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January 6, 2011 / jasonpinto

Jazz and Marketing: Five Lessons I Learned from Wynton Marsalis

Did you happen to catch the 60 Minutes piece on Wynton Marsalis this past weekend? If not, you are in luck: The kind folks behind have posted two video clips from the episode, as well as a link to watch the full interview on the CBS website (part 1 and part 2).

While watching this piece, I jotted down 5 points that made an impact on me (oh, and there was a sixth: listen to more jazz music!). Here they are:

The power of seduction

I loved this quote from Wynton: “If your music doesn’t have that seductive component, it’s not worth listening to.” No matter what you sell, you must be able to define attributes that make it sexy. Once you have that list, do not shy away from sharing them with your audience. If you want to tempt someone to take the next step with your company, your content should appeal to them in a special way.

The importance of making mistakes

Wynton said this: “If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not trying.” When it comes to our marketing efforts, do we lean too heavily on techniques and channels that we are comfortable with? If we are too scared to make things such as social media, mobile marketing, and other channels part of our communication plans, we may lose out on building a relationship with our customers and prospects.

We may make mistakes when we initially move forward, but the value we gain from the lessons learned nearly always prove beneficial.

Support Your Team

During the piece, they discussed how the band members are competitive but they are “each others biggest fans”.  How do we feel about our fellow employees? Do we view them as threats to our own job security? Or, do we strive to build a positive culture inside our company by respecting, applauding, and learning from those that we work with?

Create Your Own Content

While touring, Wynton and his band are certainly busy. They have flights and buses to catch. They have to do interviews. They need to practice their craft, and they need to perform. But they still make time to produce their own content thanks to their “official Flip Cam photographer”.

Yes, we are all busy doing our “jobs”. But do we view the thought of creating videos, pictures, podcasts, and other materials as a waste of time?

If we don’t find the time to share information like that with the world, our competitors most likely will. And that content may be what attracts prospects in the end.

Be Available in Multiple Channels

I am embarrassed to say that before I saw this piece on 60 Minutes, I did not know much about Wynton Marsalis. But since then, I have now visited his website, watched videos on YouTube, downloaded his iPhone app, searched for songs on iTunes, browsed for books on, and read blogs about him and other jazz musicians.

We never know exactly which one of our marketing or educational efforts will pique the interest of a prospect. But when that does happen and they start looking for more information about us across other channels, will they find helpful content that compels them to further action?



Leave a Comment
  1. Robbie / Jan 11 2011 10:21 am

    This is a fantastic article! I think a lot of these points extend beyond merely music and marketing.

    Quick story – when I was in college, Wynton Marsalis did a Q&A/concert on campus, and the university made big money selling high-dollar tickets to local bigwigs.

    After the show, however, WM and his band went across the street unannounced and set up at a little indie coffee house. Not only that, but they let anyone with an instrument come up and jam with them! Word spread amongst the music students and by the end I think there were more musicians than audience members!

    • jasonpinto / Jan 11 2011 10:26 am

      Thank you very much for leaving a comment, and for sharing that story!! That absolutely sounds like an incredible experience. Honestly, that story just made my day…


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