If some of you have been paying attention to social media you may have seen A lot of buzz around the FYRE Festival documentary. If you do not know what that is about, let me explain and share my business lessons.
The Fyre Festival was supposed to be an exclusive event where “rich millennials” fly out to Pablo Escobar’s island to experience a concert from A-list artist. party with models, celebrities, and other rich people. Well, tickets sold out fast start at about $2,000 all the way up to $200,000 only for things to end up going south.
When I watched the documentary, I at first couldn’t decide if Billy McFarland was a fraudster or a genius; I will leave you to make that conclusion for yourself. Right now it is being dubbed as “the greatest party that never happened.”
As ridiculous as the whole thing played out, I couldn’t help but try to relate it to real-life business scenarios so I wanted to share some of my takeaways. Here are 6 things Fyre Festival thought me about running a business. (if you haven’t seen it, apologies for any spoiler alerts)
1. Understanding your audience is the single most important thing you need for a successful business – If you pay attention to the story and how he started, you will realize that everything he did was out of a place of trying to fill a need he saw for “rich millennials”. With Magnese, he was trying to create “community and exclusivity” and with the festival, he played on his audience FOMO and need to fit in.
He was very in-tune with their likes and dislikes and was always able to communicate the holes he was filling. A lot of times people rush into businesses without understanding who their market is and then wonder why they are selling to crickets.
If you are trying to save money down the line, start with market research and understand your market before you jump in. This is what will drive your marketing (copy, visuals, story, etc).
2. You don’t have to be a genius to do marketing right – Although Billy was a good salesman, he also understood the concept of “outsourcing”. he hired one of the most successful viral marketing agency, told them what the idea was, and allowed them to take care of social marketing. When Billy’s campaign went live, he sold out in a matter of days because they understood disruptive marketing.
As business owners, sometimes we want to do it all ourselves; and I get it the budget may not be there and so you try to wear all the hats. The problem with that is that if you are not good at marketing and word of mouth doesn’t kick in immediately, you will struggle for a long time.
A marketing budget is essential. My advice is to put something aside no matter how little and then outsource your marketing if you need to. If marketing is your jam, the outsource something else that is taking your time.
3. Influencer Marketing is King when done right – The Fyre Festival sold out in a matter of days and all they did was influencer marketing.
Granted they used Bella Hadid, Kylie Jenner, etc the key is that they used a disruptive strategy and got Influencers to push it. Influencer marketing is one of the most organic ways to get your business in front of your audience which ties back into number 1 ( understanding your audience).
The only way to get your products in front of the right audience is to get it in the hands of the right influencer.