So You Sing Karaoke

So You Sing Karaoke

By Sam Moeller

In the very early years of my life, my Mother asked my pediatrician, “Is it normal for a toddler to sing this much?” The years that followed were spent singing at gigs, auditions and cattle calls. My parents are both sales people, so when they watched me perform they had dual gleams of pride and potential stardom in their eyes. Eventually I decided the musician’s life wasn’t for me. However, those teen years weren’t for naught — though it’s a weird, seemingly useless skill in the professional world, singing has actually taught me a great deal about how to be a good marketer. Especially karaoke.

Much of life is about performance. Big meeting? Pitching an idea to a client? You’re on a stage. Sure it’s a small one with no spotlight, but you’re presenting something to an audience, and you want them to love it. You gotta shine. Nobody puts Baby in a corner.

That’s where the steps to Karaoke greatness come in.

Step 1: Know your Crowd

Every karaoke spot has it’s own special je ne sais quoi. It might be a divey dive bar with a perpetual birthday party of 30-somethings who’ve decided to don the cocktail shield of courage (pro tip: they always sing power ballads or Blink 182, so just scratch those off your list). Maybe there’s a bunch of regulars (who are clearly theater people) doing show tunes with everything they have. The former are not going to be into the weird indie track you just couldn’t believe was in the book. The latter will definitely hate you for attempting anything by the sacred divas.

Survey the territory. Watch what works and what tanks. Then and only then, should you start thinking about your song.

The connection to Marketing and Communications? Any strategic campaign is about a story you’re telling to a specific audience. Knowing that audience is key. If you decide to ignore Linkedin and go solely with Facebook to tell a story about B2B marketing software, you might end up like that guy singing Frank Sinatra to himself and his boyfriend while everyone else grabs a drink. (Dude, we just rocked out to Journey…your voice is beautiful, but I wanna DANCE.)

Step 2: Know Thyself

You’re not Whitney Houston. Just accept it. And unless you’re a professional you probably shouldn’t attempt it. Choose a song you love but also one you can do. Tone deaf? Try Cake’s Going the Distance (pro tip: everyone loves the 90s).

Go unexpected. It’ll distract people from the fact that you can’t really sing. Or if you can sing it’ll be that much better. Didn’t have time to change out of your business casual outfit after work? Stomp those sensible heels to some Metallica. And remember, a bunch of grown men singing Beauty and the Beast’s Be Our Guest is a hilarious, miraculous thing.

Not sure you can make it on your own? Bring your friends. Go with NSYNC’s It’s Gonna Be Me and try to scrounge up a choreographed dance (trust me on this one).

Marketing is no different. Challenge yourself, but know what you’re capable of. You don’t want to pitch an idea you can’t execute. With that said, you can and should pool the resources of your team. At LaunchSquad I’m always blown away by how readily coworkers who aren’t on my team volunteer to share their skills.

Step 3: Play it Cool. Prep for Greatness

You’ve selected your song. Now you have 45 minutes to kill. Unless you’re Otis Redding, you’ve got some warming up to do before you knock ‘em dead. Use your prep time wisely. Hold off on that extra beer. Sing along with the folks who go before you to get your vocal chords humming. Look up the lyrics on your phone to make sure you actually know the song. You don’t want to be caught up there like a deer in headlights.

When you’re putting together a marketing plan, do the proper prep before presenting it to a client. [SM1] Research the marketplace and your competitors. Be prepared to talk about the overarching goals and show examples of how you’re going to execute them. Know it like the back of your hand.

Step 4: Crush It

Bring everything you have. Don’t waste everyone’s time with some lackluster, half-hearted performance. Any deficits you have as a singer can easily be overcome by giving it your all. Get into character. If you’re singing Stevie Nicks’ Stand Back you better be pretending that there are scarves tied to the microphone, your hair and your flowing 70s corset dress. Believe in the Wiccan spell you’ve cast on the audience. They’ll believe it too.

At LaunchSquad we often call ourselves believers. We are effective marketers and strategists because we think the companies we work with are doing amazing things. When executing a communications strategy we give it our all—whether that means crafting the perfect pitch (ba dum tsch!) to a journalist, executing a perfectly tuned (ha!) social media campaign or producing (all out of puns) the perfect brand video to take a company to the next level. That’s what you have to do to really captivate your audience…in marketing or in karaoke.

Now go out there are show ‘em what you got.

(The main photo was taken at my favorite (sometimes) Karaoke bar, El Rio with my favorite Cowboy Karaoke KJ, KJ Paul. If you’re ever in San Francisco on a Wednesday night, you know where to go.)

Head this way to read more posts about the skills that made LaunchSquad employees a great fit for the industry.

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