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Marketing, Global Outreach in the Music Industry through NAMM 2024- In conversation with Pete Johnston,Director of Marketing,The NAMM Show

NAMM 2024 has been all over the buzz in the music industry in the global arena and Pete Johnston has
everything to say about how his marketing team made sure NAMM 2024 reached larger audience to bring more awareness about the event. Being a musician himself who plays French Horns, Piano, Jazz, he also has amazing knowledge of sound and experimenting on digital sounds and the future of music.

Score had the pleasure to interview Pete, who gave us some deep and valuable insights about not just music, but also about how important marketing is for promoting the event. Read on this exclusive conversation with Pete who shared some fantastic information about the backend efforts the NAMM marketing team has put in for the event to be highly successful.

As the Marketing Director, how do you approach promoting The NAMM Show, and what strategies have been particularly effective in generating excitement and engagement?

So, our approach to NAMM Show in terms of Marketing is that we always try to invoke the feeling one would get when you come to The NAMM Show, you see the signage, you walk into the hall and see all
of the gear, we want our Marketing to reflect that! We always want people to see our marketing and re-feel what they felt earlier. And for people who haven’t been to the show, we want them to get a sense of
what they may feel if they get here. We are a trade show, although we believe it’s more of an experience.
The cycle of buying and selling has changed over the last decade. So, we just call it a show and it is all about the products and the inspiration you find here. It’s a time and a place to come and be ahead
of the latest technology. You can experience the future of what our industry is going to be doing.
Over the last few years, we also have become more casual in our speech and want to come across with a language that is comfortable with our audience. When one lands on our web page or sees our
marketing materials, you need to see and feel what you would feel if you were at The NAMM Show.

Considering the dynamic nature of the music industry, how do you tailor marketing efforts to reach a diverse audience, including professionals, artists, and music enthusiasts?

So, in our new campaign, we have a base statement that says “Music begins here” but because our audience is so diverse and we are speaking to so many different communities, we have to come up with
a campaign that allows us to speak to these communities in a way that they want to be spoken to. We are very cognitive of that! We reach out to our other Marketing partners who can help us language to these
groups in a particular way that they like to be spoken to. For instance, our base headline says “Music behind here” but if we talk to guitar people, our tagline says “Amps crank here” and if we talk to Pro Audio people, we say “Showbiz begins here”. So we have. designed a tagline that can identify with each of these communities. Our NAMM audience is very diverse and the way to talk to one group
is different from another and it can be a challenge. I think our tea has done a great job of giving us a platform to address that so can can get really specific with these particular markets.

Given the break, what has been the response to the marketing campaign for the Winter NAMM Show, and how have you ensured a strong comeback for the event?

So, the response has been good and the first time people get to see it after a while. We are hearing good feedback so far. People like the colour palette and the vibrancy of the show. I think Marketing’s job is
to just amplify the things that are going on. To think about it, NAMM is a reflection of this industry and is made up of its members. My job is to amplify that message. That is our guiding light! As long as the industry continues to move forward, we will too! We will all come together and continue to grow!

How does digital marketing play a role in enhancing the visibility and accessibility of The NAMM
Show, especially for those who may not physically attend?

When it comes to digital marketing, this is an area where we can reach folks we don’t normally reach or
can’t have access to The NAMM Show. In the last couple of years, we built a platform called The NAMM
Show Plus App that’s designed to get people from all over the world to get access to our show. We
understand it’s not always easy to come to the show but we are trying to give you a glimpse through the
app. NAMM is doing a lot more in digital marketing to figure out what resonates with the communities. It
helps give us a lot of data that tells us a story.

Community engagement is crucial. How does your marketing team foster a sense of community
leading up to and during The NAMM Show?

We are made up of communities and that’s what NAMM is made of. You will see that in our marketing, we
have community pages that have specifically designed content for these different communities. For
example, if you are in the Pro Audio space, we have got information for you and we share stories and best practices that have happened. As our President mentioned in his session, we are not an industry for
products but an industry for people and these people make up all these different communities.

In terms of social media, what platforms are most effective for engaging with your audience, and how do you leverage them to create a buzz around the event?

I have to admit that NAMM has been a little behind when it comes to catching up on social media.
I think for so long, people didn’t think of social media as a marketing tool and we have seen the change
happen radically.

You need to have social media as part of your marketing plan or you will not succeed, I think. We still
have a large demographic, and our primary targets are Facebook & Instagram. We have got a good
team now and are constantly re evaluating these platforms. We also use LinkedIn for B2B and
are exploring TikTok to reach younger audiences I want our social media content to be real and authentic and not just Marketing. I empower our young content creators to have fun and entertain themselves so they can entertain others.

The NAMM Show is a global event. How does your marketing strategy cater to an international
audience, and what efforts are made to make the event inclusive on a global scale?

Here’s the challenge NAMM has. If you look at the acronym, N stand for National and it doesn’t sound very international. The global community is so important for us. We have about 120 countries
registered for the show and we try to do a lot of outreach so people can plan and make it! We want to
be a home for the international community and engage with us and be a part of our show. We are
working on better translations on our website and we hope to be a go-to trade show for international

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