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Taylor Swift isn’t known for her marketing savvy. She is famous for her music, her just-as-famous boyfriends and their very public breakups -- and for turning those into modern-day love songs.

But this millennial of pop and country music industry knows a thing or two about business. Swift has been able to make money in an age when streaming and stealing music downloads is supposedly killing her industry.

The Wall Street Journal agrees, having published an op-ed by Swift this month. And she has a few lessons for a modern marketer to consider.

Rely on Your Experience to Create an Experience

In the YouTube generation we live in, I walked out onstage every night of my stadium tour last year knowing almost every fan had already seen the show online. --Taylor Swift

We know the drill on anniversaries and birthdays. Dinner, gifts and cards are nice, but predictable. To be memorable there has to be a surprise. An unexpected proposal? A performance? An alternate set of secret plans?

Like Swift’s fans, SAP customers do their research and know what to expect. We know that. They read the studies, the blogs, the forums before they ever talk to us. They know the competition, the startups and the big business offerings.

But most of our customers think we are under prepared, according to a Development Day presentation by Carlos Horn, who leads the client results team at B2B marketing agency Yesler. Do our customers really know more than we do?

Before SAPPHIRE NOW, customers have seen the lists of everyone who is going to speak -- they can even look up prior speaking engagements of special guests to catch their flavor. Schedules are laid out in advance, and all that’s left is to run through the motions.

Our job is to exceed those expectations and leave them with the ultimate experience. They don’t need a product; they need a solution that gives them an experience they can’t stop talking about -- something worth bragging about on Facebook.

The Art of "Surprise"

I think forming a bond with fans in the future will come in the form of constantly providing them with the element of surprise. No, I did not say “shock;” I said “surprise.” I believe couples can stay in love for decades if they just continue to surprise each other, so why can’t this love affair exist between artists and their fans? --Taylor Swift

We might feel tempted to replace “fans” with “customers,” but really, we want our customers to be fans. When we make the lives of customers easier, faster and simpler they will love us.

We became fans of our smartphones when they made it simpler to check e-mail shop for groceries  And when your smartphone isn’t there, you feel like you are missing a limb -- or maybe you feel like you are missing a piece of your heart (aww)..

Likewise, we can keep SAP customers in love with us by continuing to surprise them with the innovative ways we solve their problems and make their lives easier -- via our products, our services and our solutions. Our job in marketing is to communicate all of that. We need to become masters at the art of surprise.

People Listen to Those with a Following

Taylor Swift predicts that more actors get hired for key roles based on their social media presence. This makes sense. An actress with 4 million fans would be able to bring more attention to a movie then someone who opened their account the week before the premiere.

Does that mean one day in the future, marketers would be selected based on their followings and engagement in social media? Maybe.

Does that mean customers would select their vendors based on the company’s involvement in social media and digital?  The trends are leaning this way.That’s why we have a whole organization focused on this. The company must have an account and be active -- and the same goes for those inside the company. It's notable when the CEO, CMO and CIO are engaged in social media, and soon it will be just as notable as more of us get involved too.

We may not get followers as quickly, but we have just as much to add to the conversation. And if anything, socially engaged executives provide great examples of how to engage without feeling like you are selling your soul.

Hint: you don’t have to talk about SAP all the time. It’s about finding the right mix for yourself.

So, are you free this Saturday?

To build the greatest love story in the world of enterprise software we need to take a few hints from the princess of love songs. Let’s take this one date at a time: It’s about providing a great experience; it’s about including the element of surprise; and it’s about being available in the digital world starting right now.

Follow me @SylviaSant

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