If you’ve been following the marketing strategy used by team Beyonce on her latest self-titled album, you know that it’s been quite clever so far. To recap, the Beyonce album was released on the unsuspecting public without any advance marketing fanfare whatsoever, which caused a bit of a commotion as that fact was trumpeted far and wide by bloggers and news organizations (including me, I should add).
Of course there’s always more to the story and so it is here. The album was released as a digital-only product, with a one week exclusive going to iTunes. This didn’t sit well with retail giant Target, who refused to sell the CD when it was released as a result. A few days later, Amazon joined the boycott on the CD as well (although it still sells the download).
Even though Beyonce set an iTunes record with over 600,000 digital album downloads, having the number 2 and 3 retailers boycotting your physical product could put a crimp in your long term sales. So what did Beyonce do? She went on a shopping trip to a Tewsbury, Massachusetts Walmart on Friday night, announced to everyone over the store’s loudspeaker system that she was there to buy her album, then gave out approximately 37 grand worth of $50 Walmart gift cards to everyone she saw in the store.
Most of the press covered the move as Beyonce being nice to a bunch of people she didn’t know, but there was actually a grand design behind the shopping appearance. One was a subtle reminder to her fan base that even if you couldn’t find her CD at Target or Amazon, it was readily available at Walmart. She also sent an unmistakable message to Target that said, “If you cross me, I’ll give all of my attention to your competitor instead.” Read more on Forbes.
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