The sound of success: How Spotify mixes data and zeitgeist to attract 286 million monthly listeners 

Spotify is more than just a music streaming service: it's an ingeniously-crafted brand, offering valuable lessons to marketers in any industry.

Learn how Spotify rocks the world of SaaS marketing

Folk metal. Witch house. Vaporwave. Think of the most eccentric music genres imaginable, and chances are they already exist. 

But with so much variety (one estimate suggests there are over 1,300 genres worldwide), what’s the best marketing tactic for an ambitious music company? Should you focus on music in general, or specific fan interests? 

Or, in fact, should you even focus on music at all? 

As one of the world’s most beloved SaaS brands, Spotify hedges its bets. Though a large part of its marketing emphasizes a remarkable library of beats, it’s also happy to broaden its scope. By cleverly clamping onto the zeitgeist—referencing politics, breakups, and other dramas of everyday life—it constantly aligns ads with the times. 

Naturally, all this offers lessons for other cloud marketers—especially ones that want to break free from the confines of their chosen wheelhouse. 

Listening isn’t everything

One of Spotify’s most celebrated  slogans proclaims that “listening is everything”—yet the brand’s popularity boils down to more than just a behemoth range of songs. 

By mixing pop culture with music, Spotify connects with customers through sheer ubiquity. Its famous year-in-review feature is probably most famous here, but its 2016 campaign with Starbucks is another great example. 

Across the United States, Canada, and Britain, Starbucks customers got the chance to choose which songs would be played in stores, and earned points for their reward cards when signing up for Spotify. Of course, this campaign did involve music—but only obliquely. Really, it was more about the routine of getting your morning cup of joe. 

Other Spotify campaigns work in similar ways—and help explain why the Swedish company has managed to win a monthly audience of 286 million people. 

For instance, Spotify worked with Chuze Fitness (a gym chain) and Jose Cuervo (tequila) to attract different demographics. This Spotify for Brands campaign is about more than just music, too. As another tagline says, people don’t just listen to Spotify—they live it. 

Clearly, what works for Spotify can also work for your cloud marketing campaign. By integrating with your audience’s day-to-day lives——whether at the gym or at the bar—you’re far more likely to make a lasting impression.

Learn why the best return on your marketing dollar comes from copywriting.

A whole new world of SaaS marketing

Today, Spotify has turned itself into a cultural symbol that constantly piggybacks on the regular ups and downs of everyday life. 

A great example here is its 2019 “music for every mood” campaign, where the brand offered songs to accompany breakups, weddings, and even…true crime podcasts (most of Spotify’s listeners are millennials, after all). 

Given the endless supply of global dramas to draw from, Spotify’s campaigns never get old.  The company even tailors ads to fit each market—featuring specialized billboards in the hometowns of famous artists, for instance. 

Spotify also uses the mountains of data pumped into its servers to come up with amusing (and easily adaptable) ad campaigns in a fast-paced world. 

From the person who played Sorry 42 times on Valentine’s Day to the 3,749 who streamed REM’s It’s the End of the World As We Know It on the day of the Brexit vote, there’s plenty to explore. 

All of this is accompanied by a knowing style that keeps customers coming back again and again (on average, Spotify holds listeners’ attention for 25 hours every month). After  data revealed a playlist called “Leftist Elitist Snowflake BBQ,” Spotify suggested a life goal of eating vegan brisket with the creator. 

All this might feel uniquely Spotify—but it shouldn’t. With databases and scripts gathering massive amounts of information all the time, every SaaS marketer can use data to inform marketing campaigns. 

MarketSmiths Case Study

Known for smart and capable HR products, PeopleDoc makes life simpler for corporations around the world. But as her company grew, marketer Jolene Nicotina found she needed help too—especially with a constant stream of blog posts, lead generation content, and more. But after tapping MarketSmiths, Jolene found the help she needed. We offer sparkling copy whenever PeopleDoc needs it, saving Jolene time and growing web traffic at her company by 40%. 

> Read the full case study here

More than the music

As Spotify shows with aplomb, there’s no reason why your SaaS company has to stick to the basics of marketing. 

With the right information, and the right sense of humor, you too can build campaigns that dazzle and amuse—even if your audience ultimately refuses to try out witch house or vaporwave.

Want pitch-perfect marketing that makes copy sing? Contact the rock stars at MarketSmiths today.




Andrea Valentino

Andrea Valentino

Andrea is originally from London, and came to New York after a stint in journalism. He loves everything to do with writing—as well as obscure language facts, decent wine, and chocolate cake.

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