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Recently I had a marketing group contact me about helping their client with a music promotion. They were working with a band that wanted to give away CDs to music bloggers in order to boost exposure for their client. Since I frequently blog about music marketing, it might have seemed like my blog was a perfect fit for this promotion, but it wasn't the case.

I suggested to the exec that if the band wanted to give away CDs, that instead of targetting random bloggers, why not target the fans of the band? Why not empower your fans to evangelize the band's music to their friends and fellow music fans?
But my marketing friend was having none of it. The exec agreed that reaching out to fans was a great idea, and wanted to know when I'd be posting about the band's promotion. Sigh. A quick check of the band's MySpace page revealed thousands upon thousands of ''friends." No doubt there were 100 bloggers that were also fans of the band, mixed in that number. Also isn't much doubt that they'll never be contacted.
And to be fair, at first blush the above advice can seem counterintuitive to many companies. Who do you want to promote your product, the blogger that has 600 visitors a day, or 6?
But the answer is: it depends. For example, I had never heard of the band in question, and had no reason to endorse them.
But if you give the CD to a fan of the band, even if her blog only gets a handful of visitors a day, she'll positively endorse the CD, and the band, and sing the praises of both.
Many companies do this, focusing on creating new customers, while empowering their existing evangelists is the much smarter play. ut to these companies, it also involves enormous "risk." It requires ceding some marketing control to the community, and trusting on existing evangelists to sell their product for them.
It involves sharing control. But the loss of control is well worth the gain that's realized.

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image of Mack Collier

Mack Collier is a social-media strategist based in Alabama. He helps companies build programs and initiatives that let them better connect with their customers and advocates. His podcast, The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show, discusses ways that brands can turn customers into fans. His first book, Think Like a Rock Star: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies That Turn Customers Into Fans, was published in April 2013 by McGraw-Hill.

Twitter: @MackCollier

LinkedIn: Mack Collier