Posted June 19, 2010 8:36 am by with 8 comments

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Before there was Lady Gaga there was Stefani Germanotta. Some of you might be surprised that Stefani Germanotta is Lady Gaga.

I have a small confession to make. I like Lady Gaga. She’s an amazing entertainer, musician, artist, and dancer. While I enjoy Ms. Gaga’s music, I also have noticed several important marketing lessons that one can learn from her.

Generally speaking I am not a fan of pop music. I don’t appreciate highly produced albums that utilize digital synthesizers and dozens of tracks just to get the singer’s voice in tune. In my opinion you can either sing or you can’t. And it’s apparent from the video above that Lady Gaga/Stefani Germanotta can sing. She understands the fundamentals of music and even today that shows through. Go ahead and take a look at her current acoustic work and you will see real talent minus the studio’s technology.

Like today’s pop musicians, abstract artists have historically been at odds with the public over their art’s true value. Many outside the avant-garde art movement have criticized abstractionists such as Pablo Picasso. Most critics will say “he’s not a real artist, it’s just a bunch of shapes”. What many of these critics fail to learn is that many of the famous abstract artists such as Picasso have a formal understanding of classical art. In Picasso’s case this is seen most notably during the period between WWI and WWII. Here Picasso proved to his critics that he understood, and could produce classical art as well.

One of the things that makes both Lady Gaga and Picasso truly amazing artists is their strong understanding of the fundamentals of their craft. They are able to push the boundaries of the artistic establishment because their work is founded on those same boundaries.

In Internet marketing we are constantly trying new things and pushing our own boundaries online. It seems as if everyday there is a new tool or technique to utilize. And, many of us rush out to try them all. But, too often, folks jump into Internet marketing without a firm grasp of the fundamentals. Last week I touched on the difference between being an amateur and a professional marketer.

Learn how to write. In almost every aspect of marketing the ability to write successfully can create a truly competitive edge. Becoming a better writer means that you are sharpening communication skills. Understanding how to communicate is at the core of marketing–both online and off. Even if you are just writing code, understanding how to write clear and concise statements will drastically help you communicate with clients and customers on a daily basis.

Like reading sheet music and painting are fundamentals to Gaga and Picasso, writing is fundamental to marketers. I don’t care what you do, and how you do it, if you are working in any way in marketing you need to learn how to write well.

How To Become A Better Writer

Read stellar writing. Blogs can be an excellent source of awesome writing, but every now and then it’s a good idea to go back to basics and pick up a book. For non-fiction take a look at Bill Bryson. For fiction try out Chuck Palahniuk. And for both read, Augusten Burroughs.

Practice writing.
Writing is a lot like playing the piano, practice makes perfect! Therefore, try your hand at either blogging on a daily basis or keeping an off-line journal. Writing everyday can put you on the fast track to improving your writing and will help you focus your daily thoughts.

Get critiqued. My sister is an extremely good writer and sometimes if I am writing something very important, I send her a first draft to look at. Also, here at Marketing Pilgrim I have too amazing editors (Andy Beal, and Frank Reed) that preview every word I write here. That kind of service is amazing! [Andy’s edit: We love ya Joe!]

So you want to be the next Lady Gaga or Pablo Picasso of Internet marketing? Awesome! Then it’s time to perfect your writing. Only then will you master the fundamentals to communication on, and off, the internet.

  • Joe,
    This is an excellent post. People have no idea of how much work goes into mastering one’s craft. Most people that are the “rock stars” of their field have probably spent hours honing their skills before they got their big “break”. Actually, it’s probably not a break at all, just the results of hard work.
    Practice, observe, adjust, and keep learning all the time.
    Nice work,

  • First, I love both Lady Gaga and Picasso. Both are true artists.

    However your argument seems to imply that if you understand the foundations of your art that everything that you do is somehow artistic.

    I do not buy that 🙂

    And you see it all the time in the art world where people think something is valuable and artistic simply by who created it. For the common folk like myself that is where the criticism comes from.

    • No, my argument is, that to be in anyway artistic you must first understand the fundamentals, but even then there’s no guarantee that you are producing art. But with out the fundamentals there is absolutely no way you have a chance at art.

      • Fair enough

        But then I cordially disagree with that proposition too 🙂

        People can be be very creative without knowing anything. let alone fundamentals.

        I suppose that if fundamentals are very basic then maybe, but then if they are too basic then they are just common sense.

        All I need is a cave and some ink.

  • Marc

    I agree wholeheartedly with the principle of what you’re saying but comparing Gaga (who IS an awesome popstar) to Picasso is a bit of stretch.

  • sam

    good analogy

  • Rich

    Ironically, didn’t you mean “two” for the word “too” for this statement? “….I have too amazing editors (Andy Beal, and Frank Reed) that preview every word I write here.” Or was the intentional? Just wondering.. lol. Btw, great read, I try to improve on my writing by reading blogs almost every day. It really does help!

  • Great post Joe. Sticking to basics or always re-visiting them is very important. Lot of times we tend to lose track and follow people which does not work.