Can Agencies Take A Marketing Lesson From Drake?

July 2, 2018 Author: Mario X. Carrasco

Canadian rapper Drake has been dominating global music charts for the past decade. In an industry often defined by one-hit wonders and flash-in-the-pan successes, Drake consistently turns out music that breaks streaming and sales records time after time.

Not only does he dominate the music industry, but his social media accounts are the envy of brands and influencers alike, amassing a record number of fiercely loyal followers across his platforms.

So, what are the keys to his success? And more specifically, how can agencies tap into the marketing mojo of Drake?

From my perspective, there are three lessons agencies can learn from the rap phenomenon that is Drake.

The Network Effect

When Drake drops a song via Twitter, the network he has built takes over -- and is virtually unstoppable. Social media users praise or critique his latest track the moment it is released, ensuring its virality. His songs immediately garner top placements on the trending playlists of streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora and quickly secure his usual spot on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.

How can agencies produce a similar type of network effect? Engaging social media content is the key. In an Ascend2 survey (email registration), social media topped the list as the tactic marketers find most effective and the one they’re focusing on this year, followed by content marketing. Agencies that combine these two marketing tools by using social media to dispense quality content can stay top of mind with their audience and build a tribe of loyal followers.

For a social media content strategy to succeed and potentially go viral, it must be relevant to the audience’s interests, which means that the brand needs to know its audience thoroughly. Digital analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) can help agencies and their clients get to know the intended markets better in order to create content that sparks interest and stimulates engagement -- content that practically reaches out and touches the central nervous system because it is based on what the reader or viewer cares about.


When Drake isn’t producing his own tracks, he’s guest starring on a slew of tracks from chart-topping artists ranging from Migos to Rihanna. In the world of content marketing, this translates to -- you guessed it -- guest blogging (and guest posting on Instagram, YouTube, podcast channels and the like).

Agencies should think strategically about which top bloggers and social media influencers have a similar audience to the one they’re looking to connect with. Then, reach out to players in a related but not necessarily competitive space and offer to write, vlog or speak on a topic their audiences will likely find fascinating. Personally, I have seen influencer marketing to be the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition method for marketing managers.


Drake’s latest music video, “Nice for What,” features stellar cameos from Misty Copeland to Tiffany Haddish. Similarly, agencies and brands, once they’ve built those tribes of devoted followers, can attract superstars in their industry to feature as guest bloggers.

Even the most popular influencers should welcome the opportunity to broaden their audience. This win-win proposition gives the guest a platform on which to tout their expertise, while the brand that hosts them gets a major credibility boost.

Look for social media influencers who engage on a high level with their followers and who are likely to be sincerely interested in, appreciate and use your products or services. Create a shortlist of influencers that fit these criteria, and work on building relationships with them before you ask them to advertise. These efforts will make the relationships more authentic while enabling you to determine if the influencer is the right fit.

Can marketing agencies take a cue from a guy who “started from the bottom” to become the first ever artist (and one of only three to date) to have entire tracklists from two collections make the Hot 100 list? Most definitely. Because the most successful agencies fill a consulting role and are always looking for new ways to build trust, relatability and relationships.

This blog post was originally published on Forbes