I was very lucky to see George Michael on Friday night, something I had looked forward to for many months. I hoped it was going to be fabulous, that it would live up to all the moments that I had played his songs through the milestones of my youth and my not so youth. It was beyond fabulous.
Now this may seem a strange blog topic, not very businessy on the surface. But while I was standing and clapping and singing and going nuts along with the thousands of others, I began to think about his market. I know it sounds as if I should have been too busy to think, but I guess I can’t help myself. I looked at this lone man on stage - yes he had back up singers & a band, but they were not the focus. They were behind and away from him. It was all about him, and so it should be, but it also meant that he was going to sink or swim alone. That the satisfaction of his customers depended solely on his delivery of his product. Success or failure was on George Michael. No gizmos, no half naked troupe. Just him and his history. And the fact that the market had just been shredding Whitney, we would not have been shy on our verdict about him. Does a successful past automatically give you a successful present? Not if your name is Whitney.
George Michael had the voice, that was evident immediately, but again I ask, would that be enough? How does the product react after decades of being a Superstar, of numerous Number one records & sales? Does arrogance come into play and annoy the market, making us resent the fact that he could be selling us only the image of what once was? Can one man conquer thousands and thousands of people? Could he hold our attention, make us part of his performance and more importantly, make us want more of this product? Yes.
I became engrossed in seeing the reactions of people, of their interactions with each other and with George. His market was broad - all ages both male & female of all persuasions. There were people dressed in designer outfits straight off the catwalks, people wearing outfits from WHAM and those dressed strictly for comfort like me. So his market wasn’t niche so to speak. He had us all in the palm of his hand and we wanted to be there forever. Even more interesting was the interval. The thousands of people who were calling each other on mobiles and trying to find each other in the crowds across stadiums and in the pit. They were yelling at each other on what was it like for them where they were standing or sitting. I then wondered if your seating made a difference, did his market effect change with where it sat? Did the customer experience differ a lot just from its position and perspective? I am going to say no, because if you had nose bleed seats, you imagined how great it would be next to the stage but your actual experience would still be as exciting for you since you didn’t actually know any better and the stage people would hardly care about the people in poor seats. George Michael conquered his audience regardless of where they sat. He delivered on customer experience, he stayed true to his product, he maintained the integrity of his history and most of all, most importantly of all, he appreciated his market. He genuinely thanked his audience, he seemed truly happy that we were all in it together. A business lesson here: Your market, your product, your customer experience; consider that you must deliver all the time regardless of your history, and its all very much connected. We need each other to succeed. Always.