Content marketing: Madonna or Cyndi Lauper?

Madonna_Live_8_-_1-2I will admit it. I love ’80s music. Born in the early ’70s, I was a pre-teen and teen in the 1980s and loved pop music (or whatever we were calling it back then). Wham!, Bananarama, Corey Hart, Joan Jett, Duran Duran, Pat Benatar, Eurythmics, The Police, Paula Abdul, Prince, Whitney Houston, The Hooters, Squeeze, Billy Joel, Flock of Seagulls, and the list goes on. But when it came to girl power (before the phrase “girl power” was even born), you couldn’t beat Madonna and Cyndi Lauper. But when you look back at their careers, Madonna’s kept strong over the years, while Cyndi’s started to fade away.

The Times They Are A-Changing

Cyndi_Lauper_SF_Gay_Pride_2008_(cropped)(Yes, I know I made a Dylan reference in the middle of a pop music reference. Many apologies.) Why is Madonna still considered a mega-star and successful business woman, while Cyndi Lauper – though still well-known, especially for her advocacy – has not seen the same level of success as Madonna? It comes down to this – Madonna was willing to adapt and change to stay relevant in pop music. Cyndi Lauper continued to march to her own drummer. Don’t get me wrong, I do not see Cyndi Lauper as a failure – far from it. She has won two Grammy awards (one this year), an Emmy award, a Tony award, and several other awards. She is a passionate advocate for LGBT rights and AIDS awareness. (And to be honest, recently I have seen her in concert and I have no desire to see Madonna.)

If you want to be Madonna, your content marketing strategy has to adapt.

If you want your product or service to continue to grow and become hugely successful, you need to be like Madonna. She has constantly reinvented herself – without losing the true essence of who she is. She changed as the style of popular music changed. She also found ways to stay in the spotlight and expanded her offerings. She has many dance crossover hits and collaborated with younger artists who were currently in the spotlight. When she took risks, they were often calculated risks. Yes, she had a few missteps, but she was able to move past them. Be diverse in your content marketing strategy. Don’t focus all of your efforts in one place, but make sure you are aware of the latest in content marketing. Be willing to expand into:

  • Video marketing
  • Social media – including whatever the next “big thing” is
  • Mobile apps (if applicable)
  • Newsletters
  • And the list goes on

There’s nothing wrong with being Cyndi Lauper.

Cyndi Lauper is still relevant, but not as widely known. Comparatively speaking, she did not reach the level of success that Madonna reached, but she still did very well for herself. If you want to be successful, but don’t need to take it to super-stardom, you can definitely follow Cyndi’s lead. In your marketing efforts stay true to your brand. It’s OK to try new things, but only if they are in line with who you are (or what your company is).

Find your content’s inner ’80s pop superstar

Whether you want to be a Madonna or a Cyndi Lauper, you need to build a content marketing strategy. Determine what mix is best for your brand … and don’t be afraid to take some chances. Just remember to Express Yourself and show your True Colors.

Madonna Photo By Tony Barton [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Cyndi Lauper Photo by Bastique (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL] via Wikimedia Commons

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9 replies
  1. Nick says:

    Cyndi Lauper’s a class act. She might not be as well-known as Madonna by today’s music lovers but, if you’re from the 80s era, she’s a super-star. Madonna always had controversy on her side – any publicity’s good publicity.

  2. Geoffrey says:

    Cyndi Lauper is incredibly well regarded, her Broadway show is a smash, and I would think that shows amazing initiative to adapt and change (she also won a Tony for it, as you observe). Plus she’s genuinely self-deprecating. Madonna is becoming ever more a caricature, her last records have not been successful, and she lacks integrity because it is perceived she’s stuck in a groove of trying to 25 all the time. Cyndi got older, Madonna is the one who is stuck.

  3. Geraldine says:

    As a fellow 80s fan (albeit a few years older than you!) this article certainly grabbed my attention for offering a different angle on content marketing, yet one that’s easy to relate to.

    I’m not sure which of these mirrors my own brand’s approach (probably a mesh of both) but if in doubt, just remember that “Girls just wanna have fun!” is guaranteed to get everyone up on the dance floor :)

  4. Shauna says:

    I’m joining the Cyndi crew – she stayed completely true to herself and her core followers never abandoned her. I think the Madonna’s of the world can be a bit too quick to be controversial for its own sake, as well as not quite knowing when to leave the party….

  5. Alex says:

    Cyndi is the one with the real talent. Madonna was all about sex, and now that she’s almost 60 she can’t sell sex anymore like she used to. Cyndi will be around forever with her amazing talents. Madonna just can’t cut the mustard anymore.

  6. Cris says:

    That’s a good comparison right there, Amy. In terms of music, I actually like both. But when it comes to content marketing, we’re a Cyndi – we stay true to who we are, and we make sure what we put out there reflects our values. We’re not quick to jump onto bandwagons; however, we don’t dismiss them either. Thanks for a wonderful post!


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