The best musicians on earth are one of two things:

1 – Entirely unique.

2 – Extraordinarily good at what every one else is already doing.

What on earth does music – and jazz in particular – have to do with marketing?

Let’s start by listening to a bit of Charlie Parker, shall we?

Maybe more than any other type of music, jazz is a reflection and production of the environment it flourishes in.

It’s local culture, in audible form. 

Exceptional marketing is the same – the culture of your unique audience, in a format they identify strongly with.

Jazz is never based on a single musician. It’s a conversation that moves between individuals, occasionally pairs, sometimes everyone jamming together. The drummer may be an accompanist for most of the piece and then break out into his own riff on the larger piece of music while the other instruments play accompaniment or simply watch in awe.

My biggest breakthrough in the world of marketing occurred the day I realized this:

All marketing is a conversation between individuals.

The best brands and businesses on earth personify individuals intentionally, and form conversations with the people that can multiply their bottom line.

So… who’s in the conversation?

In Baldwin City, these are some of the obvious voices.

Some have digital platforms, some don’t. Each and every one of them has a voice.

Digital platforms – and truly all marketing efforts – are an extension of the person creating the marketing.

In our current world of social media, reality extends into the digital realm on a daily basis.

Your market – the people you want to influence to buy your product, attend your event, or understand your message – are online every single day.

They have questions and concerns you can address.

They want your unique voice, your personal riff on how to solve their needs.

And if you are present, you get the opportunity to take part in the dialogue.
Nearly everyone is already online these days, whether as a business, individual, nonprofit, or public entity.

The club is free and open to those who wish to participate.

Where do I start?

Do I have to do everything??

What if I just pay for ads and skip the hard work of creating a conversation?

These are all real questions I hear on a regular basis. They’re valid.

The answers are not particularly simple, because marketing is unique (like jazz, remember?). Basically: It depends entirely on your audience.

Because running a business, selling a product, or distilling a message is first and foremost about understanding the people you want to reach.



Do you struggle with whether you should use social media for your business or even as personal brand building?

Here’s a chart that may help.

I say this often enough I should just record it and push play when needed:

People are already talking about things that matter to you or your business online.

Do you want to take part in that conversation?

Genuine, useful, rhythmic.

Take the time to figure out what makes your business unique, and don’t be afraid to be a little bit vulnerable online.

No one except your mom shows up at your gigs just to hear you show off, and no one online will follow you to hear you talk only about yourself.

They want you to address their needs and answer their questions.

Branding is the tone you choose to take that makes you unique.

It’s a full picture of your business or personal identity, expressed through words and visual cues.

Sure, a logo is probably part of it.

Your name, your space, and even the digital platforms you choose to use regularly are also part of your brand.

Once you’ve taken the time to understand the conversation and decide how you want to represent yourself, it’s time to have fun.

Throw yourself into dialogue with the people who matter most to you, and riff to your heart’s content.

Be genuine, and others will respect your voice.

So hey, Baldwin City? Let’s do this.

Let’s work together to promote Baldwin City as a whole.

Let’s build a conversation that is bigger and more exciting than any one of us, and represent local business, community, and culture.

We’re here to converse, not use a megaphone.