A few years ago, I went to hear Sasha play at Fabric in London.
It was awe-inspiring.
I’d always admired his DJ sets – the way he managed to move so seamlessly from one track to the next.
But this performance was different.
Until that night, I’d been used to hearing him select a series of great tunes and play them one after the other, with no obvious disharmony or rhythmic mismatch.
But from the very start of that set, it was clear something was different.
I couldn’t tell where one tune began and where it ended.
The mood and power of the set still built and progressed, but the music all blurred together into a dreamy sequence of beats and melodies.
He was playing small bits of different tracks wherever and whenever he chose.
He looped small sections of a record – sometimes just single bars – for minutes at a time, tweaking effects and EQ to build the emotion until the crowd were in a trance.
He was chopping up tunes to create new versions and even new music, right there in the DJ booth.
And suddenly, in one night, my view of DJing changed.
It was like Sasha had put his tunes into a blender, rather than merely putting slices of them next to each other on a plate.
I subsequently discovered that he’d achieved this in large part thanks to new technology – namely Ableton Live and a bespoke Maven controller – but that didn’t change the impact of that set (indeed, I became an instant convert to Ableton, and use it to create my own studio sets)
Sasha had totally changed the game.
DJing was no longer just about beatmatching, or harmonic mixing, or even playing tunes no-one else had.
It was about using everything at the DJ’s disposal to create the perfect musical journey for that club and that crowd.
The records, the turntables, the mixer, the effects… they all became mere means to the single, coherent end of delivering the ultimate club experience.
I think we’re about to witness the same kind of shift in marketing.
Marketers as DJs
Until recently, marketers have been been perfecting the existing paradigm.
We’ve incrementally improved our approach to the 4Ps.
And we’re pretty good at it now: our beatmatching is pretty tight, we know which melodic keys work with which others, and we can navigate the mixer with our eyes closed.
We’ve pretty much mastered the marketing mix, and differentiation now comes down to who has access to the latest or rarest tunes.
But what if we took Sasha’s approach and applied it to marketing?
What if we saw all those marketing Ps as fluid ingredients that we can blend together to create a truly seamless journey?
The Marketing Blend
We’ve recognised the potential of integrated communications for some years now, but few (big) brands succeed in integrating the full spectrum of their marketing activities.
Most still approach each element of the mix separately; aspects such as distribution, pricing, R&D, PR, and sales are often handled by different teams with different agendas, egos, and KPIs.
But maybe that’s missing the magic.
Rather than merely integrating communications across channels, brands could integrate everything they do – the full marketing mix – into a single, holistic approach.
We’ve seen a few examples of this already.
The Domino’s example from last year was an interesting communication and distribution.
Similarly, this initiative from Gap uses a sales channel to communicate a clearly defined message and inspire immediate action at the same time.
Brands like Ben & Jerry’s, Innocent Smoothies and Nike all seem like they’re blending multiple elements of the mix too.
However, I’m not sure any of them has achieved that totally seamless mix.
But it’s only a matter of time…