A nice offbeat article on offbeat marketing, of an offbeat product in International Herald Tribune – World Music.
Putamayo World Music.. ever heard the name? Well, I didnt…. and what a better name to learn from, than another P .. ;-D
The co-founder, Dan Storper, goes around different parts of the world, distributing free CDs, which are a compilation of world music, clubbed with new and innovative features, and specific album covers, to ensure brand-recall.
Singapore…Brazil…France…the New York-based record company typically hands out 20,000 promotion copies of each new album. Medium of sales … half at retail outlets, and half in record shops… Result: No one is going to buy a staid CD, with nothing to differentiate it in a record shop .. but if the same thing is associated with ethinicism, played at the country clubs and restaurants, where the nose and the tongue ..synchronize with the ear (ok ok.. I mean, the food and the music have a common theme/culture..), it sure would have more takers in the market.

World music constitutes 1-5% of overall sales. By definition, it varies, but generally, is accepted as a type of music which is not mainstream, and has some kind of ethnic component, as the article says.
What I liked most about this marketing was, that, the product, per se, is not with which the current generation can connect with easily. But, the marketing that the founder has done is innovative and …awesome. For instance, look at these:
– Besides selling records through retailers like gift shops and furniture stores, most of Putumayo’s album covers feature the distinctive folkloric art of Nicola Heindl to help with instant brand recognition.
– Since most of the radio stations do not play much world music, the company launched the Putumayo World Music Hour, the first commercially syndicated world music program on its own.
– Trying to reach a new generation of customers, it also created a children’s division in 2002. Its “World Playground” is now its third best-selling album, after “Cuba” and “Music of the Coffee Lands.”
– The compilations also include videos of live performances, shots of exotic locations and even cooking recipes.

Aloha to another P I say 🙂

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