A Marketing Lesson from The Smashing Pumpkins

Rachel and I were eagerly anticipating this concert. It was a bit of a trip down memory lane. I had seen The Smashing Pumpkins at Kent State University way back when I was eighteen. Here I was again, a couple decades later.

As we gathered at Blossom Music Center I looked around and noticed that most of the faces were about my age. We weren’t teenagers anymore. But then, Billy Corgan was no youngster either.

The concert was scheduled to begin at 7:00 pm. It got a late start with an up-and-comer band that wasn’t bad, but their bit lasted way too long. As they were finishing up, we were all eager for the headline act to come out. 

But they didn’t. 

Instead, another no-name act tried to entertain us for way too long. The woman beside us had come alone because her husband had to stay home with their sick child. She was fretting and wondering when the concert would really begin.

It wasn’t until 9:30 pm that Billy Corgan finally graced the stage with his presence. We enjoyed the actual concert very much, but we were tired. The concert was great, but people began to get up and leave. As I watched about half of the audience filtering out, I realized that Billy had lost touch with his audience. 

Gone were the college students excited to stay out late. Too high on youth and adrenaline to be tired. 

In their place was a group of middle-aged adults on a Monday night who had to get up and go to work the next morning. They needed to put their kids to bed and get them on the bus the next day. Adults who had moved beyond all-nighters and partying. Much has changed since that concert at Kent State. 

I have changed.

Rachel and I didn’t stay for the end either. As the music faded into the distance behind us, I reflected that if a person doesn’t grow with their audience, then their audience will leave them behind. 

My challenge to you is this: Do you know your demographic? Are you in tune with their needs? Their wants? Their lifestyle?

You must grow with your audience, or your audience will move on without you.