By Robert Stitt
There are many decisions we can make in life which impact our level of success or failure. This is no different for superstars than it is for any one of us. In a world filled with mediocrity and failure, why is it that some people seem to have such great success? Of those that find success, why are some one-hit wonders when others remain relevant for many years?
To find the traits and patterns of success, it is wise to look at those who have attained it. One such person is Madonna. She first came on the music scene in the 1980s, but four decades later she is still relevant. What is the secret of the staying power of the star Billboard magazine once called “the smartest business woman in show business”?
Madonna used several strategies to not only stay on top of the music business but also become one of the most successful female entrepreneurs of her time. Let’s look at four of those strategies.
- Differentiation. By remaining different from her competitors, Madonna always had something fresh to offer. She changed her music style, her demographic, even her persona. By changing things up and keeping people guessing, Madonna has been able to command top billing and forego cost leadership strategies. This allowed her to set ticket prices as she saw fit and keep her revenues up. Those who wish to have the same sort of success should be careful to not get boxed into a corner and lose their ingenuity.
- Diversification. Madonna is known for her music, but she also has starred in movies, written books, designed clothing, and promoted and marketed goods for major companies such as Pepsi, the Gap, and Louis Vuitton. If you don’t understand Madonna, just remember the words of your grandmother and don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.
- Relevance. The key to relevance is keeping in touch with your clients. Madonna kept current by knowing what her fans wanted to hear. She was not too proud to align herself with younger stars such as Justin Timberlake or Kanye West who were able to introduce her to an entirely new segment of the industry. Those who are afraid to share the glory or collaborate may suddenly find themselves all alone. Madonna never had this problem.
- Market Knowledge. Whether it was records, tapes, CDs, or concerts, Madonna knew the industry. She did not entrust her business to others, but she kept her own fingers in the pie. There is nothing wrong with delegating, but don’t forget to retain a firm understanding of your processes and review your own data.
Madonna should not only be an example to entertainers the world over, but her business savvy should resonate with each and every person looking to make their mark on the business world.