What businesses can learn from The Beatles’ mistakes

December 11, 2013 | by | 0 Comments

The Beatles are not often thought of as failures, which is probably something to do with their global success and several timeless masterpieces, but they certainly made a few horrifying errors on their way to stardom.

There’s a chance it may have been before your time, as it was for many of ours, but have you heard about the time when The Beatles manager Brian Epstein sold 90% of the band’s promotional marketing rights over to Nicky Byrne?

Before The Beatles became one of the most famous bands on the planet, Epstein had permitted company to product Beatles sweaters and badges, of which they sold up to 50,000 of as the group’s popularity grew. By which point, companies everywhere wanted to use The Beatles’ name on guitars, drums, belts, t-shirts and a wide range of other, more peculiar promotional merchandise, but Epstein refused to allow The Beatles to endorse any products directly.

The Beatles made some business mistakes

The Beatles made some business mistakes


When The Beatles eventually hit the US, merchandisers there went mad for the band too, desperate to brand pens, cigarette lighters, wigs, games and more, but Epstein shockingly rejected all offers. It was later discovered that this was because he had given away 90% of The Beatles’ merchandising rights to Nicky Byrne, in England, who later set up Seltaeb merchandising in the US, on top of his Stramsact merchandising company, already successful in the UK. There’s a few lessons to be learnt here…

Know your brand

When it comes to planning the perfect promotional marketing strategy, you must know you brand well. There’s no doubting Epstein was a great manager, but promotional marketing clearly wasn’t his strong point. Epstein clearly didn’t consider that what would make The Beatles what they are today would be the fans, and what they wanted was to promote their love for their favourite band in every way.

Dedicate time to your campaign 

By the time The Beatles became well-known in the US, everything seemed to be getting on top of Epstein, and he felt the merchandising side of the business was distracting him, so he gave the responsibility to Byrne.

Whenever you begin planning your marketing strategy, you must ensure you budget wisely, and allow yourself a sufficient amount of time to dedicate to the smooth running of the campaign. Epstein had not set aside for himself enough time to be able to focus on the campaign properly – had he done, he may have realised how successful it could be.

Set yourself goals

Epstein never gave much thought to his promotional marketing campaign, which is why he ended up giving it away for nothing. Byrne, however, planned great things for The Beatles and his merchandising campaign: worldwide domination. His UK merchandising company licensed over 150 items internationally, including scarves, mugs, sweets, and even cans of Beatles breath!

American businessmen believed The Beatles campaign to be as big a marketing opportunity as that of Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse, and it was. The Beatles’ merchandising success would not have been what it was/is, without Byrne having planned ahead and set himself aims of what he wanted the brand to achieve.

Merchandising successes, such as that of The Beatles, are a prime example of how effective promotional merchandising available at Stay Sourced can be when you plan and invest in it wisely.

Category: Business

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