A $100,000,000 Marketing Lesson From Jimmy Buffett

If you're serious about building a feeling of community among listeners of your podcast, you need to give those listeners a name.

Following Barack Obama's first presidential inauguration in January 2009, his administration announced plans to give financial aid to bankrupt homeowners. While broadcasting from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Rick Santelli, an editor for the CNBC Business News network, accused the government of promoting bad behavior and called for a "tea party" by Chicago bond-dealers.

This remark has been credited with how the Tea Party, an American political movement known for its conservative positions and its role in the Republican Party, was born.

Today, various polls have found that slightly 10% of Americans identify as members, even though the Tea Party isn’t an official political party.

These people didn’t just come out of nowhere, they’ve always existed. Before Santelli's remark though, they had never been organized.

Your podcast can do something similar for the people that relate to your world view.

$100 Million Per Year

When you give your fans a name and give them a place (or places) to go, the sky is the limit on what you can make.

During a show at Timberwolf Amphitheater in Cincinnati, OH in 1985, Jimmy Buffett made a comment about audience members wearing Hawaiian shirts and parrot hats. Band member Timothy B. Schmit referred to them as "Parrotheads."

Jimmy Buffet was a successful musician before this, but that offhand comment caused things to really take off.

Since that time, his rabid fans have enabled Jimmy Buffett to launch several non-music business ventures, based around the recreational lifestyle he personifies. He owns or licenses two restaurant chains — Margaritaville Cafe and Cheeseburger in Paradise. He's owned two minor league baseball teams. He has a "frozen concoction maker" (also known as a blender) that sells for $500.

He's has two books, Tales from Margaritaville and Where Is Joe Merchant?, that spent over seven months on The New York Times Best Seller fiction list. A non-fiction book, A Pirate Looks At Fifty, went straight to No. 1 on the New York Times Best Seller non-fiction list.

In 2006, he partnered with Anheuser-Busch to produce beer under the Margaritaville Brewing label.

There are Margaritaville casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.

He earns an estimated $100 million per year.

This is the power of a dedicated fan base. It can take you way beyond your core business.

What's the first step to making this happen? Do great work.

The second step? Name them so they can organize themselves.

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