One of my favorite bands, Baltimore’s Beach House, have a new album right around the corner, and prior to release, have a very intriguing way of releasing their new singles from the album. Head over to and you can enter your three favorite Beach House songs (Mine are Zebra, 10-Mile Stereo and Myth, btw) and the application selects which of the unreleased singles you will hear – catered from your selections. I bring this up in a marketing blog for a reason. Beach House has done that is so ingenious, is they sneakily involved survey data inmarketing for their album, and demonstrated that they will use the data to improve their customer experience. Here’s what they’ve done, and what marketers of all types can learn from this experiment:

  • They created a sense of intrigue, while cementing their brand. In having users revisit their past catalogue in order to get the incentive (listening to new unreleased tracks), Beach House has built brand affinity, through building sentiment for their past work and upcoming work. As an avid fan, I was immediately able to choose my favorite tracks, and conjured fond memories of seeing the band live. I also became more excited about the new album, as I knew they were consistent with my favorite material form past albums, while going in new directions.
  • I was rewarded with an experience based on my stated preferences. This small experience used survey data to immediately present me with a branded, catered experience. If a retailer asked your three favorite winter outfits, and then immediately presented a coupon for purchase of said clothing, your propensity to convert would logically be much higher. Rather than offering blanket incentives, marketers can learn from this example to offer a real-time incentive to customers, based on their expressed preferences.
  • Data will inform future efforts. In explaining this experiment on Facebook, the band said:While on tour, we change our setlist every night and certain songs get played only a few times per tour. This device will allow us to know if there is a large number of people wanting to hear a certain song in any one place. It’s not that we will definitely follow it, but it will certainly influence our set lists… maybe 50 people in Milwaukee want to hear a song we made 10 years ago?!?!” 
    Worth noting in this statement, is that the band is going to use survey results to essentially impact their location-based marketing engagements! Sound like good advice to all marketers? Additionally, the band developed a “Setlist Creator,” application, where fans can choose an ideal setlist for an upcoming show in their area to offer true engagement with the band they love. See some of the Facebook comments inset here. This is really great marketing.

It all started with a three-question drop down survey, but this minor marketing effort has a lot of big-picture lessons that apply across industries. Beach House (and their label’s marketing team, presumably) has created an engaging, relevant, timely marketing communication that strengthens their brand – all from a short survey. What can your brand do?