The Taylor Swift Principle: Depth Beats Width

The very smart Gary Vaynerchuk calls it “The Taylor Swift Principle”.

In order to break through the noise today, you need to scale the unscalable. Taylor Swift does amazing things, like show up to sing at a fan’s wedding, host fans at her house to hear her new music, or play a private concert for adoptive families to thank them for their work.

This cool stuff isn’t ROI positive for Taylor. She makes far too much money for those investments to have any financial return. There is no traditional business case that supports doing these things.

The return is in the amplification of these things.

Fans blog, tweet, post, and talk about the things Taylor Swift does. They turn her 30-minute investment of time into a social media movement.

When Taylor Swift pays the college tuition of a student, the internet explodes.

When Dave Grohl pours his fan a beer, his fans freak out.

Depth is far more interesting than width.

So much of of what we do today is width. Everything is mass appeal. We target the biggest group of people using the least amount of effort and cost. And when everything is width, depth becomes even more pronounced.

When you create depth, you create connection. The ROI isn’t visible and it certainly isn’t immediate, but the amplification return is massive. Fans love Taylor (and Dave, and others who specialize in depth) because they hear about those really cool things they did for their fans. Those people buy merch and tickets and stream songs and support the artist.

There is no way to quantify the return on depth, so very few people go there.

Depth is building one on one relationships with your customers, learning about what they love, and investing in them the way they invest in you.

The problem is that we all think the value is in how many people are following you. That’s width. It’s nearly meaningless. It is just vanity.

What matters - and where the value lies - is engagement. That’s depth. It’s everything. If you do it, and have faith in it, it will pay off.

Go deep.