This morning I was going through my old music collection to find some tunes to listen to. Having something playing in the background really helps me get going on days when I need some extra motivation.
Since the summer weather has come in full force I decided I was in the mood to add some old hip hop tracks to my playlist. A few songs in I have come to a realization. I realized that marketing plays a similar role to that of one of the most unsung players in music. The hip hop hype man.
For those of you unfamiliar with the term, this is what I quickly pulled from Wikipedia:
A hype man in hip hop music and rapping is a “backup rapper/singer who is also responsible for increasing an audience's excitement with call-and-response chants” according to author Grant Barrett.
Music writer Mickey Hess expands the term as follows: "a hype man is a figure who plays a central but supporting role within a group, making his or her own interventions, generally aimed at hyping up the crowd while also drawing attention to the words of the MC".
Ultimately hyping the crowd is what good marketing and effective content can help to do in priming a customer’s understanding and urgency to buy your solutions.
When Sen Dog drops the line “How could I just kill a man?” or Lil John asks “Whhhaaaaaattt?” he isn’t just selling more energy drink, those simple lines serve to pump the crowd up and prep them for the MC to drop in to a main verse. Hype men also help to give MC’s a second to take a breather in between verses as well
Effective marketing can serve both purposes also. Hyping the crowd is widely understood. TV shows like Mad Men talk about this, heck I talk about this too.
Marketing can also help organizations take a breather. There’s a great saying in product management “Just because we can do it doesn’t mean we should”, products can always be better, but good messaging helps to highlight the existing benefits, effectively giving engineering a bit of a breather in their race to catch up with Moore’s law.
Now I’m off to drink some crunk juice and market some software…