5 Things Depeche Mode Can Teach You About Effective Online Marketing

from Jason Clark-Copyblogger.com

I was walking the streets of downtown Austin between SXSW parties last month and someone asked me when I was going to do another pop-music-analogy post on Copyblogger.

“What do you want to see?” I asked.

“I bet you can’t do one using Depeche Mode songs, “ he challenged.

“I bet I can,” I countered.

“Look at that guy in a dress playing the oboe!” he replied.

Rather than share more of the superb street scenery of Austin, Texas, here’s what Depeche Mode, the most popular electronic band the world has ever known, can teach you about effective online marketing.

People are People

People are people
So why should it be
You and I should get
Along so awfully

Want to market successfully online, but don’t want to deal with all that human psychology stuff? Sorry, but that’s basically all there is to it. Understanding what makes people tick and proceeding accordingly is what works. For bonus points, study social psychology and all this social media stuff starts to make more sense, even when it doesn’t.

Never Let Me Down Again

I’m taking a ride with my best friend
I hope he never let’s me down again
He promises me I’m as safe as houses
As long as I remember who’s wearing the trousers

What can a song about drug addiction and who’s really in control of that relationship teach you about marketing? That it’s the customer who wears the pants in your business. Get cocky when things are going well and forget that, and you’re in for a nasty hangover.


I’m always willing to learn
When you’ve got something to teach
And I’ll make it all worthwhile
I’ll make your heart smile

It’s the most counterintuitive aspect of effective online marketing. You’ve got to stop pitching and start teaching. There’s nothing more effective than content marketing that attracts qualified prospects while building your authority. And when it comes time to sell, you’ll find most of your work is already done.

Personal Jesus

Someone to hear your prayers
Someone who cares
Someone who’s there

Depeche Mode songwriter Martin Gore wrote Personal Jesus after reading Elvis and Me by Priscilla Presley. Gore said “It’s a song about being a Jesus for somebody else, someone to give you hope and care.” In a hyper-niched, tribalized world, people are looking for leaders, not marketers. Who do you care about, and how can you help them?

Everything Counts

The grabbing hands
Grab all they can
All for themselves, after all
It’s a competitive world
Everything counts in large amounts

It’s not all sunshine and flowers. Haters will try to build a name for themselves by tearing you down. Partners and friends will let the money go to their heads. Colleagues will remix and reverse-engineer your products. Whatever, it comes with the territory.

Yes, the lyrics of Everything Counts are a bit cynical. But the live version of the song at The Rose Bowl in California is one of the most joyous demonstrations of fan interaction ever recorded.

Let’s watch the video, remember that what people really want is an authentic experience, and end on a high note. Pay particular attention starting at 4:10, and notice how Dave Gahan ignores the praise of the crowd and encourages them to be the star — now that’s effective marketing.


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