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What can small businesses learn from Taylor Swift?

Written by David Walsh

Taylor Swift toured Australia in February 2024. She saw. She undoubtedly conquered. More than 620,000 of us were lucky enough to see her live. Whether you got tickets or not, millions more were either talking about her around the water cooler or online.

And it’s only now, as online data rolls in for February, are we able to see just what a juggernaut Tay-Tay has become. Consider these figures:

1: There were approximately 6,325,150 Australian-based Google searches for “Taylor Swift” in February. In comparison, last year’s biggest entertainment-related search term was for the Chris Nolan directed movie Oppenheimer which peaked in July with 2,744,070 searches*.

2: According to data from Meltwater, there were 289,000 online mentions of “Taylor Swift”. 

3: #taylorswift was the most used hashtag and the love emoji was the most used emoji in February.

So what is it about Taylor Swift that makes her stand above all other musicians? Why does the Swifty fan base literally cause seismic earthquakes with excitement? And why are Taylor Swift courses being introduced in universities around the world? 

Having a God-given talent is a key part of it, for sure. However, the talent is nothing without the marketing beast and business acumen that sits behind it.

For every new catchy tune that lands, business owners must not only turn up the volume but also take inspiration to what is happening behind the production curtain.

Because the 2023 TIME Person of the Year could just as easily be celebrated as business person of the year too. Don’t believe me? Here’s why.

Customer engagement

Okay, ‘Swifties’ may be different when compared to the customers small business owners come across, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take some inspiration from Swift’s engagement with her fan base.

She engages with her fans like no other pop star. And she makes it personal, authentic, and interactive.

She navigates both traditional and digital channels expertly. For example, she handpicks fans for secret sessions where they collectively listen to her new album ahead of its release date. She also even sends personalised gifts to fans and even occasionally sneaks into their DMs.

Then there are Swift’s famous Easter Eggs, where she hides secret messages and clues in her content, encouraging fans to decode what is happening.

The effort she puts into interacting with her fans is as much a part of her brand narrative as her latest song or concert is. And the result? Taylor Swift currently has the most loyal customer base within entertainment, and, just maybe, arguably any industry worldwide.

She is comfortable doing things differently

As a digital marketing business owner, I have almost 10,000 competitors across Australia. How can I possibly stand out from the noise, when all these competitors appear to be doing and saying the same things?

Get some Tay-Tay inspiration, I should be thinking. After all, Taylor Swift Productions has been ranked number 15 in the list of the world’s most innovative companies.

A prime example of innovation is the release of her ‘concert movie’ in 2023. The release of the movie was non-traditional as she chose not to partner with a major studio and partnered with a cinema chain instead.

The title was one of the highest grossing of 2023, and this unique approach allowed Swift to pocket around 57 per cent of all ticket sales. Expect more upside in the months ahead as the movie is now available on streaming services.

Another example was her decision to announce her new album when she picked up her latest Grammy award. With a captured audience, she created immediate hype with the whole world watching on.

While we can’t all have access to the Grammy’s award stage to announce our latest business offering, we can take inspiration from her ability to think outside the box.

She evolves before our eyes

Hardcore Swifties will recall her first released music from 2006, which could be described as a contemporary take on the country genre. Initially inspired by the likes of Shania Twain and the Dixie Chicks, there was no denying a country twang in her voice, and no hiding behind the background banjo. 

But by the time she released 1989 in 2014, she had a new sound and had transitioned to the pop genre. And then when Evermore and Folklore were both released in 2020, some argued she was more indie folk than pop.

Swift never seems to get too comfortable

Just because she has tasted astronomical success, it’s never a case of rinse and repeat with Taylor Swift. She chooses to evolve and push boundaries. She really does, “shake it off”.

Has anyone in showbiz been more heavily criticised than Taylor Swift in recent years? From the destructive behaviour of Kanye West during the 2009 VMAs, to body shaming, Taylor Swift has more detractors than most.

It would be so easy for her to go back into her shell, to be more conservative in approach and play it safe. But there is a certain resilience about Swift, a steely determination.

She has a knack of coming back bigger and better, every time, and business owners can learn so much from this trait.

She doesn’t just sell a service, she sells an experience

Taylor Swift does not just sell a product (a song) or a concert (a service). The Taylor Swift empire sells experiences.

At her concerts the production is as spectacular as it is flawless. There is also an encouraged culture within the Swiftie community like no other. It is colourful, friendly, and engaging – a vibe like no other concert.

People spend months getting ready in preparation, planning and constructing their outfits (side note, Australian Google searches for “friendship bracelets” soared almost 600 per cent compared to the same period in 2023, while “sequin dresses” also saw search volumes increase by almost 300 per cent*.

Swifties at the concert venue engage with each other, commenting and complimenting their creative outfits, and sometimes trading friendship bracelets.

Great experiences stand out; they provide a unique selling proposition, and when executed correctly, it results in repeat business. And what business, doesn’t want a piece of that action?

She works bloody hard

When the world shut down during the pandemic, most musicians were left isolated and could no longer tour. Many stars and celebrities would have seen COVID-19 as an opportunity to sit back, relax and wait for things to blow over. Taylor Swift is wired differently, and she worked harder than ever during this period.

In 2020, she released two new albums. Then in 2021, she re-recorded her first two albums as part of her commitment to regain control of her catalogue. More recently, her Eras Tour featured 152 three-hour plus shows across five continents, becoming the first artist to gross over USD$1 billion on a single tour.

The Taylor Swift Productions juggernaut never stops. And front and centre is Taylor, always ready to push to new limits.

* Search data from Google’s keyword planner tool.  

“The opinions expressed by BizWitty Contributors are their own, not those of BizCover and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Please read our full disclaimer."

About the author

David Walsh

David Walsh, CEO of is the CEO of SEO Web Logistics. He has almost 20 years experience in marketing and communications. David is passionate about all things relating to digital marketing, scaling businesses, AI, and rugby league (he is a Bulldogs fan). He is based out of Brisbane, although SEO Web Logistics has a presence across much of South-East Queensland, particularly the Gold Coast. He can be reached on or 07 5641 0224.