3 enterprises, 1 strategy: The principles of surround-sound marketing

March 9, 2022

If you’ve been to a movie theater in the last 40 years, you’ve experienced surround-sound marketing. Speakers dedicated to the bass, mid-range, and high-frequency sounds of the film’s music, dialogue, and background immerse you in what you’re seeing and hearing. You become consciously and subconsciously absorbed because of the precise way all of the elements are weaved together.

Companies which use surround-sound marketing seek to create this same immersive effect with prospective customers and those prospects’ influencers. The goal is to reach all target markets with the right messages at the right times so they become part of your sales funnel. No matter which way prospects and influencers look, your message will be there.

How does surround-sound marketing work in the real world? We interviewed a federal government contractor, a paint industry influencer, and a Catholic podcaster about how it created success for their enterprises.

Turning a big ship

Deepak Hathiramani founded Vistronix as a technology contractor firm. When market shifts slowed the company’s growth, he pivoted the company to the national security space. This required a wholesale rebranding strategy, including but not limited to:

  • Acquiring national security firms to increase Vistronix’s competencies and customer base.
  • Hosting events, producing white papers, and securing speaking opportunities to build brand credibility.
  • Using media coverage, social media, and other marketing and branding tools to build messaging buzz.

Hathiramani’s surround-sound strategy put Vistronix in front of industry influencers and experts, customers and potential customers, and – after six years – a buyer who saw Vistronix’s value as a mid-tier national security firm. Without the acquisitions, Vistronix would have had good messaging and marketing but no substance. But without the brand credibility and messaging buzz, Vistronix would have just been another national security firm. It took the whole package to make the strategy work.

Changing industries

Much of Stacey Sumereau’s professional life has been spent in front of national audiences. First, she was a Broadway singer who performed in 70 cities and before 200,000 people. Now, she’s a podcaster who speaks around the country and has organized virtual conferences which drew 20,000 people.

The transition between these very different brands took place almost by accident. Sumereau was considering the convent after leaving Broadway, when LifeTime asked her to be on the reality TV show “The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns.” She ended up on “The Today Show,” “Fox and Friends” and “Access Hollywood,” which set the stage for paid speeches to Catholic audiences around America. Sumereau’s podcast launched a few years later.

Sumereau’s accidental surround-sound strategy was a TV show which led to national media coverage and credibility-building speaking opportunities. Without her current podcast, however, Sumereau’s success would have been a blip on the radar. Instead, eight years after leaving Broadway, Sumereau continues to be a sought-after speaker and sponsored podcast host.

Starting from scratch

Eighteen months ago, Tony Piloseno was a college student who worked a part-time paint sales job and had a passion for mixing paint on TikTok. Then, he got fired, and became the most viral paint story of the decade.

Like Sumereau, Piloseno’s star could have flared brightly and then disappeared. Instead, he became a paint-mixing entrepreneur and influencer whose videos were seen 100 million times in 2021. His Instagram following grew from 29,000 to 173,000, and he went from zero YouTube followers to almost three-quarters of a million. His brand is so dynamic that national organizations like T-Mobile, the Orlando Magic, and Behr paint want to be associated with him.

Piloseno’s surround-sound strategy was to spread his videos on the platforms which reach his target demographics. It’s working – he was recently on CNBC, national brands sponsor his videos, and paint consumers buy from his Tonester Paints online store.

Surround-sound marketing can work for you

No matter your industry, the principles of surround-sound marketing and branding can work for you. You just have to figure out your buyers, your buyers’ influencers, what they all want to hear, and what mediums should spread your message. Then, you’re off to the races!

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