Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is one of the worlds favourite songs. It very nearly was lost without a trace. His own versions went nowhere. It wasn’t until Jeff Buckley covered it (see link) that it came to popular attention. Then it never looked back, and has been covered by, well just about everyone.

An astonishing rendition.

The story of this now supremely successful song has much to teach us about marketing.

Marketing is like music. Your customers are the audience. And as a small business owner or marketer you are the composer, the singer and the amplifier.

Music is both head and heart. But mostly heart. You intellectually appreciated the skill of the performer and the inspiration of the composer, and the way that music relaxes, entertains or gets you up on the dance floor; but most of all you love it because it makes you feel good. The same applies to marketing. Your head appreciates the “product” but you want to buy or work with the supplier you feel good about.

The composer has the task of creation. It’s like deciding your business proposition. Who are you talking to? What are their problems that you can help solve? What is your message. Most important, what is the melody, the hook. What idea will grab their eyeballs (and their imaginations) and persuade them to listen more. Today pop songs know they have about 7 seconds on Spotify to get someone to listen on, or they click onwards. Same for your marketing. Leonard Cohen had a great song.

The singer is the execution. Turns the idea into goosebumps. That’s your agency. The creative idea. Your marketing could be worthy, but dull. Or it can be head turning and inspirational. Yes there are some risks and standing out can be tough. Its like singers. Many can hold a tune, but few are utterly distinctive and become famous. You need a voice. A style that is all your own in your marketing. Jeff did this for Hallelujah.

Lastly there is the amplifier (well, the tech generally). All the content is pointless if no one sees or notices it. Music is pointless if its never heard. Getting enough or your message into the right places, often enough to cut through is crucial. And its not just about budget and volume. You have to get to where your prospects spend time or get in to their heads via something else that’s already there. Social media or paid media, its part art, part science, but as many aspiring pop star or violinist will tell you the first big problem is being noticed  – at all. Now Hallelujah is world famous because its been heard again, again and again.

Sensecheck can’t help with all your marketing challenges but the one thing we can do is tell you if people like the “tune” and the “singer”. And surely these are the elements so hard to decide for yourself. Many a global hit started with the composer or band saying to themselves “is it any good”? Or even “that will surely never work!”

Last word to Leonard. The right song, just not the right execution. See what I mean?