Last week’s POSSIBLE conference in Miami Beach was a gathering of the full marketing ecosystem where attendees could discuss strategy and research from futurethinking marketers. One speaker you might not have expected was Jon Bon Jovi, the front man and founder of Bon Jovi, one of the world’s most well-known rock bands. And he knows plenty about marketing for long term success after 40 years as a singer and songwriter.
Jon Bon Jovi didn’t hold back during an intimate one-on-one conversation with iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman on the latest episode of Pittman’s Math & Magic: Stories from the Frontiers of Marketing podcast. The episode was recorded live at the POSSIBLE marketing conference.
Jon is the first to admit that much of his success has to do with being born at the right time in the right place and having the right ‘look.’ However, he wouldn’t have achieved his level of success without the strong work ethic his parents instilled in him. “My kids…I hope they see that work ethic in MY work,” said Jon.
How has the band stayed connected to its fans for 40 years? The songs were the foundation, said Jon. “Nothing would have happened if you didn’t have a song. The band was built on a solid foundation, which was the song, and being true to who and what I was in order for the collective to then be true to who we were.”
The band always tried to stay close to our roots and avoid all the fads and fashions of the last four decades. “As the next (fad) came along in our business, boy bands, grunge, and rap…if we had started doing duets it would not have been seen by our fans as honest,” said Jon. “I was smart enough to know not to get the flannel shirt when Seattle (music) became popular. I just stayed the course.”
It's likely chasing fads would have meant an early end to the band, which was founded in 1983 and sold 20 million copies of the album Slippery When Wet, recorded in 1986.
The group, formed by Jon as lead singer, keyboardist David Bryan, drummer Tico Torres, bassist Alec John Such and guitarist Richie Sambora, eventually sold over 150 million albums.
The band is getting ready for its 40th anniversary, and the plan is to release a 4-part documentary, along with the debut of 40 unreleased songs. They also have 20 more songs for another album they plan to record this year.
Math & Magic featuring Jon Bon Jovi will be released May 11 by the iHeartPodcast Network.