NFT’s. It was started by an artist, and and this artist comes in every Day and people watch him draw. So you're sort of like, you know, demeaning yourself in a way about writing the book. Why wouldn't you just pop on every Day and say, Well, here's what I've written today This is where I'm going with the thing or I've hit a I've hit a block today. You know, I I thought I was going this way, and I just thought I was all wrong and I wasn't being honest. And I'm writing the whole darn thing over and or you just Or you said I did my best work today. Let me read this to you or here's a memory I'm sharing in my book. I've never told anyone this before. I'm gonna tell you first, so I mean, there's lots of things that you can do that take five minutes, that it's just peeling back the curtain to say, you know, here's what's you know. Here's what's going on in my in my world today.

JAMES KENNEDY: That's fascinating stuff. I mean, it's so interesting for me to hear you say things like that because that would never even occur to me. That's the difference between someone that obviously has a natural talent for this mindset and someone who doesn't for me. I'd be like, Why would anyone care that I'm writing a book? You know, it's boring. It's a boring process. They'll they'll enjoy the book.

MARK SCHAEFER: The book is the end game, but James, think how easy this is. It doesn't take a lot of time. It doesn't take a lot of talent. It takes a mindset. You said it exactly right and a mindset is something that anybody can change. It's just a matter of awareness. It's a matter of what you need to do to make it work. That's a little bit different from the way you used to do things. But that's the way the world it's. It's like tuning yourself to the way the world is today, and I I I If you can do that, you can do marketing.

JAMES KENNEDY: That's a great point. And I know that my musician friends are going to be virtually high fiving, you know, loving finally having some clarity and inspiration on these, what are often, you know, frustrating and confusing extracurricular things that we also have to do as well as all of the other bloody things we now have to master in this, you know, Day and age. And a common conflict that I know happens amongst many of my friends. And I'm sure it's the same across all industries, too. Certainly for start up and, you know, in independents is how to prioritise our time.

We do so much as it is already, and I and I know that a lot of my friends feel like, Well, do I spend the morning, you know, taking selfies and posting on social media? Or do I practise my instrument and write the song and and or the book or whatever it might be and then actually do the thing that ultimately is what I should be doing? And I know that some people, you know do say to designate a Day to doing all of that week social media stuff. And I know that other people just, you know, just constantly do it on the flight. Do you have any recommendations about how to manage that most effectively to maintain consistency?

MARK SCHAEFER: Well, it it. It depends on, you know, it depends on the, you know, the situation. If, like when I teach my personal branding class, what I do is, as I emphasise, that the people will create some kind of content, you know, a blog or a podcast or a video or something once a week. And I have them commit to 18 months because it takes 18 months to really see if it's it's it's not a hockey stick, you know. It's not gonna go straight up. It's it's It takes time. It takes patience. It grows slowly, but then it starts to build and it starts. It starts to work, you know, I'll I'll, i'll tell you.

Here's an example I use in my class, the Black Keys. So I got to I You know, maybe six or seven years ago, I got to go backstage and meet the Black Keys, and this is when they were just about they were blowing up. I saw them in a place that held 2000 people, and 18 months later they were playing Madison Square Garden. They were blowing up, and I asked Patrick Carney I said, what was it. What, What? What was the thing that just ignited you? He said Nothing, he said. We've been writing and touring for six years, but we just don't stop. We just create, create. We want to do a little bit better week by week, by week, by week, a little bit better on our shows, a little bit better on our songs and you don't give up.

So for a personal brand, you know, I recommend, you know, once a week for a community, probably something once a Day. And it could be as simple as I saw something in the news today that blew my mind. What does this mean for artists and let people chime it in? Or I just listened to the most magnificent piece of music today. It reminded me of you, or I just thought, today is the 50th anniversary of the dark side of the Moon album. This was a special impact of me and my life. Tell me what you thought about it, you know, in the community so and then and then. If you do that every Day you'll find after a few weeks the community takes over. They'll start having their own conversations, they'll start creating their own culture. So, you know, I I think personal brand, You know, once a once a week, creating a community where people are gathering in some place like discord. You know, I'd start out doing something once a Day and be consistent and keep the faith.

JAMES KENNEDY: I suppose as well, you know, because it can't be challenged. You know, when you're looking at those likes and you can see that no one's in that video that you're already proud of. No one's watched it consist.

MARK SCHAEFER: Consistency is more important than genius, right? You know, you just you just keep showing up. If you want to become part of the fabric of someone's life, you gotta show up. You gotta keep showing up, and and and do it on a consistent basis. You know, when I when I've been I started blogging in 2009. I blogged 650 weeks in a row. And then I had it took a little break for Covid got really sick. And then, you know, blogged another 180 weeks in a row. I've had a podcast for. We're in our 11th year. Never missed an episode. Wow, because you just show up. You show up, you show up and they know it's Tuesday. What's Mark gonna send me? And you show up and you and soon you become a habit. You become part of their life. So, community, What's James got for me today? What's going? Oh, look at this. Billy posted something today. That's interesting, too. Oh, now there's three of us, and that's how that's how it works.

JAMES KENNEDY: That makes so much, so much sense. Yeah, I I must say you're making me feel like a slacker as well. 11 years without missing an episode. I think I took a week off after my third episode or something, and I think we should mention as well, probably. You know, we haven't mentioned this yet. There is a meritocratic element to this as well, in in the fact that you have to actually be good, you have to actually be delivering something value and something that be be contributing something good to the world. You know, in the case of music, which this episode has been, you know, mostly centred around. You have to be good. You know what I mean? That has to come first.

MARK SCHAEFER: Oh, right. You got to deliver the goods. Yeah, Yeah. I mean, people are only gonna talk about your restaurant if the food is good and the price is fair and the bathrooms are clean and you know the and you know it's a it's a you know, it's a clean environment. You've got to deliver the goods in whatever you do, whatever business you are. And if you deliver the goods as a musician, then you've got a chance to build a community and and win and blow up love it.

JAMES KENNEDY: But as we come towards the end, I want to ask you about the future, because I'm personally seeing a stark change in the old dinosaur platforms. You know, like Facebook and Twitter and YouTube. I'm I'm seeing like their engagement is thinning out quite drastically. And I know that many people are becoming disillusioned in those you know, gigantic platforms now. But do you think that they're still as relevant as they used to be? Or do you think that they're soon to become like relics of the past? And that something else is going to take over. And if so, is there anything that you've got your money on?

MARK SCHAEFER: They are, They're definitely ageing out. And the reason they're ageing out is because young people don't want to be there. Young people, they don't wanna be exposed, They don't wanna be ridiculed. They don't wanna be part of this polarised world. So, Gen Z to some extent millennials they're they're blockading themselves in in digital campfires. They're going to places where they can't be seen and they can't be found. I think, discord is big. I think discord is a place where a lot of a lot of young people are going. It started out as a place for gamers, and now it's It's become, You know, a place for art is a, a place for tech industry people. It's It's kind of like the hot the hot place right now. And and discord is growing and improving a lot.

It's very, very flexible. What you can what you can do there, I think another place, where young people are hanging out and I don't really need to know the solution to this is they're spending more and more time on in in in video games, places like Fortnite. But brands are showing up there, right? You can buy things in Fortnite. You can go to concerts in Fortnite. But, you know, there there were even, so I think, we're gonna have to see what the next big channel is. Obviously, TikTok is big right now with with Gen Z. It's not without controversy. It's not without some legal problems right now, so we'll have to see how that plays out. I predict TikTok will be OK because there's a lot of money there. I'll put my bet on the money. I'll put my money where the money is. But I also But But But here's the other thing I would look at James is that social media fragments along demographic lines and age groups. So, really, the only people who the only demographic growing on Facebook is 55 over, sort of everybody kind of loves YouTube and Instagram.

You've got 18 to 34 kind of on Snapchat, and then, you know, kind of 20 to 12 on TikTok. But behind Gen. Z is Gen Alpha. And they're gonna look up at their big brothers and sisters say, Nah, we've got this thing that's gonna be the next innovation, and I It's not there yet. I'm here in rumblings. But keep your eyes open. Keep your eyes open. Certainly if I were if if I was a musician appealing to young people today, you know, TikTok is obvious. Discord, I think, is obvious. And then, you know, it's it's kind of lots of lots of other options beyond that fascinating stuff.

JAMES KENNEDY: Yeah. Be interesting to see what the new platforms are looking around the corner and what the next big thing is gonna be. You know, but as we're speaking about the future, we need to As we come towards the end of the episode, talk about what the future holds to Mr Mark Schaffer. What have you got coming up? What's around the corner? I can see that you got the brand new book standing pro behind you there on the books shelf belonging to the brand. What else you got happening? And what do we need to let people know about?

MARK SCHAEFER: I mean, I I've always got lots of different things. But the one thing that may be interested interesting to you and, your fans is I I have a marketing retreat and for the first time, I'm going to bring it to Europe. I'm gonna have a marketing retreat at a castle outside of Dublin in September. And this is all going to be about the future of marketing. I'm limiting it to, a small group of people and it's it's literally gonna be a retreat because it's gonna be re-energizing. We're gonna We're going to It's about being relevant in this marketing world. How do we stay relevant?

How do we adjust to all these things in in this marketing world? And it's gonna be a lot of fun because we're gonna be in this beautiful, mediaeval castle building like 10 53. We're gonna have falconry. We're gonna drink Mead, probably by the end of the event, I'll be an armour who knows? But it But my sight is, businesses grow. So you if you if you don't remember how to spell my name, just go to businesses grow. You can find we mentioned. Yeah, dot com we mentioned, you know, my books, my blog, my podcast and my events. You can all find it at businesses grow dot com.

JAMES KENNEDY: Yeah, the site is amazing. I mean, I will link everything all of your links, into the description for the podcast, and I'll give it a plug after we we close the chat as well, because the website you've got so much free stuff on there as well, great resources with the podcast and articles and blogs and links to your books, which I think I'm now gonna have to go out and buy all of. So definitely go and check out businesses grow dot com and people can follow you. Also at Mark Schaffer on Twitter and Instagram, which I'll link in as well, Definitely worth doing now because you share a lot of great stuff on your socials as well.

MARK SCHAEFER: Yeah, I try. I try to Instagram I don't It's not business at all. It's basically rocks and plants, hiking and hiking and kayaking. And it's like AAA p, peering into my personal life a little bit.

JAMES KENNEDY: Well, where can people find out about this awesome event in Dublin in September. Have you announced it yet? Is there a ticket link available?

MARK SCHAEFER: Yeah, it's if if you go to if you go to businesses, grow and then and at the at the at the NAV Bar at the top it says events. Right? And I've got one coming up in America in in the spring. And then in September, I've got the first one ever in Ireland because I have so many friends in Europe. They've been begging me to to do this in Ireland, and I will just say this is the best thing I have done in my career, Period. It is magical. It is life changing you, you know, and it's you'll you'll meet people that will help you succeed for the rest of your life. So it's, it's it's It's a magical, magical event.

JAMES KENNEDY: Wow, I'm gonna go and grab myself one of those bad boys. Now, I think a weekend in Ireland as well is always a fun thing to do. So hopefully we'll see you there. Mark, That sounds absolutely amazing. Thank you so much for doing this. I really appreciate it. You've really given so much knowledge and insight there to my community and which is a real gift. We thank you so much. And thanks for everything you're doing and best wishes with everything coming up. Thank you, James. Thank you, Mark. Thanks so much for your time today, man. It's been great to meet you. I'll see you soon.

MARK SCHAEFER: All right. Great interview. Take care.

JAMES KENNEDY: Mr Mark Schaefer, ladies and gentlemen, put it together for him. What a nice guy. And what an absolute dude for coming on and answering all of my stupid questions and giving us all of that amazing free insight into how to manage this wild new terrain and landscape that we all find ourselves in. Yeah, No excuses now, guys, you know, like Mark said, this is a mindset shift, and he's given you all the tools and all the answers that you need there to get cracking and go and achieve your dreams. Man, I know I've framed a lot of the questions around the music industry, obviously, because that's the only one that I have any experience of.

And it's the community that I spend most of my time with in. So that's what I hear from people. But I you know it. It applies to everything, man. You know, like whatever industry you're in, you can apply the wisdom that Mark has just dropped on you there to your success and your advantage. And I would recommend you go back and listen to the podcast again, take some notes and put that awesome wisdom to your advantage. The lovely and brilliant Mr Mark Schaefer can be found on his website at He is also on Twitter at MarkWSchaefer. Let me spell that.

It's Schaefer, that's Mark W. Schaefer on Twitter. He's on Instagram at Mark W. Schaefer also and on YouTube at M. W. Schaefer, now his website that I mentioned there. Businesses grow dot com has got tonnes and tonnes of incredible free content, including podcasts, articles, blogs, links, videos, all sorts of things. It's amazing that he gives all his stuff away for free so honestly go into a deep dive at businesses grow dot com. You can also check out any of Mark's best selling books, including belonging to the brand marketing Rebellion, known social media, explain the Dow Of Twitter and many many more.

And the event that Mark mentioned there in Ireland is under the heading on his website events. It's called the Uprising Europe, which I love the title of that and there are still just a handful of tickets available. So, please, if you've got any sense at all, go and snap them up right away. So a massive thank you again, a round of applause to Mr Mark Schaeffer for blowing all of our minds and sharing so generously all of that amazing knowledge that's gonna help all of us do our thing. Thank you so much for joining us and listening. And if you want to thank me for making these conversations happen, all you gotta do is show me some love on that subscription button, baby.

Go and hit, subscribe, follow on whatever platform it is or on all of them. Even if you listen to it on YouTube, go and follow me on Spotify and Apple and anywhere else just to help share the love. And if you want to be the first to know about upcoming tour dates with the band, new merch, secret live streams and all that sort of jazz, then join the Secret Society mailing list at

That's it from me for this week. Stay tuned for another awesome episode coming up next week with another amazing guest. And in the meantime, take care of yourselves. Take care of each other and I'll see you then have a good one. Adios.

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